Surfing “blind”

Web Media 2 is delving even further into accessibility by having us practice basic computer and web functions with various obstacles to somewhat simulate disabilities and impairments. My first experience was to explore the web via the voice over function on my laptop. I figured it would be easiest to begin with a few sites I knew well, so my first stop was the Whole Foods blog. Overall it was fairly easy to navigate. [I will stop here and note that I attempted to do this with my eyes closed at first, but quickly realized there is a learning curve with remembering the key commands and had to finish my experiment watching what I was doing.] My first frustration was remembering, and then completing, selecting linked text and various links. I’m sure someone who knows the voice over functions well would laugh at me at this point. I also noticed that a date of January 31st read as “January 31 Street,” which was very confusing, and the point where I opened my eyes. I also very quickly realized how poorly I have memorized my keyboard. I simply take for granted that I can peek down at my fingers as I’m typing along.

My second stop was Facebook. I spent all of 3 minutes on that site with voice over because it read every single element on the page: the time each status update was made, if it was made from a mobile device and which kind. All the stuff you don’t really pay attention to on Facebook suddenly was being read aloud. And each image was read as a series of numbers. Not at all helpful in letting someone who couldn’t really see the image know what it was a picture of. The page is just overloaded with information that actually hearing it all made me realize just how cluttered it is. And this exercise also made me realize just how impatient I really am.


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