Random Friday


And in the midst of this space opera July, let’s get back to Earth for a moment. And to Social Media hell. You know those pretty Facebook backgrounds? Forget them if you have a visually impaired friend! Here’s from my good friend and fellow author Victoria Zigler:

I noticed recently that Facebook started having background options for posts.

This was fine at first, because my screen readers – both JAWS (my computer one) and Voice Over (my iPhone one) were happy to just tell me the background existed and which style had been chosen, and then read the text to me. Voice Over especially was good about this, since it likes Facebook better than JAWS does. Anyway, at that point I had no problems with them. Even used them a few times myself.

However, Facebook must have fiddled with the feature or something, because now it won’t tell me what the background is. Worse, it won’t tell me what the person’s post says. I just get a message saying, “Awesome text background,” and nothing else.

I’m letting people know so they’re aware that this can cause problems for blind people following their social media. If people who read this continue to use the backgrounds even with this knowledge, that’s fine. It’s your choice. Just be aware it means I won’t be reacting to – or potentially commenting on – the posts in question, since I’ll have to use the same rule I use for images: if I don’t know what it is, I don’t react or respond to it.

Got it? And it’s for this reason that from now on if I comment on the Happiness is vignette, I’m going to repeat what’s in the vignette. I know those must have been the most boring posts for her, but describing a vignette isn’t really a good idea. But at least if I comment it, now she’ll know what I’m talking about. Trying to make this blog a little more visually-impaired-friendly, okay?

Because I love Tori and I’ve met her and she’s sweet and the only one who regularly comments on my blog. Now, I’m not expecting her starting to comment on the Happiness is (it’s always the same 150 vignettes rotating since 2009), but I’ll try to remember there are people like her out there who might not enjoy those colorful Facebook backgrounds…

By the way, her books are also in the Smashwords sale, go check them! 🙂 This weekend I’ll be busy with the paperback of Sci-Fi Stories Starships… you enjoy your summer! 🙂

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks for helping to spread the word about the issue with the backgrounds, and for trying to make things more accessable. Also, thanks for the nice comments about me, and the shout-out for my books. 🙂

    It looks like Facebook may have fixed the background issue. I guess enough of us shared my post around that they took note (especially since I also contacted them directly about the issue). It’s still worth bearing in mind though, in case they start fiddling again. I’m hoping they won’t fiddle with that particular issue now they know it’s a potential accessability problem, but… Well, Facebook do love messing with their settings, so you never know.

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