What It’s Really About
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
Challenges come in different formats. What I mean to say is that, as a user of assistive technology who is blind, I often encounter electronic barriers. Examples of this type of barrier could be one of many; I could go an entire day and not encounter more than the normal glitches, or, I could lose hours of productivity due to access barriers.
Today was one of “those” days. The promotional flyer created for an event was not configured for speech programs. I could not access it, therefore, epic fail. The worst aspect of the flyer is that it was created without accessibility in mind. I understand most folks don’t think this way when doodling with images to achieve a visually pleasing presentation. I truly get it. But the flyer was created by someone I trusted to be mindful of accessible content.
I reacted by shaking my head and alerting the staff. This is what gets to me, though—I cannot complete my task because of this epic fail. I must wait for it to be corrected. I have lost two hours, perhaps more, in time and productivity to the oversight. In my office milieu, two hours or more stuck on one simple email distribution project reflects poorly upon the employee.
What is the bottom line? I am not sure; I know attitudes will change, but not sure when. I want my coworkers to be more aware of blindness and visual impairment, but don’t want to go all Disability and Civil Rights Activist on them either. When things like this happen, I do feel left out and marginalized. Wouldn’t you?
I want to do my share of the work, when barriers appear and prevent me from completing a task, it is frustrating and irritating. I want to be valued and included from the onset of a project, not as an afterthought. This is what it’s really about.
About the Author
Ann Chiappetta M.S. is an author and poet. Her writing has been featured in publications and literary journals. Ann’s nonfiction essays have been printed in Dialogue magazine, among others. Her poems are often featured in Poesis, The Pangolin Review, and Magnets and Ladders. Her poetry is also included in Breath and Shadow’s 2016 debut anthology, Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow. Her books—a poetry collection Upwelling: Poems, memoir Follow Your Dog: A Story of Love and Trust, and Words of Life: Poems and Essays are available in both e-book and print formats from www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/.