Access is, of course, at the centre of what I do. My work is all about making music more accessible, and yet I find myself struggling with trying not to create an access barrier with some of the things I want to do. I want to write; this blog is an outward extension of my thoughts and feelings. It exists mostly for me, but I want it to be accessible to others.
Typing is, for me, a struggle. My CP affects my hands, and makes any amount of typing, especially on touchscreen devices, very uncomfortable. Meanwhile, handwriting is much more comfortable. My most accessible route to blogging would be to write things down by hand, then scan them.
There’s a frustrating problem here. By meeting my own access needs, I create one for others. Images aren’t compatible with screen readers, so visually impaired people would not be able to access my blog.
Voice to text is usually the proposed solution, but it creates more problems than it solves for me. It often doesn’t run on my Mac (despite it being a fairly new and shiny one) and when it does, it often doesn’t understand me. It also presents a cognitive barrier for me; I just can’t seem to speak the way I want to write. I have a long list of cognitive barriers that I’m still trying to get to the bottom of, but are most likely linked to CP. Short version: Voice-to-text isn’t working for me.
The advent of handwriting recognition gave me some hope, but it hasn’t delivered yet. I have an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, and I’ve tried a few apps. Nebo is promising, but it’s still fiddly. Writing on a device is still not as comfortable as ink on paper.
So I’m still trying. I typed this by hand, and now my hands hurt. Using a separate keyboard that I can position closer to me without bringing the screen with it helps. But it’s still uncomfortable.
Not blogging at all is of course the most obvious outcome, but that’s a bummer. I don’t know. I’m sure technology will catch up, voice to text will get better, but for now, truly inclusive content creation is, for me, still just out of reach.