jennyst: Jenny on a photo of space (Default)
Since starting to use a wheelchair, I am gaining experience in all the ways a venue can claim to be wheelchair-accessible and yet fail. For example, these are some of the questions I may ask to check, because I've encountered places that said they were accessible and then failed these tests:

◾ Is the pavement outside smooth paving, cobbles, tarmac or something else, and does it have any potholes or uneven paving? Is there space for a taxi to pull up?
◾ Are there any steps at the entrance to the venue? How high is the lip at the door? Is there a ramp, and how long or steep is it?
◾ Are there any doors you have to pull towards you or push away? Do they have automatic buttons? Are any of them self-closing or heavy fire doors?
◾ How wide are the doorways – are they normal width, extra wide, double doors, etc?
◾ How high is the bar, can a wheelchair user get the bar staff’s attention, reach to pay via card machine, or pick up a drink off the bar?
◾ How much room is there in the wheelchair-accessible toilet? Can I fit my wheelchair in there? Does it have grab bars? Is there a basin within reach of the toilet, or do I have to push my wheelchair with dirty hands and get germs all over the chair? Is it regularly maintained and cleaned?
◾ Will all attendees be standing, at an awkward height to talk to, or will some people be sitting?
◾ Are there narrow passageways or tables crammed together where I won’t be able to get between without moving furniture?
◾ Will the food be at a normal-height table, or how will it be served?

I would love for more people to be aware and think about these things when looking at venues. Let hosts know that this matters to you, and that you'd rather patronise a venue that everyone can use, even if there isn't a wheelchair user attending on that particular day.
jennyst: OTW: Fandom is my fandom (OTW fandom is my fandom)
I've been a bit stressed lately with OTW stuff that isn't public yet. The OTW always has internal discussions going on that aren't publicly visible, ranging from usual committee meetings to new initiatives. I think there are always some of those that could be more public than they are, and some that are private for good reason.

In the meantime, I can at least talk more generally about the issues I care about. Firstly, transparency, surprisingly enough! A lot of the content in the monthly org-wide meeting is also in the monthly newsletter, but it feels different when you're there, meeting the people who do the work, and being able to ask questions. So I'd like to encourage anyone interested in the org to watch out for the announcements, come along for part of the meeting if you can, or post questions in the comments of the monthly newsletter. I'd particularly like to encourage people to comment and subscribe to comments on the main OTW site - unlike LJ, there's no limit to the number of posts you can track. The next org-wide meeting is this Saturday - details have been emailed out to all volunteers, so contact Volcom if you haven't heard about it.

Secondly, accessibility. We're revamping our Javascript on the AO3, which is going to enable more accessiblity improvements in the future, but currently means we're reminding ourselves quite how much of the site doesn't work if you turn JS off (answer: too much). Of course, in between that, we're trying to handle servers falling over, error 502 and everything else. I've also been doing a bit of recent investigation into both screenreaders (learning to use NVDA) and voice recognition software (mainly the built-in Windows one, not Dragon). We have a couple of people within the OTW who use voice recognition, and we have worked hard to make the Archive accessible, but there are still areas we could improve, notably the tag wrangling pages. If you spot a problem, please do report it to us so we can fix it - detailed bug reports are a huge help. Our internal tools are also an issue - Campfire is okay to use with Dragon or Windows Voice Recognition, if you can manage a few mouse clicks in between, but it's totally impossible with a screenreader. I raised this to Campfire support, and they said they'd never tested with a screenreader, and didn't have any plans to change it. At least they agreed to suggest to their developers to consider fixing things, and someone in their support team has now tried it with NVDA, but it's a little frustrating.

In other news, the Fanlore project to revamp their CSS is going well - there's a recent post about it on their comm. The AO3 project to revamp all our CSS and change the way skins work is also in progress, and the first draft is being tested at the moment, before review by AD&T for design and accessibility.

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jennyst: Jenny on a photo of space (Default)
Jenny S-T

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