Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink” changed my life.

Brick wall with the word BLINK in allcaps in blue neon sans serif shadow text
Brick wall with the word BLINK in allcaps in blue neon sans serif shadow text

I am a quintessential “thin-slicer,” a personality trait that Malcolm Gladwell thoroughly explored in his book, Blink.

Thin-slicing describes a person’s ability to find patterns in events based only on “thin slices,” or narrow windows, of experience. The most interesting aspect of thin-slicing to me is that thin-slicer’s conclusions can be as accurate, or even more accurate, than judgments based on significantly more information. Thin-slicers can provide rapid inferences about the state, characteristics, or details of an individual or situation with tiny amounts of information.

Thin-slicing is effectively a super, highly honed, very accurate instinct. All good, right? Where could…

AI-based captioning software is becoming more prevalent thanks to pandemic WFH. But do the people who need them most find them helpful?

Zoom closed captioning button and notification
Zoom closed captioning button and notification

In the first part of this article, I explored whether bad image descriptions were better than no image descriptions. After consulting with many blind users, I didn’t find a single one who said they would rather have bad image descriptions.

Now I’m applying the same question in the context of captioning — are bad captions better than no captions at all?

I don’t have to go far to find real-life experience. My daughter has a moderately severe bilateral congenital hearing loss. I have an acquired autoimmune hearing loss and a wicked case of tinnitus from decades of NSAID use because…

More than 125K global websites use overlays rather than fixing their accessibility bugs. AI-generated alt-text used by overlays is not 100 % reliable.

Customer service stoplight chart with red sad face, yellow neutral face, and green happy face

This is the first part of a two-part article. The second part, “Are bad captions better than no captions” can be read here.

In previous articles on graphical descriptions (known as alt text), I described the importance of accurate and succinct alt-text to people with disabilities who have vision loss.

I was recently sent a link to a public web page from one of the overlay companies that commented favorably on automatic, AI-based alt-text generation. …

Anyone who thinks that we do lives in a monster privilege bubble

Wooden hourglass on a counter against a white brick wall
Wooden hourglass on a counter against a white brick wall
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

By itself, the statement “we all have the same 24 hours” is an empty maxim. Commonly followed up with by “What you do with it is up to you,” or “Successful people just sacrifice more than you,” the statement turns from fatuous into aggressive, blaming, cringe-worthy, condescending, and in many cases, discriminatory.

I am a person with several disabilities. One of the things that people with disabilities inherently lose access to when we become disabled is that we don’t have the same 24 hours as everyone else does. The disability time thief sees to that.

If you ask a disability activist, the answer to this question is more complicated than you might think.

Black directors chair, camera slate, and megaphone in a spotlight on a wooden floor
Black directors chair, camera slate, and megaphone in a spotlight on a wooden floor

Media representation of people with disabilities is at an all-time high. But the numbers don’t tell a complete story. For starters, that “all-time high” means that now 1 in 4 characters with a disability are authentically played by an actor with that disability. This means 3/4 are being played by actors who are, well, pretending.

Most people with disabilities were thrilled to hear last month that NBC Universal had vowed to audition more actors with disabilities. But increasing the opportunities is only part of the story. …

This training will quickly teach you how to produce and consume essential documentation on product accessibility.

Man wearing headphones with laptop in front of him with hands on refreshable Braille display
Man wearing headphones with laptop in front of him with hands on refreshable Braille display

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) is the premier global advocate for technology, representing the world’s most innovative companies. ITI promotes public policies and industry standards that advance competition and innovation worldwide.

One of the things that ITI produces is the ACR/VPAT template.

  • ACR is “Accessibility Conformance Report”
  • VPAT is “Voluntary Product Accessibility Template”

Are the terms ACR and VPAT interchangeable?

No. Before Section 508 harmonized with the WCAG standard, there was only the VPAT, and it was a standalone document. Since the harmonization, what used to be the standalone VPAT has been integrated into a larger report, the ACR. Hence, the use of the term ACR/VPAT.

What accessibility standards are included in an ACR/VPAT?

It’s *finally* gotten harder to hide discriminatory comments.

Blank video recording frame with the recording light on
Blank video recording frame with the recording light on

Pre-COVID, they were called “Hot Mic” incidents. Situations where people didn’t realize their microphone was live, and they said something they clearly shouldn’t, and probably wouldn't have if they knew the microphone was on. Sometimes it was just embarrassing, but sometimes people lost their jobs.

A few years ago, hot mic incidents occurred most frequently either on live TV broadcasts (news and sports were common) or political events.

  • The most famous pre-pandemic hot mic incident was probably the (in)famous Trump 2005 bus conversation with Billy Bush about what you could get away with when you were famous.
  • Second place might…

The short answer is “absolutely.” The long answer, of course, is more complicated than that.

First of all, disabilities are almost always thought of in either the medical or legal contexts. The CDC’s definition of a disability, which is medical, is two-prong:

1. Any condition of the body or mind (impairment)

2. That makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions)

The US federal government’s definition of disability is more detailed. For federal regulation analysis (housing, social security, etc., which is legal), someone is disabled if they:

1. ha[ve] a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one…

For starters, for every 1 % increase in people with disabilities working, $25 billion would be added to the US economy.

Many people start the year with New Year’s resolutions:

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Purchase more sustainable solutions
  • Buy local

But each of these resolutions only addresses one small aspect of the overall sustainability problem. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are a series of 17 integrated goals that are part of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Most UN SDGs can be tied to disability and accessibility, either directly or indirectly.

GOAL 1: No Poverty — People with disabilities are twice as likely to be at poverty level in the US due to the impact of inaccessible education and job discrimination on their earning abilities.

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger — Households…

Traditional candidate evaluation advice can be biased and ableist.

Two women sitting across a conference room table from a third woman
Two women sitting across a conference room table from a third woman
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

There are all kinds of advice on the Internet about things you should be evaluating when you conduct an interview. Very little advice exists on things that you should NOT be considering. Some of my “don’t evaluate these things” show up on people’s “must evaluate” lists.

Hiring managers must be conscious of outdated biased and ableist interviewing techniques to legitimately claim “inclusive organization” status.

Don’t evaluate the candidate’s eye contact.

If eye contact is on the “must-have” list for a successful candidate, you are automatically discriminating against people with disabilities that prevent them from making eye contact. People with disabilities that impact eye contact include people…

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

Blogger, disability advocate, nerd. Bringing the fire on ableism. A11y Architect @ VMware. Wheelchair user w/ a deaf daughter. CS, Law, and Business background

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