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Jennifer Lindsay on The Social Eye


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Jennifer Lindsay is the host of the A-list, a weekly podcast in which she discusses the social zeitgeist with notable guests.

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Jennifer Lindsay on The Social Eye

  1. 1. The Social Eye Is there a digital divide we can’t see?
  2. 2. Meet Stefana Broadbent
  3. 3. She analyzes how we text…
  4. 4. …instant message…
  5. 5. …and talk on social networks
  6. 6. She is a technology anthropologist <ul><li>Her speech at TED Global 2009 was the video seen ‘round the world. </li></ul>
  7. 7. A new era <ul><li>Stefana says these new methods of communication are helping us break out of old institutions and bringing us closer together than ever before. </li></ul><ul><li>She has gone as far as to call our age of communication the, “democratization of intimacy.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Free and easy, right? <ul><li>For most computer users, signing up for a social networking site is easy, and it doesn't take long to set up a profile, search for friends, or add comments on walls or pages. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The problem of a literal 'face' book <ul><li>But while social media is bringing many people together in the virtual world it is inadvertently (and ironically) widening the social gap between the the blind and the public at large. </li></ul>
  10. 10. We’re not as connected as we think The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) found serious accessibility issues with major social networking sites.
  11. 11. Evaluating social networks <ul><li>The AFB evaluated four popular social networking sites including MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, and LinkedIn. </li></ul>
  12. 12. An equal experience? <ul><li>Using popular assistive technology products JAWS and Window-Eyes, they determined whether a blind computer user, with basic screen reader skills, could independently: </li></ul><ul><li>Register </li></ul><ul><li>Create a standard profile </li></ul><ul><li>Post photos </li></ul><ul><li>Interact with other group members </li></ul>
  13. 13. Can’t create user account <ul><li>The most serious accessibility issue AFB found was the inability to create user accounts on any of the social networks without sighted assistance. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Why? CAPTCHAs. Those abstract renderings of random characters that ask users to retype the word they see on the screen.
  15. 15. Audio option <ul><li>CAPTCHAs, also known as &quot;vision test,&quot; are meant to keep spam programs out. </li></ul><ul><li>But unfortunately they also keep out people with vision loss. </li></ul><ul><li>An audio version could be an alternate means of registering for people who are blind. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Other complications <ul><li>Cluttered web pages with many links complicate use. </li></ul><ul><li>Unlabeled links cause problems because when the screen reader reads the link it sounds like gibberish. </li></ul><ul><li>Online ads make it more cumbersome for screen reader users because they have to go through the scattered ads, before they can find what they're looking for. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Not hard to create access <ul><li>The good news is that making web sites accessible to computer users with vision loss is easier than most think. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Can be fixed <ul><li>An overwhelming majority of accessibility problems can be fixed by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing alternatives to CAPTCHAs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Properly labeling forms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing ALT text for images. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Leader of the pack <ul><li>LinkedIn is the most user-friendly of all the social networking sites because its pages are well labeled, and it does not include a CAPTCHA in the registration process. </li></ul>
  20. 20. In your hands With more than 400 causes on Facebook raising money and awareness for the blind, it’s high time we lobby for the vision-impaired to be able to take part in the “democratization of intimacy.”