Category: blog

Sign Language Compendium

Caramel Whistle have just published the results of a thorough trawl of the web, seeking out the best Sign Language resources for students of BSL.  This round-up includes Mobile Signs and some of the resources and technical vocab sites I’ve listed here previously, but more importantly he introduces some great new finds.

For me, there are two clear highlights. The first is Spread the Sign, a European website that hosts a text-to-sign search.  This allows you to translate a word or phrase from a range of european spoken languages into a sign language equivalent.  You can search for a term and then view the results in BSL, or see it signed in any of 10 languages, including Swedish, Turkish, Russian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Czech.  Importantly,  video is smooth and sharp.  This is a great site that rewards exploration.

The second highlight is Qia Resources for ICT.  This site offers common and specialist vocabulary on Information and Communications Technology. As with Art Signs, this is useful for anyone working in media, education, computer science or a related discipline.

See the full article here: Learning-a-Language.

Blogging Against Disablism

This Friday (1st May 2009) will be Blogging Against Disablism Day. This is a day where all around the world, disabled and non-disabled people will blog about their experiences, observations and thoughts about disability discrimination. This is a great event hosted by Diary of A Goldfish. If you’d like to participate, visit the Blogging Against Disablism Day pages at Diary of a Goldfish and register your interest. Everyone is welcome. Then write a post on the subject of disability discrimination, disablism or ableism and and publish it on May 1st – or as close as you are able. In previous years bloggers have posted on all sorts of subjects, Goldfish has more details if you have questions. Multimmedia is also welcome. Be sure to go back to DoaG and tell her the URL of your published post so spectators and participants can share your thoughts.

Second Life and Accessibility

At the recent NCeSS conference I was put in touch with Gareth White, from Sussex University.  Gareth is a post graduate who has been looking into the accessibility of Second Life for people with visual impairments.  Second Life is a hot accessibility topic, with some high profile instances of disability culture in evidence – most notably Wheelies Nightclub (the first virtual disability nightclub in the world!), but features some clear barriers to participation for blind and partially sighted people, amongst others.

Gareth’s blog (at gathers together some interesting opinions and materials in this area, including work on the use of haptics for adding tactile sensations to virtual worlds and an extensive list of relevant links.  Importantly, his work has been accepted for the forthcoming ACM International Conference on Digital Interactive Media in Entertainment &
Arts, hopefully making the detail of his research more publically available.  I’ll be sure to signpost the resulting paper.

Social Tagging

My good friend The Wired Jester has posted an article considering a couple of interesting examples of social tagging on Flickr and Last.FM (MySpace 2.0?).  Tagging has never been my strong suit, but if you’re looking for creative responses to the Social Web, this is a great short piece.  Click on this link to read Web 2.0 Vandalism.

32 Amongst Many

As the Association of Learning Technology (ALT) Conference approaches, blogging delegates have been approached for their RSS feeds.  The ALT will then be aggregating these into the ‘mother of all feeds’.  They will publish the URL of the aggregated feed on  ALT-C 2007 web site at .  To ensure you receive a holistic perspective on the event, I’ll add the feed-squared on the right-hand column of your screen for the duration of September, below the BBC Technology news.  Watch that space!

Accessible Blogs

Author’s note: this post was written in 2007.  At time of revision (Aug 2009) far more information is available regarding the accessibility of many blogging services.  For example Wordpress supply a detailed codex relating to accessibility for Bloggers. There are also now excellent services such as Web2Access that provide centralised resources giving advice about accessibility and tools such as blogs.

I was invited to talk to a Young Pioneers group in North Nottinghamshire at the Holocaust Centre, early last month. The group are seeking to create the first British memorial to disabled people killed during the holocaust and are considering accessible ways to get responses and discussion from other disabled people and groups across the UK and internationally.

Finding out about accessibility from blog providers themselves can be difficult, and there doesn’t appear to be a centralised accessibility resource directly concerned with blogs. Many people with disabilities’ own blogs appear to be hosted everywhere and anywhere. Evidently, general accessibility guidelines such as the Web Accessibility Initiative apply to content, but blog servers can be opaque on the subject of the steps they have taken to ensure an accessible interface for users, and accessible results for visitors. So which service should you use? Typepad?!

On what I could find, Google’s ‘Blogger’ is cited as the most friendly blog format. Their blog templates are all CSS based, standards compliant, and usability tested. But this is old information (see stopdesign, 2004). So who currently holds the blogging accessibility crown? In a very-straw poll, stemming from the favourites listed by Ouch, the BBC’s Disability Lifestyle e-Zine, I found that Blogspot is, perhaps, most popular with people with disabilities.  I’ll post more ‘facts’ as I find them.  Please contribute if you have any thoughts…