Were you ever picked last for a game when you were a kid?? Ever find out about a party that everyone but you seems to have been invited to? Been in a group of friends reminescing about an incredibly fun memory they shared that you weren’t there for? Remember how the feeling of exclusion felt?
For the blind, we face that almost everywhere we turn. This is a visual world. It always has been, but it seems to be getting more and more so every day.
Video game culture is on the rise, picture sharing platforms are extremely popular, places like Disney World have a plethora of simulator rides based on viewing a screen, even the education of online learning can rely heavily on pictures and videos.
And we can’t participate in that, or if we can we get only a very watered down version of it.
It hurts. It feels like a little jab every time it happens, leaving an inner six year old standing at the edge of the field wondering “What about me?”
The truly frustrating part of that for me is that it doesn’t even need to be this way. Images can be tagged with very descriptive text that would tell us precisely what is in the photo, but no one seems to do it. Rides can have audio tracks, and to be fair many at WDW and other similar theme parks do, but not all of them. Videos can have audio descriptions as well, or at least some sort of back up explination, and not all of them do. Some video games can even be made somewhat or entirely accessible, but designers don’t.
I do not expect the world to bend to meet my needs. I really don’t. The fact that I am blind is always going to limit some of the things I can participate in. But it doesn’t have to limit quite as much as it does, if only those behind designing these things would take a minute to think about the blind and visually impaired community. I’m sure the same goes for other groups as well, but I can only speak to my own experience.
I do want to send a very heartfelt thank you to anyone who has taken the time for accessibility, I’m not unaware of you, it’s just that sometimes the pain of not being able to participate in things that everyone else is doing hurts.
Like all those nifty Facebook avatars people are sharing. Like the buzzfeed personality test I saw yesterday that relied entirely on photos with no description. Like the online courses I’d like to take to maintain my status as a registered massage therapist that require me to see the video.
It sucks. It hurts. And it could be so much better. All society needs to do is take a little bit of time to consider those with disabilities during the design phase and if there is a solution that would include them, do it.
As always, be kind to yourself and to others.