The joys of dealing with Government civil servants: they knew that I use a screen reader but still wanted to send me documents in large print! I’d be more empathetic to their ignorance if they weren’t under a legal responsibility to make their services accessible. If they don’t understand the basics as part of their professional skills base, what hope is there?
But, in case you too are befuddled by some of the adaptive technology speak, here’s a little crib:
Braille: used by some visually impaired people; often those who have had limited sight since an early age; learning Braille after about age 50 is difficult due to reduced fingertip sensitivity; many Braille users may also use other forms of IT accessibility; they may “print” Braille on special printers and may have electronic Braille readers.
Large print: some may require documents in different sizes (I used to use 36-point font in Bold; many will use other IT accessibility methods; many will adjust the size of an electronic document to print the appropriate size if they need a hard copy.
Screen magnification: various features enable the text, cursors and other features displayed on the screen to be enlarged; often this means that individuals cannot see the whole screen at one time (avoid material that is on the right); they may also print in large text.
Screen readers: people like me can only access documents independently that are provided electronically and formats other than Word may be inaccessible with their particular screen reader software; pdf documents are often inaccessible; tables ditto; images and logos are inaccessible; punctuation needs to be immaculate especially at the end of headings and in lists or all the words are read as a long sentence; documents don’t need to be in any different size font; Excel spreadsheets are highly risky; form completion can be impossible.
Hope that this little taster is useful –it doesn’t attempt to cover speech recognition and more. Accessibility of electronic information varies between different software as some is free with such as Microsoft and Apple whereas other costly software is specifically created for disabled people.
Now for something much more fun and positive: immeasurably precious after months of nurturing, the last tomatoes are ripening and I wanted to make the best of those that had split or gone a little soft. A pasta sauce was the answer:
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped.
4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped.
2 sticks celery, peeled and finely chopped.
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped.
10 pieces dried tomato, finely chopped.
tablespoon each of thyme, rosemary and tarragon leaves, chopped.
teaspoon ground black pepper.
3 tablespoons olive oil.
750-1000g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped.
large pinch of salt.
tablespoon basil leaves, torn.
Sauté the onion, carrots, celery and herbs in the oil over a gentle heat for about an hour.
Add the tomatoes and salt and continue to gently cook,
Add the basil and any other fresh herbs to hand and continue to cook for about 30 minutes.
Serve with cooked pasta, topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese, chopped black olives or the garnish of your choice.
The key to this sauce is the slow cooking. I used a heat diffuser over the lowest gas flame possible and let it splutter away for at least two hours. With the lid on, the vegetables reduced to about a quarter of their size before the tomatoes were added. It took no effort after the initial chopping other than to stir occasionally and check nothing was sticking.
Delicious, robust and full of fresh goodness that celebrates tomatoes.
The next on-line cooking demo is at 1030 on 11 October. Please do join in. The links are: