Beauty Time

Last week I was featured on the lovely Nia’s blog, where she talks about all things beauty!

Beauty Blog Wales is a great place to learn things as how to know what foundation suits your skin tone, but also how to apply it!

And very blind friendly!

Nia is a fab blogging friend, and I hope to meet her one day!

Here’s the interview 🙂

1. Tell us a bit about your blog?
It’s a lifestyle blog focused on disability, I try to challenge stereotypes and educate others, whilst hopefully bringing a humorous twist 😉

2. What do you love about blogging?
It’s definitely got to be the community, i’ve never met such a friendly and supportive bunch.The friendships i’ve developed through blogging is pretty amazing, i’m so glad I started wittering away in my little corner of the internet 🙂

3. When did you lose your sight Sassy? It must have been such a tough time for you, if you don’t mind please tell us a bit about that time in your life.

I have a deteriorative eye condition called Uveitis Iritis,, I started having vision problems when I was 14 but it got increasingly worse in 2013. In the September of that year it was becoming such a problem that I didn’t feel safe leaving my front door unaccompanied, I sought medical intervention (not for the first time I may add).
I under went surgery that could have 1 of 3 outcomes: my sight would stay the same, my sight would improve or it would deteriorate further. It was a risk I was willing to take.
Unfortunately because of the scar tissue on my eye from several years of operations and treatments, they couldn’t save my remaining vision, and it deteriorated.

4. Did you have to relearn how to do your makeup?
Luckily no, I’ll be honest I wasn’t particularly bothered about wearing make up as much when my sight started to get bad, I could no longer see my reflection in a mirror so it put me off for a while.

However after the operation I decided to start wearing it again, and in a lot of ways I realised i had been putting on make up blind for years, it was only the finishing look that I checked the mirror for.
Although saying that; I don’t want you to get excited; i’m no make up artist 😉 I only wear a full face on a night out.
.

5. Do you have to trust your husband to give you makeup advice?
Haha yes, poor Gary has had to learn a lot about make up since being with me! I always ask him what colour lipstick would go with certain outfits! Who do you turn to when you need a face check?
Gary, since living together i’ve always asked him to make sure my eyeliner is level on both sides and I don’t have mascara blobs on the side of my nose!

6. Which products do you love?
I’ve recently had a big make up clear out, and decided to try a lot of new products and brands.
I’ve done it all on a low budget, incase they didn’t match my skin tone… or made me look like a clown!
A big love of mine right now is my Bourjor foundation,because it’s so creamy, moisturising and smells lovely!

7. Are there tools that you couldn’t be without
Eye lash curlers, due to my eye condition my eyes are quite closed a lot of the time so wearing mascara and curling my lashes opens them up!
Sometimes I treat myself to eyelash extensions which does the same effect, and I feel instantly pretty 🙂
when doing your face?

8. Do you like to experiment with makeup?
Yes and no. As I am totally blind I don’t go all out and buy expensive brands, but I do like to have a try out with different techniques and styles when i’ve got free time. (Make up wipes at the ready!)

9. What is your experience of shopping for makeup since you lost your sight?
I will admit it’s not as fun as it used to be, but when I had a make up clear out Gary and I went into town and he gave me his undivided attention, helping me pick out products i’ve read about, and tell me honestly if he thought they would suit me.

10. What are your tips for other blind or partially sighted ladies who are trying to figure out their makeup game?

Youtube is a great place for tutorials on applying make up, blogs are great for make up recommendations and essentially just enjoy having a play about.
If you have a friend or family member who is willing to help you with techniques then definitely go with that; it’s always more fun when you are trying new things with people.
Don’t be afraid to book appointments at make up counters to discuss products and even get them to give you a make over, however always take someone you trust. Make up artists don’t always get it right!
I am fortunate that my Mum taught me in my teenage years how to apply make up properly, and what colours suited my skin tone.

Thanks Ever so much Nia for giving me the opportunity to guest post on your wonderful blog!

Please Don’t forget to follow her on:

Twitter
Blog
Facebook




Are Mobile Phones A Luxury Or A Necessity??

A little while ago I was given the opportunity to guest post on the fabulous Lolly’s blog.
I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it 🙂

Are mobile phones materialistic, or an necessity?

With the boom of technology in the last 10 years alone, and smart phones becoming the number one product to get, if you haven’t already that is.
Smart phones although still seen as a luxury by some, have now become a necessity, especially for people such as myself.

For those who don’t know, i’m totally blind. I use an iPhone, MacBook, iPad and iPod. I’m not trying to show off or seem flash, I can assure you, it took a long time to save for such items!
But the reason I am mentioning my clear love for Apple products, is not because it’s seen as the coolest gadget, or more expensive luxury, it’s because it enables me to live my life with as much ease and normality as a blind person can manage.

All of the Apple products listed above have specific built in software called Voice-Over. An Apple built-in screen reader that allows me to use technology the way you do.

A screen reader is a text to speech output which speaks the content of a computer display. In Apple’s case it is in-built within every Apple product they sell.. This enables me to navigate my way around my MacBook (what I am using to write this post). I use shortcut keys to navigate, as it would be pretty tricky for a blind person to use a mouse, when they cannot see where it is upon the screen.

My iPad is essentially a larger version of my iPhone, so when I talk about my iPhone, it has all the same functions without being able to call like a phone.
My iPhone; being touch screen will read out wherever my finger lands/ touches on the screen. In order for me to interact with my iPhone, and give it commands, I have to use specific gestures.
For example, if I wanted to call my Mum, I would touch the top right-hand corner of my iPhone, and Voice-Over will say contacts (I have my phone set out in a specific way, so this would not be the case for everyone using an iPhone, even if they too are blind).
I would then double tap with 1 finger,or thumb, to be able to open the Contacts app.
I would then touch the very right hand side of the iPhone screen again, where it will announce “Table Index” the A-Z of the phone book.
I have to hold my thumb down for a second or so before the phone announces “Swipe up or down with one finger to adjust the value” And from there I would continuously flick my thumb up towards the top of the iPhone for it to scroll down.

When I reach the correct letter I would then flick right with my thumb to find the contact i’m looking for. I would have to double tap again with one finger, or thumb, to open it.
I would also have to double tap on the number itself to activate the call button.

So why the double tap gesture?
Imagine running your thumb or finger around a touch screen and having your eyes closed whilst doing so, you would potentially open a dozen apps, send a gobbledegook email to your boss. and a smily face to your brother who is sitting right next to you!
Double tapping is so the blind user can navigate around the screen/ phone itself without any worry of doing these things constantly.

So how do I use social media?

If I am on my iPhone, and using the FaceBook App, I use much the same gestures as I mentioned above with a few added extras.

The FaceBook App in my personal opinion is far better, than using the website,
What I mean by this is: screen readers are programmed to read all text aloud to the person navigating. Imagine how long and arduous a process it is to flick constantly for everything a FaceBook status has:
The persons name
Who their audience is
the location it was published
the time it was published
The status itself
If there are any images
reactions to the status; Like, Comment, Share, Announcing one at at a time.

However there are shortcuts to speed this interaction up a little quicker

Thankfully the app cuts out a lot of the waffle and will only read out:
The persons name
The status
If there is an image
Reactions to the status; Like. Comment, Share. And
This will be read all at once, and in order.

In order to interact with the status you can do one of 2 options:
Flicking your thumb down to choose an option; Like, React, Comment, Share, More.
Or
By double tapping the screen with 2 fingers and it brings up a list with the same options i’ve listed above.
You can choose to flick right to get to the specific action or drag your finger down the list and use the 1 finger double tap gesture to active it.

What about other social media platforms?

With each social media platforms there are slightly different ways to navigate each app, and each website. The single and double tap features are sill optimised but it depends on each app developer if they include extra functions for screen readers. An example of this is Twitter. If you go to the Twitter settings you can customise a two finger double tap to do one of 4 actions. I chose my action to create a new tweet. It means I don’t have to find the top right hand corner of the screen, and double tap with one finger to create a tweet. It’s things like that, that help me navigate quicker as a screen reader user 🙂

There are so many things my iPhone can do that help keep my life running as smoothly as a blind person bumping into walls and getting lost can be 😉

And social media is just the tip of that gigantic iceberg…
Where would I be without it? Probably rocking in a corner somewhere 😉 but seriously, technology today has given me and other blind and disabled people a lifeline to keep in touch with the outside world, interact with friends and family who live in other parts of the country/ world, and helps make new connections and new friends 🙂

I hope this post was informative? If you have any questions or would like me to explain anything else from a blind persons perspective then feel free to contact me on the following:
Twitter
Facebook
Google+
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com




A big thanks to Lolly for allowing me to guest post on her fabulous blog, without my smartphone we wouldn’t have met! 🙂
Please follow her on:
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Much love,
Sassy x

Join My Campaign: Guest Posts

Guest Posts:

Do you have a disease, condition, chronic illness or disability that you would like to spread awareness of?
Then this blog is a place for you!
I want to be a platform for you to share your story, spread your message and raise awareness of your cause!
You can use your creativity and passion to do this however you see fit!
If you or anyone you know would like to participate I would love to have you!

You can contact me on

Email:
SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/Thinking-Out-Loud-Blog-525815087584791/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/@SassyPant6

Much love,
Sassy x




VoiceOver iPhone Tips

Gestures and Settings.

Apple is seen as one of the best company’s out there,especially for anyone with a disability.
Even though the products themselves are pricey, they are cost effective if you use all of it’s features.
The great thing about Apple products from a blind persons’ prospective is that since Apple released the iPhone 3GS it has built in software called VoiceOver. This is a screen reading software that gives the user feedback in an auditory format. Since that iPhone was released Apple has incorporated VoiceOver into every new product they build.

As an Apple lover I thought I would explain the tips and tricks I use on a daily basis, and why it helps keep my phone usage as smooth as possible for a blind person.

I’m going to walk you through some useful tips and tricks (also known as gestures and settings that the iPhone has)
Things I use on a daily basis, and hope that if you are an Apple user and do not know them already, they may be of some use to you!

However this is not a comprehensive guide for absolute beginners, so at the end of this article I will leave a few references for you.

For we begin, iPads are essentially larger versions of the iPhone, the only differences they cannot make calls to landlines on mobiles. Every function/gesture I list below can be used on an iPad.

 

The Flick.

The flick is a gesture making it quick for you to navigate around the screen at a faster pace.
*Left to right is forward
*Right to left is back
This can be done quite quickly using your thumb and it’s best to flick about an inch.

 

1 finger Gestures.

1 finger double tap.
Activates the button, opens and app.

If you double tap the time (situated at the very top middle of the screen) it will take you to the top of the page.
This means you don’t have to spend time scrolling to get to the top of a document or page.

2 Finger Gestures.

2 Finger double tap.

Using 2 fingers (index and middle would probably be best) will start/ stop an action, for example; play or pause music in your iTunes library.

The same gesture can be used to answer or end a call.
No need to faff around trying to slide your finger or find the end call button.

On Facebook this gesture can be used to select a drop down menu, 2 finger double tapping when you are on a Facebook friends status allows you to interact with it much quicker.
Use the flick gesture to scroll through the options; Like, Comment, Share, Cancel.

On Twitter it allows you to create your own shortcut, I have chosen my shortcut as creating a new tweet.
2 finger swipe down

If you swipe down the page from the top of the screen, it will read the entire content of what is on the screen.
If you are part way through reading something, you can do the same gesture lower down on the screen, and it will read everything from the word/ line you were on.
It will read continuously until you stop it.

2 finger single tap pauses VoiceOver,.
If you tap the screen again with 2 fingers it will continue reading where it was paused at.

2 Finger Scrub
If you scrub the screen quite quickly, it will perform the action of going back. For example, if you are on a webpage instead of scrolling to find the back button, scrubbing the screen will take you back to the previous page.
2 finger press and hold:
Examples, you have just taken a photograph of you and your friend. By doing this action; listening to the sound announcing the action has been performed. You can label your photograph.
This is useful if you have very limited or no vision, because it keeps your label for you.
Enabling you to have a written description of the photo.

 

3 Finger Gestures.

3 finger single tap
Speaks the page number you are on

3 finger double tap turns speech on and off, it will mute VoiceOver.

3 finger triple tap.
Turns the screen curtain on and off. This gives you more privacy from nosey people staring at your screen, and slightly reduces battery wastage.

 

4 Finger Gestures

4 finger single tap.
Moves to the first element. AKA the top of the screen.
Make sure your fingers are placed quite high on the screen.
For example this would be the back button if you are in the Mail app.
Doing this same gesture at the bottom of the screen moves to the last element on the page.

4 finger double tap
Starts help; this means you can practice gestures and it will tell you what the command is, without making the phone do anything you don’t want it to.
For example to flick your thumb to the right it would announce; move to next item.

 

Settings

Settings is essentially the backbone of the phone, it’s where you go when you want to add/ change anything. For this section we will be focusing on controls/ features that can make your user experience much smoother.
Settings > General

The first area I want to explain is the keyboard.

Keyboard

You can add multiple keyboards, such as language, for those who are multilingual.
Or in my case adding the emoji keyboard, great for when you want to lighten the text up a bit.

But most importantly,it’s where you find text replacement.


Text Replacement

Text replacement is a phrase or word you can add, and from there create your own personalised shortcut.
For example, I use the letters Sw as a shortcut to my email address; SassysWorld6@gmail.com
As I type my email address frequently it quickens my typing/ texting.
You can create yours to do anything you want.

Settings > General > Accessibility

 

I am going to introduce 2 separate features.
*Shake to undo
*Accessibility shortcut

Shake to undo

Pretty self explanatory but just in case… Make sure it is enabled.

So you have written a text and you want to delete the last word.
Instead of pressing backspace shake the phone for a second or 2 and an option to undo typing will appear. Double tap to select.

Similarly, if you have a piece of text you have just copied but have pasted it in the wrong place, shake the phone and it will come up with the option to undo what you have pasted.
It does also give you a cancel option, encase you shook the phone by mistake.

Accessibility Shortcut.

Once enabled this is a really brilliant feature.
It works by clicking the home button 3 times, and it will perform a specific action, you can choose from 6 different options. Personally I have chosen VoiceOver as mine.
This means whenever I press the home button 3 times consecutively it will turn VoiceOver on and off for me, so I don’t have to go to
Settings> General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut anytime I need sighted assistance.

Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver

This is where you can configure your VoiceOver speech settings.
Speech, volume, rate, intonation etc.
But I want to focus on 1 main area; Rota.

 

The Rota.

A wonderful tool for blind and visually impaired people.
You can customise it to your specific needs/wants.
For example I use; headings, edit, and text selection.

How it works.

Once it is enabled you put your finger and thumb on the screen and rotate them clockwise, as if you are turning a dial.
By doing this you can navigate which rota setting you are going to use.
Keep turning the dial so-to-speak to find your chosen rota command.
When you have selected the action you want the rota to perform. You flick down to perform the command.
it is a much faster way of scrolling or interacting with what is on the screen.
Headings.
Let’s say you are on Safari and Googled something. You can use the headings rota setting to move quickly through each search.
To engage the headings you need to flick down with one finger (or thumb).
Flick down to go to the next item, and flick up to go to the previous item.


General Navigation.

A good time when the rota is useful is when you are reading a long text, you can engage the rota to read the text by character, word or line.

Or, you have written a text and the 5th word is spelt wrong, instead of deleting the entire text you can set the rota to Words and by flicking up it will go backwards and read each word, If you want to delete the word you must make sure that the cursor is at the end of the word.
Edit.
Another fantastic example of the rota is the Edit feature.

You are on a text message you have just written, and you want to copy it.
You can flick up or down to choose how you would like to copy it. Copy, cut, paste, select, select all.
Double tap with one finger to perform the command.


Text Selection

This is almost exactly the same as the edit feature, but with a slight twist.
You are on the internet and want to copy a specific line that is halfway down the page, to select it all and delete up to the specific line would take a very long time.
Once you have flicked up or down choosing either; character, word, line, page or select all. You then flick to the right until you have selected the specific text.
From there you rotate the rota until you get to the setting that says edit..
Flick down until you hear the option copy., double tap with 1 finger to select.
Go to your designated place and flick up/ down until you hear paste.
Double tap the screen with one finger. Your item will have pasted.

Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver >


Typing Style

Typing Style.
There are 3 options you have when texting/typing.
*Standard Typing
*Touch Typing
*Split Typing
Standard Typing
This is where you find the letter on the keyboard hear it being announced and once you are happy it is the right letter you double tap to select it.
It is good for beginners using the iPhone for the first time.

Touch Typing.

This is where you only have to press the letter with your thumb and when you lift it off the letter is selected.
This is good for the iPhone users who know the QWERTY layout well, it is also a lot quicker for those that text quicker.

Split Typing.

This is where you put your thumb on a letter, and by using another finger (usually on the other hand) and further up the screen you can select a letter with one finger, and activate it with another.
This is for those who like to keep their thumb constantly on the screen to confirm which letter their finger is on.
Good for transitioning to touch typing, if you so wish.

 

Dictation.

Dictation is not for blind users specifically, but it’s good if you are about to write a long text/ email and you are not wanting it to take a long time.
You can say “full stop” “new line” “brackets” “colon” and lots o Continue reading VoiceOver iPhone Tips

Disability Q&A #10

 

Welcome back to my disability Q&A . Today’s interview  is brought to you by Holly, some of you may know her on social media as life of a blind girl.

Hol and I met on Twitter, we got chatting and soon realized that we both had a passion for changing peoples’ perspectives.

She is caring, bubbly and funny and I am proud to call her one of my closest friends!

Over to you my lovely…

Tell me about yourself:

Hello I’m Holly, I’m 20 and live in the United Kingdom. I am currently a student, studying Children, young people and families in the hope of working with blind and visually impaired people when I graduate. My hobbies include playing the flute, seeing friends, listening to music and all sorts of stuff really.

Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

What is the medical reason you have a disability? Retinopathy of prematurity

Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth? Yes

Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired, Sight Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?

Severely sight impaired or blind

Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?

I have a cane.

If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain why.

Yes I think I would.

For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?

Not a lot…light and dark and close up hand movementsF.

How has your disability affected you?

Socially

I have felt socially excluded/isolated at times.

physically

Nothing really

Mentally

I have had a couple of really low points but have got through them and I accept my disability so much more now. I do have my down days but I know how to deal with them so much more now.

Do you think your disability has made you who you are today? Please give a positive example of how this has done so… Example: Not judging people by their appearance

Yes it has definitely made me who I am today and shaped me in so many ways. A positive example is that I have learnt to not judge others and really get to know them. ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’

Is  there a particular question you get asked often because of your disability? If so, please explain below.

‘What can you actually see?’ because I have such little vision.

 

What are the positives of having a disability?

There are quite a few positives of having a disability. Discounts on various things, being able to help other blind/visually impaired people are just a couple.

What are the negatives of having a disability?

Not being able to see the beauty in this world, not knowing what my friends or family look like.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI / disabled?

Not being able to go to anywhere I want; I have to learn routes.

As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily / weekly basis that frustrate you?

In your home

Cooking things sometimes

Outside your home

Planning ahead for things such as train assistance, I can’t just make an instant decision of going somewhere. Also, sometimes mobility.

Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to another VI/ disabled person?

Keep clothes colour-coordinated. When applying make up maybe count how many times you need a certain thing on such as powder.

Do you use Assisstive technology in your daily living? c.

I use a lot of assistive technology.

Screen-reader: Jaws and apple VoiceOver, sometimes NVDA.

I use a braille display.

There’s loads of apps that I use to help me in my daily living. Tap Tap See, Cam Find, KNFB reader or other apps that do the same thing. I also use Ariadne GPS, BlindSquare and apps such as National rail, The Trainline etc.

I sometimes use a liquid leveler and talking scales.

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?

Admit that you need help or support; it doesn’t mean that you’re weak or struggling. Also, as hard as it it is at times don’t let your barrier be a barrier.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?

Don’t just assume, ask.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your family deal with your situation?

 

I haven’t used them a great deal but the ones that I have used are The Amber Trust, RNIB, Action For Blind and Blind Children UK.

Where can people find you out in the world?

Blog: www.lifeofablindgirl.wordpress.com

FaceBook: www.facebook.com/lifeofablindgirl

Twitter: Hollynataliet

Instagram: lifeofablindgirl

Email: lifeofablindgirl@gmail.com




 

 

Thank you Holly for sharing your story, I hope people find your tips and explanations useful!
You can find out so much more about Hol, her disability and how she hopes to support others by visiting her fabulous blog!

Please don’t forget to follow her links, and why not share the love? Leave her a comment, we would both appreciate it!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to take part in my Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me on the following:
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter
Facebook

If you enjoyed this interview why not check out the others in the series so far?
Interview 1
Interview 2
Interview 3
Interview 4
Interview 5
Interview 6
Interview 7
Interview 8
Interview 9




 

 

Join My Campaign: Think of The Carers

Think of the carers.
We all know that carers are the unsung heroes of today society! They look after their loved ones with no thought of themselves, no rest bite, and very little recognition for all their hard work and effort.
Most people would say it’s all in a days work, especially if it is their child that they care for. But I believe they deserve recognition for what they do.
If you are a parent/carer of an unwell/ chronically ill/ sensory impaired or disabled person I would love to hear from you.

I would like to hear your side of the story; how the diagnosis made you feel, what it means for you as a person, and tasks you have to do on a daily/ weekly/ monthly basis just to support a person you love
This guest series is about hearing disability from the carers perspective, and I hope to raise awareness and understanding of all that you do.

If you would like to participate, I would love to have you! Please contact me on the following:
Email:
SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter:http://www.Twitter.com/@SassyPant6
FaceBook: https://m.facebook.com/Thinking-Out-Loud-Blog-525815087584791

Much love, Sassy X

Twisted Tales: Book Review

Twisted Tales: A Book Review.

Wooden floorboards with some rough rope twisted. title says " Twisted Tales" "A collection of dark short stories with a twist" at the bottom center it says the aurthors name "Deborah A Stansil"

I’m excited to be introducing a lovely lady, writer and now author!

Debbie is a blogger, and just happened to be one of the first people who I found on Twitter who I reached out to.
Debbie hosts her own Linky every Monday called #AnythingGoes and again, this is one of the first linky’s I ever joined as a blogger!

Not only is Debbie very friendly, welcoming and helpful but her blog is a place where she shares her thoughts and opinions on everything from budget holidays to book reviews to Politics!
Debbie’s blog is eclectic and one of the main reasons I keep coming back for more!

In April Debbie took part in the A-Z Challenge, where she wrote short stories, every title starting with each letter of the alphabet, her theme was flash fiction; the darker side of human nature.

I absolutely loved reading every piece that Debbie wrote for the A-Z Challenge, and if i’m honest I was sad when the challenge was over, I along with quite a few other bloggers said that she should write a book.
When Debbie announced she was not only releasing a book, but it was an extension of her A-Z short stories I was really excited, when she declared that there was an opportunity to review the book, I jumped at the chance!

Blurb:
Twisted Tales is a collection of twenty-seven short horror stories. Ranging from crazed stalkers, killers, dealing with the Devil and everything in between, this collection shows the darker side of human nature in all its black glory.Journey through the twisted minds of the central characters as they make their choices, and watch their lives spiral out of control.Hate them, empathise with them, and stay on your guard. There’s a dark streak in all of us just waiting to come out.

My Thoughts:

My curiosity was peeked from the very first story. I couldn’t put the book down. It was easy to get lost in the storylines, and it gave me a rollercoaster of a ride I will never forget!

I was utterly gripped by every plot,, just when I thought I could guess what was coming, the characters took me down a winding path further into the depths of darkness and insanity. Some real heart stopping moments!
If you are into horror; this is a must read! With each story being bitesized you’ll keep turning the pages!
My personal favourites were: Gaze, Jump and Done Deal
Twisted Tales is available to buy on Amazon now!

I would Highly recommend this!

Interview With The Author:

what is your favourite genre to read and why?

1. I read so many genres – horror, YA, crime, and I’ve just started reading fantasy too. I think my favourite would have to be horror though. I like that anything can happen within the genre, and you don’t always know what’s coming next. Plus, I love the feeling you get when you read something that’s genuinely creepy!

If you could spend a day with any author Dead or alive, who would it be and why?

2. This is a tough one. My favourite author is Stephen King and a day picking his brains would be amazing, but I’d be worried I ended up all tongue tied and looked ridiculous. I just have visions of ending up acting like a teenager at a Justin Bieber concert haha.

How long does it take you to write one of your stories?

3. The length of time depends on what I have going on. If I can sit down and write in one session, it takes me probably two hourish for a five thousand word story, and then maybe another half an hour to edit and polish it.

For you,are your characters/plots clearly defined before you are writing or did you have to think about them when you extended them for Twisted Tales?

4. I usually have a rough idea of where the story will go when I start it. Honestly though, it’s very rare it ends up there. All the advice says to have a clearly defined plot outline, but I feel too limited when I have that. I often start out with a certain ending in mind, and as I write, something better comes along. Often the way a story turns out is as much a surprise to me as it is to the person reading it.

If you had to choose just one favourite which story from Twisted Tales which would it be and why?

5. I think it would have to be Gaze. I love that character, she is so ruthless and twisted, but she doesn’t see it that way. She thinks the ends justify the means. I think to an extent, we can all relate to that story. Who hasn’t spotted a stranger across the room at some point and found themselves imagining what it would be like to be with them, although, I hope no one has gone to the lengths the girl in the story did!

Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you! It was great to hear your thoughts!
You can find Debbie on the following:
Blog:
www.myrandommusings.co.uk

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/myrandommusingsblog/
Twitter:https://twitter.com/randommusings29
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/randommusings29
Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/debrandommusingsblog29/

Happy Diaries #15

Hello Diary,

It has been a busy and productive week 🙂
I won’t bore you with the details, but the volunteering and general blog stuff seems to be keeping me busy which is great 🙂

I’m so glad the weather is finally acting like it’s supposed to! It means that Gary and I can go on nice long walks 🙂
I always prefer it when it’s warm and dry 🙂

don’t you?

I baked banana bread yesterday, very tasty even if I say so myself 😉

Gratitude List

*I feel like my blogging mojo has come back, i’m looking forward to writing and publishing over the coming weeks
*My new sofa is heavenly! Everyone loves it, so it’s not just me 😉
*Receiving a massage from my very good friend who is a qualified sports therapist. My Arthritis is a bit rubbish at the moment, so it’s good to have some pain relief and relaxation 🙂
*People appreciating my blog; i’m always so happy to receive comments from people saying that I have educated them! It makes it worthwhile! So thank you for your appreciation and support
*It’s only 10 days until Gary and I go abroad! I’m so excited, I need some proper sun in my life! – I’m so grateful that Gary and I can afford to do such things, because I know that not everyone can. So

I hope the sun has been shining for you?!

Until next time!




Are You Indirectly Discriminating?

Are you being indirectly discriminative?

The Equality Act 2010 says that indirect discrimination is:
“A practice, policy or rule which applies to everyone in the same way, but has a worse effect on some people more than others.”

Without realising it, we are indirectly discriminating…

How am I indirectly discriminating you may ask?

I will get into that very shortly but first I will give a brief explanation of what the Equality Act is.
The Equality Act 2010 was proposed as a way to combine previous legislation together to make a better stronghold on discrimination and support those who may potentially be discriminated against in the future.

There are 9 protective characteristics:
*Age
*Disability
*Gender Reassignment
*Marriage or Civil Partnership in employment only
*Pregnancy and maternity
*Race
*Religion or belief
*Sex
*sexual orientation
But for today we are focusing on disability.

Disability and Access to Websites.

The Equality Act at Section 21 includes the adoption of a single concept of the provision of a service which covers ; goods, services and facilities among other things.

While the Equality Act 2010 doesn’t expressly refer to websites the consensus has been that the reference to the provision of service does apply to commercial web.
You can find more information on the Statutory Code of Practice.
“Websites provide access to services and goods and may in themselves constitute a service; for example, where they are delivering information or entertainment.”

*****

Websites can be a double edged sword for those with disabilities. People with sensory impairments such as blindness may choose to shop online, but much in the same way shops/ buildings can create physical barriers, a website can present the same barriers.

Screen readers are software programs giving blind and visually impaired people a way to navigate computers, tablets and phones through audio feedback.
Problems arise when user interfaces such as buttons are not labeled correctly, tables are not configured properly and images have no alternative text. Also known as Alt text attributes.

Why is this important?

Imagine the frustration of browsing the internet and being denied crucial information, such as buttons with the Twitter logo only saying link, tables reading non stop from left to right and photographs only saying the word image.

So going back to the earlier question: how am I being indirectly discriminating?

By not labelling these interfaces/ attributes correctly, you are denying visually impaired people access to your website. Whether it is intentional or not.

So what can you do?

By adding Alt text! Adding Alt text is simple; when you upload/ edit a picture on your website, you should give a clear description of the image.
Example:
Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance

The Alt text reads “alt=”Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Likewise, if you are adding a text based image to your website, you need to include the original text of the image as screen readers cannot distinguish the writing/text.

Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you!"

The Alt text reads “alt=”Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Blogging and SEO.

so you’re a blogger and you bake a delicious cake, you’ve been told to include Chocolate Cake Recipe , in every image of your tasty treat. In order for SEO to give you better rankings you need to include the Title for every image caption, right?

WRONG!!

The caption/ tag area is for Alt Text descriptions. Blind and visually impaired users need to know what the image is about, and SEO will also penalise you for not doing this.
SEO sees this as spam. In order for you to get good SEO rankings as well as being lawfully abiding, your images/ photos should have a brief description.

Most blogs are being indirectly discriminative, and not just to visually impaired people. People with other sensory impairments, motor skill problems and cognitive issues may also be indirectly discriminated against.

If you are unsure whether or not your website or blog is indirectly discriminating, you can use these free tools below to check.
Please think about your potential audience before you hit publish.
Make sure your user interfaces are labelled correctly, images have Alt text and videos have a written translation of what your video contains, especially if it is a slideshow of images.

http://wave.webaim.org/
https://tenon.io/
https://www.squizlabs.com/general/html-codesniffer




 

References
https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/employment-statutory-code-practice
http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/111218/smile,+and+the+world.html
https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/helping-people-to-use-your-service/making-your-service-accessible-an-introduction
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
https://www.w3.org/WAI/




Happy Diaries #14

Happy Diaries #Hello Diary,

This week has been a bit of a quiet one for me;through choice.
I felt I needed some me time to be by myself and go back to things I loved before blogging; reading and watching my favourite TV series 🙂

Aside from the usual volunteering and things that I do on a weekly basis I haven’t done very much, but it’s been good!

I enjoyed my BML Experience, but I think the hectic weekend wiped it out of me, so as I said i’ve enjoyed having some down time.
Gary and I had a cosy night in this week. We had something tasty for tea and settled down to watch a film together. As Gary is a gamer and I am a blogger, the majority of our evenings are spent on our computers doing our own thing, so it was nice to just cuddle up on our comfy new sofa and ignore the outside world 🙂

The Disability Q&A 9 went live, with thanks to the lovely Kate! 🙂

Gary and I went to our friends’ for a dinner party, the food and company, as always was lovely! But I think we were party poopers; having over indulged too much we called a taxi at 22:30 to go home, which is not like us at all! We were gloriously mocked by our hosts 😉

Gratitude List

Snuggling on our bran new sofa
* Spending quality time with Gary
* Getting together with friends
* Taking time out from blogging and enjoying old hobbies
* Catching up with friends / family on the phone, technology makes it great to stay connected
Until next time!

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