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Digital Magazine Accessibility Experiment IRL

Digital Magazine Accessibility Experiment IRL Featured image description is in the body of the post.

Digital Magazine Accessibility Experiment IRL

“Diversity Is Being Invited to the Party; Inclusion Is Being Asked to Dance”

~Vernã Myers

I published a quick blog post earlier today about a new project. The original idea involved creating a fully accessible digital magazine for blind and visually impaired people. As my partner, Chelsea Nguyen of CN Vision Image Consulting and I continued hashing out our plan it evolved. Since we agreed our publication should be wholly inclusive then so should our readers and contributors. So we expanded our idea to include people across the disability spectrum.

Chelsea, a talented image consultant, agreed to give our featured guests and cover models, an online consultation. We divvied up our tasks then got down to the serious business of pulling together a team of contributors. Within a couple of weeks, we had a name, domain, logo, social media platforms and more. The only thing missing? I’m glad you asked. Allow me to elaborate.

We found a cool magazine creation platform that was relatively easy to use if you don’t have a disability. I noticed missing alt text fields which are used to describe images to people who use screen readers. Not to be deterred, we asked a Techno Wizard if he knew of a company who would work with us.

During our initial email exchanges with the company, we thought they might work out. Sadly during our live demo, while the platform was WCAG 2.1 AA compliant it was a bust. WCAG 2.1 or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is just fancy talk for sites that meet accessibility standards. Our problem was the service didn’t include the ability to create the magazine on the back end.

Where Do We Go From Here?

CAPTIVATING! is the name of our publication. Why? Because we believe people with disabilities are valuable, capable, and tenacious. The problem is society isn’t set up to accommodate many of us. Case in point, CAPTIVATING! Oh, and word on the street is a new content editor isn’t accessible (but you didn’t hear it from me). Thank heavens we developed a tagline that’s fundamental to our belief system: “The power and possibilities of inclusion are limitless!”

#1 CAPTIVATING! Logo description is in the body of the post.
#1 CAPTIVATING! Logo

Currently, there doesn’t seem to be a wholly accessible platform for people with disabilities to collaborate and design a digital publication. In view of this Chelsea and our team had to get a little creative to pull this off. Our end product isn’t perfect and as we keep going we will get better. But imagine how much we could do if we had the proper tools? This is what it’s like living with a disability day in day out.

The world wasn’t designed for us and so many times we have to create workarounds just to do basic tasks that many take for granted. Is it fair? No it isn’t which is why we advocate for change, for inclusion. Disability rights are human rights.

We couldn’t create a fancy online magazine with audio, video, alt-text and yet pretty. It just doesn’t exist yet so we had to improvise. Here is a link to the first issue of CAPTIVATING! An accessible copy of the magazine will be distributed by our friends at the NFB (National Federation of the Blind).

Digital Magazine Accessibility Experiment IRL Featured Image Description:

CAPTIVATING! Front cover: on the top Quarter of the cover page Is the logo and name of the magazine, captivating, written in white bold All capital letters except for the ‘V’ in the magazine name is drawn with an artistic style font in bold red and looks like a big check mark. At the end of the word, ‘captivating’ is a red bold exclamation mark. Under CAPTIVATING! is the tagline “The power and possibilities of inclusion are limitless.”

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Coming Soon…CAPTIVATING!

Coming Soon Featured image description is in the body of the post.

“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”

~Christopher Reeve

Coming Soon…CAPTIVATING!

#1 Tri-Collage image description is in the body of the post.
#1 Tri-Collage

Have you ever met someone and within the first few minutes you clicked? That’s what I experienced a few months ago when I noticed a
Facebook post of one of my friends who received a makeover. The before and after was extraordinary and I immediately reached out to my friend to find out who was responsible for his revamped image.

Chelsea Nguyen was her name and I wasted no time getting her contact information. After an exchange of introductory emails, we set up a date to speak by phone. Typically I set aside 30 minutes to an hour for these types of calls―ours went beyond three hours! We share so much in common we both were thinking we must be related.

My friend Chelsea is a phenomenal image consultant and Owner of CN Vision Image Consulting. A fellow ‘Type A Personality’, Chelsea also has a heart for people with disabilities. And get this, not only is she actively involved in the disability community but her business places a special focus on blind and visually impaired people. Was this meant to be or what?

Two Heads Are Better Than One

At this point you’re probably wondering what in the heck am I babbling about, am I right? Eh, maybe, maybe not, but I’m gonna tell ya anyway. Well, not tell all because that would defeat the purpose of the upcoming surprise. It’s just that I’m so not good at keeping the cat in the bag but I’m gonna work really hard at this.

Chelsea and I may be going out on a limb but we got this idea that if we combined forces we could do something BIG. Bringing other people on board to share the love is only a small piece of it. I’m so excited I can’t stand it and am going to have to sign off for now before I spill the beans.

Oh, and one more thing… I will be formally introducing Chelsea to you eventually, just been a bit tied up.

Stay tuned!

Coming Soon…CAPTIVATING! Featured Image Description:

A big, bold, red check mark on a black background.

Additional Image:

Tri-panel collage with images from the magazine. The CAPTIVATING! logo is layered and centered horizontally over the collage. It’s a black rectangular shape and the text is written in white bold All capital letters except for the V which is drawn with an artistic style font in bold, red and looks like a big check mark. And at the end of the word captivating is also a red bold exclamation mark.

Be In The Know & Follow Us:

  • Instagram: @captivatingmagazine
  • Facebook: @captivatingmagazine
  • Twitter: 😱 Oh no!! Our Twitter account locked us out but not to worry we’re on the case.
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Industry Leader Creates Tactile Packaging

Industry Leader Creates Tactile Packaging featured image description is in the body of the post.

Industry Leader Creates Tactile Packaging

“Inviting people with disabilities to the table at the concept stage increases the likelihood of creating inclusive products and services. When we design from an inclusive mindset, everyone wins.”

~Bold Blind Beauty

Inclusion is the word on the street

The buzz on the inclusion front comes in the form of tactile markings on hair care products. The markings will allow people who are blind or visually impaired to identify the product.

Procter & Gamble’s Herbal Essences is leading the way to inclusivity with their new accessible bottles. My friend Holly over at Blind Motherhood did a review. Check it out here: Herbal Essences Hair Care Creates Inclusive Bottle Design for Visually Impaired.

Industry Leader Featured Image Description:

The photo is of a chrome shower head that can be used as a handheld. 

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#TBT MyBlindStory: Blindness + Style = Confidence

MyBlindStory featured image description is in the body of the post.

#TBT MyBlindStory: Blindness + Style = Confidence

Below is a revised version of an article I wrote for BlindNewWorld back in 2016. I really appreciate looking back as it gives me an opportunity to see how far we’ve come. You can check out the original article here: #MyBlindStory.

Losing Sight Opened My Eyes

"MyBlindStory

Before I lost my eyesight, I thought blindness meant total darkness. I was wrong. The range of sight loss/blindness is enormous and differs greatly from one person to the next.

Sight loss is a major life-altering event and it takes some time to adjust. Thankfully, acclimation and acceptance are not only possible but we can also learn to thrive. With few exceptions, the things we loved and excelled at are still integral to who we are at our core.

Transitioning from having sight to blindness is a process aided by Personal Adjustment to Blindness Training. This training eases our transition by teaching us new ways to do everyday tasks.

Since my love of personal style began when I was young, sustaining it through sight loss was a necessity. So learning new makeup and styling techniques helped me to increase my confidence despite blindness. 

Being able to keep up my trademark polished image which contributes largely to who I am as an individual was huge. Little did I know when I began blogging that I would connect with so many other fashionable blind women throughout the world. Life lesson—style is not limited to those with sight or who are able-bodied.

Broadening Inclusion

MyBlindStory Image 2: In this photo, I have my white cane and my outfit (capris, tank, sneakers & hoodie) are in shades of gray. 
Image 2

Inclusion and accessibility are major issues of concern in every area of blind individual’s lives. As a sub-group within the largest minority group of People With Disabilities, blindness is a small segment. Even so in the US alone, there are about 21 million adults living with sight loss.

I think the misguided belief that ‘blind people don’t care about their appearance’ is a prominent reason behind our lack of portrayal. Looking at the beauty and fashion industry it’s not surprising to see so little representation of blindness. While we are making inroads to inclusion we can do better. For this reason, a growing number of blind fashionable women are blogging and vlogging on a range of beauty related topics.

Bold Blind Beauty, believes “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers” and as such, we needed a stylish icon to represent blind women. Abigale, the fashion icon, is a chic image that evokes power, independence, and confidence. She is a woman on the move stepping forward with purpose as she navigates the world with her white cane.

Bridging The Gap

MyBlindStory Image 3 Here I'm posing with my white cane, blue jeans, black cold shoulder short sleeve tee and cream pumps.
Image 3

Expanding perceptions by connecting sighted and non-sighted communities are one of many ways we help to end fear and stigma associated with the word ‘blind.’ To extend our mission of “improving humanity by changing the way we perceive one another” we incorporated an online boutique. “Shopping With Abby” promotes powerful motivational slogans on all our merchandise (e.g. Relax! It’s Only a Cane). 

Once, an eye doctor told me “it would be a tragedy to learn how to use the white cane.” However, I believe the real tragedy is the shame many people feel when losing their eyesight. Empowering visual images that exude positivity will change hearts and minds towards blindness.

MyBlindStory Featured Image Description:

A professional headshot of my asymmetrical hairstyle with burgundy highlights. The muted Coral Cutie lipstick topped with a peach colored gloss provides a nice contrast against the gray backdrop. I’m wearing a black dress and black tuxedo jacket trimmed in faux leather, silver statement necklace, and silver drop earrings.

Other Images:

  • Image 1 – I’m standing with my white cane wearing white jeans and a gray cold shoulder sweater with tan lace-up sandals. I’m also holding a silver bomber jacket over my left shoulder.
  • Image 2 – In this photo, I have my white cane and my outfit (capris, tank, sneakers & hoodie) are in shades of gray.
  • Image 3 – Here I’m posing with my white cane, blue jeans, black cold shoulder short sleeve tee and cream pumps.