"I'll be right back. While you are waiting, look at the traffic."

If you've ever had a meeting with Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation, you may have heard her say that. What she's referring to are the nearly 60,000 cars traveling through the intersection outside of our windows. Each person, riding in a car, with their own ideas, beliefs, routines…each person unique, with their own story to tell.

Depending on what one says next, Debra may revisit her earlier comment with a, "well, we need to remember that traffic is really about people.”

TPF's culture of sensitivity isn't just a metaphor for people on the road. The organization is also sensitive to the different drivers who visit its websites, including those with vision and hearing impairments. Likened to the way Sarasota County is making its roads safer for pedestrians with various improvements, including better water drainage, traffic separators, and enhanced sidewalks for walkers and bikers, TPF has recently finished making its website ADA compliant, which provides improvements for people with different abilities to access the information.

Not a one-way street
After Notion Design Group, TPF's web developers installed AccessiBe to its websites,

TPF reached out to local nonprofits involved with Margin Mission Ignition's earned-income venture, including Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center and Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson's.

Lisa Howard, CEO of Lighthouse, shared how fascinating it is to watch someone use this software, and invited us to come anytime to see.

Strengthening for Impact
With the invitation extended, TPF accepted the opportunity to connect further and learn.

Randy Reed, a certified assistive technology instructional specialist (CATIS), shared this feedback:

    • 😕  While using JAWS—Job Access with Speech—on Chrome, the accessibility prompt came up right away. On Firefox, the prompt came up a bit later (would be better if it could come up right away).

    • 😕  Using NVDA—Non-visual Desktop Access— AccessiBe didn't prompt accessibility access on Chrome or Firefox. On Edge, it's not working at all, just got a noise, but it didn't say it came on.

    • 😕  When programmers add in links to the website, it matters that the link is included in the text to make it easier for people with vision impairments to read. For example, click to visit Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center website rather than, click here to visit Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center website: https://lighthouseofmanasota.org/.

    • 😕  Information in the Alt tags needs to be detailed.

It was ironic to visit Lighthouse and leave with my eyes wide open, having learned so much.

One of my favorite moments was when Randy shared his normal reading speed:

 

Next, Lisa and I visited Sam Loera. He LOVED the different options provided by the new software and was eager to explore it further.

Sam playing with the AccessiBe software at Lighthouse


Lisa then showed me a room full of equipment that exists to help the nonprofit create revenue for its services.

earned income inventory at Lighthouse Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center


When I arrived back at TPF, I immediately shared the feedback with Notion Design Group. The following day, they sent this letter from AccessBe:

Thanks for contacting support.
We have checked your reports with both NVDA and JAWS and:

    • 😊  There was a slight timeout in the FireFox prompt as you have reported, that was a small bug and It's now fixed.

    • 😊  It seems as prompts (alerts) of all types are not working in Edge at all, not just with AccessiBe but in general. Probably a bug that was introduced in one of their latest versions. We are tracking this. In the meantime, we have implemented a workaround that will announce AccessiBe's adjustments in a different way and just for Edge.

    • 😊  We could not replicate the issue you reported with NVDA not announcing the prompt in Chrome and FireFox, it worked right away in our tests.

And just like driving on the newly installed roundabouts in Sarasota, it was terrific to circle back to share the good news with Lighthouse.


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