Mariella Paulino: All right! Everybody, welcome to the very, very, very last accessibility office hour that we have for the year. So accessibility office hour is an event for Knowbility that we host to talk about a topic related to accessibility for one hour of the month. So this month is December and it is the holidays and because it is the holidays, we are going to be talking about our favorite topic, accessibility at the holidays and how we make the holidays accessible. So we need to get this party started so that you can get your party started.
So my name is Mariella Paulino and I am the Director of Marketing for Knowbility. I am a Hispanic woman. I have braids in my hair which I've hidden under my Santa hat, which is red with some stars and a little white bell. I am wearing a red dress with a black scarf and my background is a purple background that says Knowbility.
So today, I am so, so, so, so excited because of the work that we are doing for Knowbility. Let me tell you about today's event. It is powered by Knowbility and it is a nonprofit organization that provides community programming as well as audits, consulting, trainings, and workshops on web accessibility to tech professionals and accessibility allies.
We have been doing this work since 1999. Knowbility has worked with hundreds of businesses, education, organizations, government and nonprofit agencies to implement effective accessibility strategies and monitor the long-term goals to reach millions of new users and train people in best practices for what accessibility. We hope that we are or have been a part of your journey.
Now, let's go over to the next slide. We would not be able to make the web accessible without your support. Your work, your support allows our work to be possible and for those of you that have made a donation in the past, told your employers about us, come to our events, we are so grateful for you and for all of the work that we have done together over the last year. Thank you.
If you are interested in continuing to support Knowbility and our mission, we want you to go ahead, right now, and go to knowbility.org/donate. Every donation makes a huge difference in our ability to continue doing this work and making the web accessible. We also encourage you, if your employee does matching gifts or matching donations, please, please, please, please go ahead and make Knowbility the organization where you make your donation. Again, every single cent makes a difference in Knowbility to do this work and make it accessible.
Let's go over guidelines before we officially get the party started. So the first thing is that the purpose of the accessibility office hour is to create an accessible and inclusive space. That starts with the way we treat each other. So that really leads to rule number two, which is be kind, polite and respectful. Make sure that you are saving your questions and using this as a learning space. The upper right hand corner of the slide you will see that we have the link for you to submit your questions which is bit.ly/AskKnowbility and I will get to that in just one minute.
We only have three rules. And the third rule is ensure accessibility. Turn on the closed captioning functionality and we want to give a special thank you to Texas captioning for transcribing today's event. We thank you for joining us today.
Let's go over to the next slide. This is a learning space. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions. Whatever questions you may have relating to today's topic, we want you to go ahead and ask them. You can go our Google form bit.ly/AskKnowbility. We are monitoring that so we will be looking at your questions and we will try to get to them as soon as possible. You can also go to Twitter using hashtag A11y office hour.
If you don't know what hashtag A11y means, it stands for accessibility. It is accessibility is 11 letters so we are able to take A from accessibility and eleven letters and then the Y. This is the Accessibility Office Hour. If you don't want to go to the Google form or Twitter. Email us at hello@Knowbility.org. We are going to be monitoring the questions and this is a safe space for you to learn so we are looking forward to reading whatever questions you may have.
Let's go on to the next slide. Our agenda, we really are grateful you will be joining us. We have so much information for you. The first thing we will talk about is preparing for your holidays. I will be talking briefly about the very best practice to use during the holidays which is communication. Then we will have Erica who will talk about how you can prepare for the holidays. We will talk about best practices during your celebration and we will have Adam who will be talking about seating arrangement and captioning. Finally we will be talking about best practices for gifts and we will be hearing from Anthony and Molly. I am so excited about the agenda we have.
Let's talk about the first tip of the day. The best practice that has worked for me all this time is communication. Communication is key, not just for the holidays but for everything in life. As the host, you are hosting a virtual or in person holiday party, make sure that your guests feel welcome and that they are encouraged to share their needs. Erica will be talking a little bit more about that in just one minute.
But as the host you want to be able to create a welcoming space where people can come to you and say, "hey, Mariella, can you make this accommodation?" and as the host, it is your responsibility to work with that person to make sure they feel included and that the space is accessible for them.
If you are a guest, and if you need an accommodation and have a hearing disability, don't assume that the host understands what your needs are. People don't know what they don't know. And it is your job to also advocate for yourself and work with the host to make sure that you are included and that you have an accessible, and positive experience during the holidays.
Now, those are all my tips and I am so excited to pass this along to Erica, who will be talking about some of the best practices she has come across. Erica, you can come up on the stage?
Erica Braverman: Thank you, Mariella, my name is Erica Braverman. I am one of the Community Engagement Specialist at Knowbility. I also run our Access Works program so I will be talking about digital invitations. I write a lot of digital invitations but they are to accessibility studies so it is nice to talk about party invitations for a change. I am a white woman, wearing glasses and I have dark brown hair. It is currently in a pony tail and I am wearing a black and white checkered button-down shirt and I have the same purple background, Knowbility background as Mariella.
Let's start with our invitations and you can't write an accessible digital invitation without an accessible tool. What could this accessible tool be? There are lots of those E invite tools out there for creating digital invitations. I did a quick Google search for an accessible digital invitation tool and I didn't find too many good options. Not a lot of companies unfortunately mentioned accessibility. So if you have such a tool and you are listening, highly recommend adding that so we can recommend you next year. So I would say for now, unless you can check a tool, find a tool, check the accessibility and you get good results, standard email can be the way to go. That way people can receive the email in the email tool of their accessibility settings and assistive technology of their choice and they have everything set up for them.
When you send those emails, a big thing to consider and one of the questions that we have about these E invite tools, digital invitation tools, is pictures of text. You really want to avoid pictures of text. You need to have a description of any image, an alt text for any image. So just bear that in mind for your email. That is one of the big concerns when I go out looking at these tools. So you know, text is the way to go. We all like text.
So now that you figured out you will probably be using email to send your invitation, how are you going to set the email up? It is important to think about the size of your text, the color contrast between the text and the background and will your font be easy to read? I have a sample invitation. It says, "You are invited to Reginald and Matilda's Holiday Party. Please join us for dinner, drinks and a campfire." The date is Saturday, December 18th and the time is 5:00 PM.
I've chosen a large enough side of text. It is about a 16-point font here. I have used a pretty standard font. It is a Serif font. But not a lot of scrolls or loops or anything like that. It is black text on white background. Nice to have dark text against a light background. It is usually good policy.
And then I have also broken up the sections into chunks. The first part is that you are invited, followed by the dinner, drinks, and a campfire. There is a space between those sections and then the date and time with another space between that. The reason for that is I want my content to be simple and broken into chunks. Why am I doing all of this? For people who have a vision-related disability, small text, not a lot of contrast, that might be very difficult to pick out the information.
I have a picture of text, someone using a screen reader won't know what the information is. And then for people who have learning disability or cognitive disability or maybe someone who is reading the information from their phone to someone who is driving to the party in the dark, you know, it is helpful to have a simple content and easy to read invitation. All right.
So let's move on to the next part of our invitation. And then you know, as we are going back out to the world, our party is probably going to be at an address so we can find on Google Maps or having a virtual party, there might be a Zoom link. And we want to make sure that people know what those links are and where they are taken them.
The technical term would be a descriptive link and what is a link that tells you where you are going and what you are going to find there. So want our links to be descriptive. Why? Again, screen reader users are probably pulling out those links so if there is no context, they don't know what they are going for. And then people who are magnifying their screen or people who have a disability relating to processing information, the more context there is in a small piece of real estate, the better.
So on my invitation, my location is the Pine Club at 123 West Street and for my Google map link I made the link read, "Google map of the Pine Club." Which by the way is a real place. I just made up the name but I found out that there is a Pine Club in Ohio. So I put the real location in there.
And then when we think of where people are going to be going when they click the link it is important to think about accessibility. Is the site accessible? I will jump out of the digital world for just a minute here. When I say accessible site, obviously at Knowbility we are talking about a website.
But if the physical site, the venue of your party is not accessible, PSA, please find a new location. If people cannot get into your party or will be very uncomfortable once they have arrived at your party, it is not a great location. Think about ramps, elevators, everything you need ahead of time. Very important. We will jump back to the website.
For the Pine Club, you know, it is a restaurant. It has got entrances, it's got an address, a menu. Is there information about valet or dress code, depending on how fancy your party. People need to be able to get the information before they arrive. If the website is not accessible to all of your guests, you as the host or hostess is responsible for making sure that everyone has that information.
You might even call the venue, hey, you know, your site is not accessible. Your menu is an inaccessible PDF, you can send me an accessible version? You might have so much frustration with the website that you end up moving your party. If you do that, call your venue, let them know. They need to be accessible. But it is on you to look for barriers on the site and make sure that everyone has all the information they need from the website to get ready to attend your party.
And then I will finish up with the last piece of the information on this invitation. Right below our Google map, again, another space to break up our content it says, "We are looking forward to having you join us for a wonderful evening. Please text or call Reginald at 123-456-7890." It is not a real number. "To let us know about any allergies or accommodations you will need."
Why is this so important? This goes back to what Mariella said about communication and being welcoming. I found this wonderful quote from Emily Post who is really, you know, the last word on etiquette in so many ways. Manners are a sensitive awareness of feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners no matter what fork you use which I think is so perfect, thinking about parties and accessibility all through the year and any time we are coming together.
And basically what that boils down to is, if your guests need any kind of accommodation, are you interpreting that as they are a burden to you? Or are you so excited to see them and you are so thrilled to have them at the party that you are -- you are going to be gracious and happy to make this a great experience for them and an accessible experience?
So if someone needs to communicate an accommodation to you, they might be coming with an attendant. You know, they have some new assistive technology that they are still learning to use and they want people to be mindful. They have a service animal. They have a severe shellfish allergy. Anything they need to tell you. Are there A, clear instructions for who they are contacting to express these needs or accommodations? And that, yes, we have a channel set up to do so, so notice it is please text or call Reginald. Here is his number. Who and how is important.
And then are you communicating that you are happy to provide these accommodations or are people going to read this invitation and think, "oh, well, I am going to ruin the party if I attend. I better stay home. I don't want to make a fuss." If you want people to attend, you need them to want to attend and a good way to do that to make it known if they have any kind of need that you are happy to help them out.
And oh, perfect timing. Look at that. With that, we are going to wrap up the digital invitations and I will turn it over to our friend Adam who is going to talk about what happens after people arrive at your party.
Adam: Hi, everyone. My name is Adam. I am a volunteer at Knowbility and I am going to be -- sorry. I wanted to describe what I look like first before I get into everything. What I am wearing right now is a long sleeved, black sweatshirt and behind me are white walls where you can see the doorway to my kitchen on one side and part of my living room on the other side. And this is the extension of my living arrangement right now.
And so today, I want to be going over the -- on this slide I want to go over the best person practices for seating and acoustics. You will be invited to parties. You will want to have -- be included in family and friends and events and whatnot. And on the slide, you can see there are two pictures. On one side there is a round table and on the other side there is a rectangle table.
What will we will go over is that you want to make sure that you are getting your preferential seating beforehand to the event. For instance if you are hard of hearing or deaf, would you rather be sitting at a round table or rectangle table? I prefer a round table because it would be a little bit easier to lipread for everyone in front of you and easier to be able to have sound management around the table rather than at the rectangle where you have to kind, look over the dish or look around or keep turning your head left and right. By the end of night you are giving yourself a neck work out.
On top of that, with the seating arrangements, I want to talk about how it is important to include someone who uses a wheelchair but not just only include them. But making sure that when they arrive, that there is no chair in front of them and they know that this is their seat and on the other hand, you want to make sure that the table is going to be at the right height for them.
You want -- you don't want to make it awkward that it is a few inches above their waist and in their face. You want to make sure they feel comfortable and included at every party with go to. Let's go to the next slide.
On this slide, I will talking about the best virtual practices for communication access. What that means that every since COVID has happened, a lot of things have changed. Meetings and whatnot. We no longer meet in person and we have to actually change how we approach meetings. Like, for instance, Zoom is a platform that we can use.
Now, with Zoom, there are many ways we can use it to help for those who are hard of hearing or deaf. Zoom does provide closed captioning which is great and it allows you to stay along with the conversation and follow along with the meeting and you don't feel left out. On top of that, about Zoom, which is a great thing is that after the meeting is over, you can actually go back to the meeting and download the transcription and read it over again just in case you missed anything. That is a great thing about Zoom.
If you never used Zoom before I can describe the picture for you. Right now what you are seeing is a platform of team members all on one meeting. And down on the search bar on the bottom there are a bunch of options you can use. In the middle is a closed captioning button you can use and you click on it. When you click on it, it will provide the live captioning for you and to be able follow along with the conversation.
Another platform that you can use is also Google Meet. Google Meet is a great platform to use for closed captioning. It is a little bit different than what Zoom is. Google Meet allows to you have space for your closed captioning below the videos and below all the people's screens so you can follow along with the conversation. However, it does not allow you to download a transcription after a meeting but another great platform that you can use and for your meetings and to stay on top of things and tasks and not be left out. So I am going pass this along to Anthony who is my next colleague and you guys have a great day.
Anthony Vasquez: All righty. Welcome everyone. I am Anthony Vasquez. And I am a Communication Specialist with Knowbility. I am sitting here in a small room, corner of the room and I am in a black office chair, wearing like dark bluish shirt, short sleeve. I get to do that here in southern California.
Any who. As Adam was saying, I will be talking just a few -- sharing a few tips here on gifts that you may want -- considerations for gifts for your friends or family or colleagues who are blind or visually impaired, low vision.
First I will talk about some physical gifts and we talked about invitations, E invitations. Here I want to focus on physical invitations. So on this first slide here, we have a written invitation for an in-person party and it reads "Eat, drink and be merry. Join us for dinner and drinks Saturday, 12-23-21 at seven o'clock PM, The 21 Club. Twenty-one W 52nd street New York, New York." It has the RSVP to Alexis Smith and has an email address. By 12-17-21.
So on the right of my slide here we have a photo of a page from a Braille book. Just kind of decorative to show you what Braille looks like. And as a blind person I do enjoy getting Braille cards. It is something that I really appreciate when people do take time to do that. I have been reading Braille since I was four, so for me it is neat to have it.
But I do want to emphasize one thing that just because your friend or colleague is blind doesn't mean that they read Braille. Now, that said, I think it is good to just focus on greeting cards, holiday cards that have texture on them, even the texture of a snowman, of a Christmas tree or whatever, it doesn't have to be holiday related. It has texture. That shows to me extra thought. Thoughtful enough that they give you a card but texture. It is quite nice.
If you are sure if your recipient reads or writes Braille, you might still want to consider which grade of Braille. Basically there are two levels of Braille. There is contracted and uncontracted and the older days they call that grade one and grade two. Chances are if your blind friend or colleague or relative has just started reading Braille, they are probably still reading uncontracted Braille where each letter or character stands for one letter. If they are more advanced, then they would get contracted.
Now, my impression is that any kind of cards that you buy and here we are down to the section "Where to buy your cards." Any cards you buy from major retailers, simple generic reading like Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, they will probably use uncontracted Braille.
So the whole grade thing might be something for a custom card, for example. But major retailers nowadays, do have, I don't know if it is a wide selection but they do have some options for you to pick from and I think it is just a nice touch.
If you're going to make custom cards, I've listed Etsy as a good resource. There seems to be a lot of independent artists and making Braille cards now which is a new development. Recently got a nice customized card from a friend who lives in Ohio and sent me a nice card for birthday because not really traveling these days. But yeah, he spoke to a shop here in California called Tactile Hearts and he customized it in contracted Braille and Chinese Braille actually. I studied Chinese in college. There is a lot of options out there now which is a really nice thing to know is happening. When it comes to physical gifts, physical cards, physical invitations.
On the second part here I want to talk about digital gifts. So on screen you should have an image with the logo for an organization called Apple Vis, the logo text has the letters A and V in all caps and Apple is underneath it. Black text on a white background. This is not just about Apple products but I do want to focus on two or three sources of information that you can use to just do some quick research when you are going to buy an app for example for a friend or an online subscription.
Focusing on mobile, I recommend Apple vis. They are @AppleVis on Twitter. They are a forum, an email list and a podcast on all things Apple. Not just apps but hardware. They have excellent bug reports when iOS comes out. Tons and tons of reviews on apps. Basically, if it is a popular app, someone has reviewed it on Apple Vis. Chances are that it is very high. When you give someone a subscription to a new, you know, an audio book app for example, just do a quick search online. Apple Vis, followed by the app you will find recommendations from people who have actually used these things, the pros and cons. Which makes your gift giving easier.
Not just all about iOS and Apple products. Android is huge and it is growing in accessibility for blind and low vision people. The gap between Android and Apple products is narrowing. That’s a lot that you can do with the modern Android phones. There are screen readers that come built in. And Talk Back which is built into every Android product. And some of the other manufacturers, well I guess the Samsung one is gone now.
In any case, I recommend Blind Android Users and Accessible Android. Blind Android Users is at BlindDroidUsers on Twitter and Accessible Android is AccessibleDroid on Twitter. I have done more research on Blind Android Users. I don't use an android phone but I need to know it because it is my job. They have an excellent podcast, I think they are on episode, gosh they are past their 40s. They are quite prolific at producing these podcasts on apps and hardware. If you make a digital gift or purchase an Android or Apple product, all the forums talk about phones, watches, computers. You want to give someone a Chromebook, I’m sure Blind Android Users will have someone on it.
Again just reinforce the points here, do your research just like you would give a time to research for anyone else, disabled or not. You wouldn't want to give somebody a gift a color that the person doesn't like. It is thoughtfulness would go a long way into making a good impression. A better impression for both physical gifts, for cards, for invitations and for apps. I will now pass it onto Molly. Thank you.
Molly Moore: All right. Thank you, Anthony. So I am going to continue on that theme of some gift guidelines. First I will describe myself. I am Molly. I am a Community Programs Specialist and Community Engagement Specialist at Knowbility. I am a white woman in my 30s. I have blonde hair. I am wearing a red sweater over a white collared shirt and I have the same purple background as, Mariella and Erica thatsays Knowbility in the corner.
Today I will be going over some general and more specific gift giving guidelines if you are anything like me, you tend to procrastinate on finding those gifts for the holidays. But this guide is going to be pretty useful for any occasion, birthdays, celebrations or of course the holidays.
So for our general guidelines, I am going to first echo Mariella here and emphasize that communication is key. Communication will really help you find the right gift for your friend or family member. And on that note, surprises may not make the best gift. Asking what your friend or family member wants may be the key to finding the right gift because they will know what accessibility features are most helpful for them if you are getting a specific tool, they will also know which products and features won't work for them. They may already have a preferred accessible system set up. Say they are an Apple user and you are thinking about getting an Apple -- getting them a watch. Maybe they would like an Apple watch to go with their iPad and their Apple TV.
If you would like to keep the element of surprise, you can also just ask for a wish list. But either way, any way you go, you will want to communicate in some way and make sure that you are matching their preferences and what they would like. So that is the big. That is the biggest one. You will want to keep that one in mind.
A few other things generally to keep in mind include how much upkeep does the gift require to maintain, if any. Is that upkeep going to be manageable or enjoyable? Or accessible for the recipient? You know, if you are getting them a grill, for instance, will they enjoy cleaning out the grill? I know particularly that is a job I actually like to do. So that wouldn't be a negative for me but again, communicate that and make sure that that is a chore they are willing to do.
You also want to see if it requires any extra equipment or products to use it. That is just something to keep in mind. Another good rule of thumb is just because it is accessible for one person doesn't mean it is accessible for another. That also goes for something that might be inaccessible. On that note, because something is accessible, doesn't mean it is a great gift. You will want to check if the accessibility features match the preferences of the recipient.
Big thing here, medical products are not a great gift choice until explicitly asked for. Nobody wants a surprise bathroom scale or a blood pressure tool. These are not exactly fun presents. So unless somebody explicitly asks for that, avoid medical equipment. Kind of brings the mood down.
And not all accessible gift ideas will necessarily be labeled accessible. For instance, you might want to get a Braille Scrabble. That one will be labeled. But you could also get a hat. That is not labeled accessible but it will be likely be accessible for the recipient. Those are guidelines on what to get for your friend or family member.
Now, I will go through a few specific gift genres and what to think about with those. So for gift cards, you know, gift cards are a great gift. But some things to think about when giving one can be recipient use the card for online shopping or do they need to go into a physical store? And if so, are they able to get to the store? And is the shop accessible? And these are things you will want to check up on. If they are able to use the gift card online, is the website accessible? So you will want to check that of course. Not only that, you will want to make sure the payment portal is accessible. That can be a problem. So you will want to check both -- all of those things before you just go forward with a gift card. And of course, circling back to that communication preference note, you know, that this is a gift card to something that they are interested in, that they like and that they will be able to use. And be happy to use.
For DIY gifts, I know those cookie mix in a jar, hot cocoa mix in a jar are really popular. I like to make kind of an herbal simple syrup for friends. But if you are giving a gift in a jar like that, you will want to make sure the instructions are accessible. Could you make the text larger? Print it in Braille? Or record the information? Is it written in plain language? So the instructions, if there are instructions, are easy to follow and clear. And finally, are you packaging your gift in a container that is easy to open? Yes. So those are a few things to consider with gift cards and, you know, DIY, gift in a jar gifts.
Finally, on that genre, offers of services and help around the house, these can be helpful but this is where communication really is important. You don't want to just offer something that somebody doesn't want or need. You know, for instance, if somebody likes doing home repairs around their house, don't just assume that they will need you to come in and do that for them. So that one you really want to communicate to make sure you are not just coming in and doing something that they don't really find useful or helpful.
For music, books and entertainment, a few things to consider. One, if you are getting them tickets to a show or venue, the first thing to check if the tickets are accessible? Is that something they will easily show or access? And then finally does the venue provide ASL interpretation for concerts and performances if applicable? So these are a few things to consider for live performances.
And finally, you might be interested -- yeah, you might be interested in giving them a streaming service subscription. I know right now well the streaming wars, you need like eight or nine streaming services just to watch everything that you would like. So these are, I am sure, going to be a popular gift. But of course first you want to make sure that that particular subscription is accessible, if it provides audio description, if applicable, captioning, if applicable. And transcripts if applicable.
You will also want to make sure the website is accessible. Will they be able to easily tell what they are -- search for and find the show that they want to watch? Is the website app that the participant will use to access the service accessible? And then finally, how is the subscription set up? Will they be able to easily renew or cancel the service if they want to? How do you access the service? What are the passwords and is that process something that is straightforward and easy to use?
And then for books, how does the gift recipient like to access printed materials? Is it Braille? Large print? Audio books? Again, this is just something you will want to make sure you know before assuming. I guess the second part of the communication rule is to never assume. Don't guess. Either you know or you ask.
So we will move onto outdoors and travel and if there is one thing I know about outdoorsy people or people who love to travel, it is that they love gear. And there are a ton of great gear options out there, including talking tools and adaptive products. But with especially talking tools, you will want to make sure you look at reviews, those can be on YouTube or Google or the product website from people who have actually used those products. And again, always ask what they might want or find useful. Maybe even asking how they travel or what kind of things they like to do outside, so you can make sure you are getting the right thing. Something that they will get a lot of use out of.
Similarly, another area where talking tools are common is with cooking and food. So again, I will just underline that you will want to check reviews of people who have actually used these products because there are a lot of talking tool options out there. And just because it existed doesn't mean it is necessarily a great product. So you will want to really check those reviews and make sure the users are really on board with that particular tool.
Kitchen tools, a great thing to consider is how easy is it to lift and to clean and to grip and how much strength you will need for the particular tool. So those are just some things to keep in mind with manual tools, again, if it comes in a package or requires dexterity, is it easy to open? Is it easy to use? If that is applicable to your recipient.
And finally with gifts around food and I could have mentioned this up above with the gift in a jar because you will certainly want to make those ingredients clear. But does the recipient have any specific dietary requirements related to -- yeah, any specific dietary requirements, foods that might be difficult for them to eat, sensory needs around food or any dietary restrictions or, allergies. What works for one person may not work for another.
Okay. So we will move onto tech and gaming. So some good thing -- there are a lot of great options for gaming devices. But some things to consider there are does the device or game come with an add on control such as the switch control that needs to be accessible for the recipient? And does the device work with the recipient's preferred assistive technologies? And finally, on that note, does the gift work with their already established gaming system? So you want to make sure that it is accessible on all fronts.
You will also want to make sure that it is something that they will be able to easily use physically if that is applicable. And a good thing to do is to look into accessible video games that have audio cues or audio descriptions or no audio requirements and flexible difficulty modes. These are important things to look for when picking a game. And of course again, ask for their preferences.
The world of video games is very particular and vast. So that is definitely one where communication is going to be really important. I don't think -- yeah. Just grabbing something at random or something that you find interesting will work in that case. You will really want to know what they are into.
Okay. And the last section we have here is fashion and makeup. So for fashion, makeup and clothes, you will want to check if there are any features of clothing that you should prioritize or avoid, such as stretchy or soft fabrics, how many buttons or zippers they prefer.
Does the participant like/use magnetic fasteners? Or do they have any particular sensory issues to certain types of fabric? Do they have a mobility device that works with adaptive footwear? Those are things you want to know before picking something. And if you are buying a purse, backpack or wallet, you will want to check what types of bags already work well for the participant, what would be easy for them to reach in and open if that is something to consider. And would they prefer a bag that attaches to a wheelchair?
Finally, are there certain colors, prints that are visually easier for the recipient to mix and match? So those are a few things to consider and a variety of genres of gifts as well.
I will just circle back to our main thing, if you take away one thing from my section, let it be that communicating with them to ensure that the gift is something they want and suits their preferences. I will mention as well, we will have a printed version of this guide available so I think we will follow-up with Erica and, Anthony. They are working on a blog post. I will turn it to Mariella.
Mariella: Oh, my goodness. What a great presentation. So you can get all of us up on the page. Thank you. That is with a so awesome. I feel like I am ready to host my accessible party now and make it 100 percent accessible and just like really go out there and make everyone feel included.
Before we go any further, we have a question. This question is from Lindsey and she said, "I am attending someone's party next month and the facility only has stairs." So she is an attendee, not a host. "So I am attend someone's party next month and the facility only has stairs. They have switched the venue three times because of affordability and availability. My grandpa cannot climb stairs that are steep. So I am worried about this. Any tips? Also, this space does not have an elevator." That is such a great question.
Erica, you point some tips earlier. I wonder if maybe you can provide some tips for Lindsey on how they can address this issue. Go for it.
Erica: Thank you, Lindsey with reaching out for your question. Very sorry that you are in this situation where you are stuck doing the leg work on behalf of your grandfather. But this is what I would do, you know, I had a few minutes to think this over after Jay let me know you reached out with this question.
First of all, unfortunately this is not as uncommon of an issue we might think even though we have the ADA laws because certain historic buildings get around this because of the age of the building or historical significance. So this is something -- I am glad you raised this point because it does come up in other situations.
I would be very direct and reach out to the person, the contact person, phone number for RSVP. Thank you so much for your invitation. Unfortunately my grandfather cannot walk up and downstairs and won't be able to attend. Or you don't even able to say he won't be able to attend. Unfortunately, our family won't be able to get up and down the stairs. Is there an alternative way even if you know there is is not an alternative way, feel free to bat it back into their court.
Ideally, the host or hostess will be appropriately horrified and help you troubleshoot. I don't know what this venue is. There might be a different space -- they could move it from the second floor to the first floor. They might say we will move it again because we are getting calls left and right about the stairs. But if they are unwilling to budge, I hope they are not willing to not budge. A: They've made it their problem. B. You are doing the right thing by helping out your grandfather. So no. You shouldn't have any qualms on your part.
If anyone insinuates to you at that time any point where you are causing a problem, please know from all of us that you are not. And if there are people in the family that you can enlist to support you, in case you get push back and reach out for those people. We are hello@Knowbility.org if needed.
Also if they come back to you with a solution that is unsafe or inappropriate for your grandfather, you are under no obligation to accept that as a solution. You know, you don't want him to do anything dangerous, coming out of an already unsafe situation for him.
So I would suggest that you immediately reach out, you know, just state it very plainly. My grandfather cannot get up the stairs. What are you going to do about it? Don't say it quite like that. But you know, that is really the approach. Best of luck to you and thank you for asking. We hope that they do work with you, make their party accessible to everyone and that you all have a lovely time.
Jay McKay: Hi, everybody. This is Jay McKay. So I think Erica's suggestion was great and I am just going to throw out something that you may want to Google if you want to give your party planner a hint, depending on the stair situation, I don't know what the degrees and things like that are. But I concur with Erica, state it plainly. “We will have difficulty navigating the stairs.” That gives your planner the option to see about those alternative entrances. There are things like those temporary wheelchair ramps that are very safe to use. Again, it depends on your degrees and angles and things like that. Something if they need a hint, you know, that is a hint you can give them.
Mariella: Thank you, Erica, thank you, Jay. Molly, Adam, Anthony, is there anything else you want to add? No.
We also have another question on the Google form. "What if a universally accessible gift?" Molly, this would be for you. Do you have any suggestions on what a universally acceptable gift would be, if there is such a thing?
Molly: Erica writes in the chat “cash,” which I mean I think that is a good option. That is universally acceptable or universally needed in our society. I think that cash and -- yeah, a check, if that is what they prefer. But yeah, that might be the only really truly universally accessible and needed gift or appreciated gift. Other than that, you are going to have to know something about your friend or family member in order to pick out a present for them.
Mariella: Thank you, Molly. Anthony, I saw that you went off mute. Do you want to add to that?
Anthony: Sure. The one thing I would say as a caveat for cash is in some countries, including the United States, it is not accessible to blind people. In the sense that every unless you give lots of coins which are differentiated by size and texture. Every paper, I think of it as common sense, but it may not be. Every bill feels exactly the same. You could give me a one dollar bill. Call it a 100-dollar bill and I would have no way to tell it until, now, there are apps but by physically touching it, there is no way.
And alternative would be a gift card, some gift cards have really cool textures again. I know the Starbucks one for a while, they probably still have it. Has the word Starbucks in Braille, which is kind of cool. Yeah, it is still cash, I suppose but in the form, more accessible than simply paper currency which is great. As long as you know what you are dealing with.
Erica: Excellent point. Write a note saying how much it is and have that be how much it is. Or Venmo.
Anthony: Digital cash.
Molly: Digital cash. Bitcoin.
Mariella: I will ask Jay to move us all off the stage and just go ahead and pin me. So we are almost at time. I want to thank all of you who joined us today. Those of you that are going to be watching this video into the future, we are going to be sharing this on our YouTube to keep you coming back for more. And so keep you coming back for more, we are going to ask you to stay connected to keep in the community, stay connected with us, the way you can do that is by signing up for our newsletter, by going to bit.ly/KnowbilityNews. I encourage all of to you follow us on social media at Knowbility. And then finally, if you want to email us, go ahead and email us at hello@Knowbility.org. We also encourage all of you to follow us on Humanitix and thank you so much for joining us today.
Don't forget to check with your employers about matching donations for the holidays. You can go ahead and make a donation by going to Knowbility.org/donate. And with that slide, this is the last accessibility office hour of the year from Knowbility and we are so looking forward to another amazing year. We are looking forward to helping you make the web accessible and we are looking forward to working with you to create a more accessible and inclusive world online and offline for all of us.
I will see you next year. Have an amazing holiday. And until next time. Bye-bye, everybody.