Following a few minor best practices drastically improves the experience not only for people with vision loss but also those who are neurodiverse.

Eye glasses with clear plastic frames sitting on laptop
Eye glasses with clear plastic frames sitting on laptop
Photo by K8 on Unsplash

I’ve worn eyeglasses since I was 12. A 9-inch growth spurt in twelve months left me with severe astigmatism. This was compounded by the standard vision deterioration that most people experience in their 40s. I then shifted to using bifocals, but my vision loss got worse when I developed glaucoma a few years later. A couple of years after that, I ended up having five eye surgeries in the span of 16 days to get the glaucoma and subsequent cataracts I had developed under control. …


Why her actions are so important to people with mental health issues and disabilities

Naomi Osaka:

  • was the 2nd seed in the French Open
  • is ranked the #2 female tennis player in the world
  • is a 4-time grand slam winner
  • is the highest-paid women’s athlete, again, in the WORLD.

After winning her first-round match, Osaka refused to speak with the press even though it was a requirement. After her refusal, she was fined $15k and raked over the coals by the press, the tournament organizers, and even other tennis professionals. After she was fined, and threatened with being kicked out of the French Open, instead she withdrew. For those of you keeping score at…


I wrote the accessibility book I needed 17 years ago when I made my career shift to focus on disability and accessibility.

Yellow and black book cover “Giving a Damn about Accessibility a Candid and Practical Handbook for Designers by Sheri Byrne-Haber”
Yellow and black book cover “Giving a Damn about Accessibility a Candid and Practical Handbook for Designers by Sheri Byrne-Haber”
Book is available for free at accessibility.uxdesign.cc

In 2004, I was struggling with a miserable career. I finished law school in 1997. I spent a year working for a large law firm in the technology division. It was me and 17 white guys continually taking the credit for my work — I don’t know why this surprised me, but it did. I ended up going back to working in software which gave me more flexibility to get my deaf daughter the treatment she needed. Back in tech, I largely had the same responsibilities I had before I went to law school. …


Flywheels distill complicated sets of business processes down to the most critical inflection points, enhancing stakeholder focus.

Simplified flywheel for amazon. More customers leads to more suppliers leads to greater scale leads to greater efficiency leads to lower prices and back to more customers
Simplified flywheel for amazon. More customers leads to more suppliers leads to greater scale leads to greater efficiency leads to lower prices and back to more customers
A simplified estimated example of an Amazon flywheel

A business flywheel is an alternative to the more traditional “funnel” that graphically portrayed processes must follow to get and keep customers.

  • The center of the flywheel is the business process the flywheel is describing.
  • Each of the boxes around the flywheel is an “inflection point.”

If any of the infection points break or degrade, the flywheel positive feedback loop derails.

Stakeholders need to focus on activities supporting the flywheel, prioritizing elements that keep the inflection points from breaking.

If you take the Amazon sales model flywheel above and adapt it to the accessibility world, it looks like this.


Believe me when I say that for all underrepresented communities, including disability, actions speak WAY louder than words.

Eight people of different races and genders holding hands up in the air
Eight people of different races and genders holding hands up in the air

Most organizations want to claim they are inclusive.

You don’t find many that proudly shout publicly that they intentionally exclude underrepresented minorities, such as people with disabilities.

Despite this, there are many actions that employees at these same companies take which completely undermine corporate disability inclusion claims. Those ableist, uninclusive employee actions speak much, much louder than the organization’s words.

Not calling out ableism.

You automatically lose your disability ally card if you are present for ableism, but never call it out. In order to do this, allies must be able to accurately identify what is ableist. …


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. …

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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