ATFAQ116 – Q1- favorite tech or info from ATIA, Q2 – AT or not AT that is the question, Q3 – accessible payment methods, Q4 – tools for checking webpage accessibility , Q5 smartphone app for reading colors, Q6 large display calculators for visually impaired, Q7 Wildcard: What type of tech are you most looking forward to in 2020?

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Panel – Brian Norton, Tracy Castillo, Belva Smith – Q1- favorite tech or info from ATIA, Q2 – AT or not AT that is the question, Q3 – accessible payment methods, Q4 – tools for checking webpage accessibility , Q5 smartphone app for reading colors, Q6 large display calculators for visually impaired, Q7 Wildcard: What type of tech are you most looking forward to in 2020?

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Intro:
“I have a question.”

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“Huh?”

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“Like, what?”

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“I’ve always wondered…”

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“What about…”

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“Do you know…”

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“I have a question.”

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“I’ve always wondered.”

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“Like, I have a question.”

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“I have a question.”

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“Oh, I have a question.”

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“I have a question.”

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“I have a question.”

Announcer:
Welcome to ATFAQ, Assisted Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host, Brian Norton, Director of Assistive Technology at Easterseals Crossroads. This is a show where we address your questions about assistive technology, the hardware, software, tools and gadgets that help people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Have a question you’d like answered on our show, send us a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ, call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or send us an email at Tech@EastersealsCrossroads.org. The world of assistive technology has questions and we have answers. Now let’s jump into today’s show.

Brian Norton:
Hello, and welcome to ATFAQ Episode 116. My name is Brian Norton, and I’m the host of the show, and we’re so happy that you’ve taken some time to tune in with us this week. We have a great lineup of assistive technology questions for you today. Before we jump in, I just want to take a moment to go around the room and introduce the folks who are here with us. The first person I have is Tracy Castillo. Tracy is the INDATA manager here at Easterseals Crossroads. Tracy, you want to say hey to everybody?

Tracy Castillo:
Hey, everyone. Yeah. I manage the depo and some other items over there.

Brian Norton:
Yep, so our reuse and our demo and loan programs as far as the INDATA project is concerned. I also want to introduce Belva Smith. Belva is the vision team lead for our clinical assistive technology team. Belva, do you want to say?

Belva Smith:
Hey, everybody. Hey, Tracy, what’s the acronym INDATA stand for?

Tracy Castillo:
Oh, that would be the Indiana Assistive Technology Act.

Brian Norton:
Perfect. Yeah. Yeah. The other person that’s typically in the room with us is not here. Many of you might know, in our last show we mentioned that we would be headed to ATIA between episodes, and we just got back from there, and we lost Josh in all the crowds and stuff like that.

Belva Smith:
We didn’t lose him. He took off.

Tracy Castillo:
He really did. He nearly left his luggage.

Brian Norton:
That’s right, yeah. So, Josh is still down in Florida but not doing anything with work. He is taking some time to himself, and so hopefully he’s enjoying that, but he is not here with us today. It’s just the three of us in the room. Again, I mentioned who I was. My name is Brian Norton. I’m the Director of the INDATA project and so glad that you guys have taken some time to tune in with us this week.

Brian Norton:
I want to just mention for new listeners what our show is all about. So, basically we receive feedback and come across various assistive technology related questions throughout the week. Then we try to sit around as a group and try to answer those as best we can, so it’s definitely a question and answer format. As far as how you guys can participate, and we love when you guys do participate, when you guys send us your questions and send us your feedback for the questions we try to answer to fill in those gaps that we might leave, we have a variety of ways for you to do that. The first would be our listener line. That listener line is 317-721-7124, or you can email us at Tech@EastersealsCrossroads.org, or you can send us a tweet with the hashtag, #ATFAQ. Those are all great ways to get in touch with us with your questions or feedback.

Brian Norton:
Without further adieu, we’re going to jump in. We did get some feedback today, and so this is from Julie, so let’s go ahead and take a listen.

Julie:
Hi, this is Julie called for ATFAQ. On the latest episode you were talking about time management apps. This is a cross platform tip. If someone would type in Pomodoro, P-O-M-O-D-O-R-O, into their app store or play store, they will find a ton of Pomodoro style apps that will help with time management. What Pomodoro does is it does 25 minutes of work, five minutes of work… of break, 25 minutes of work, five minutes of break, 25 minutes of work, 15 minutes of break. It’s a great task manager. It keeps you working. It gives you little breaks in between. It helps you organize your tasks, and it outsmarts procrastination. I hope that helps. There are a ton of apps like that.

Julie:
The one I’m currently look is PomoDone, but I’m not sure that’s the one I’m going to end up with. I’ve tried PomoFlow, but the problem with PomoFlow was that it dimmed the volume, tried Pomodoro time management, but that one didn’t work so well. But there’s a lot of them out there, and they’re all pretty much free, so just pick a couple and try them out. Thanks. Have a great day. Bye.

Brian Norton:
Awesome, Julie. Thanks for that. Pomodoro’s one of those techniques that I learned a while ago from Wade, who used to really host the show, host really pretty much started all of our podcasting. He was big into Pomodoro and sharing that with folks. It is. It’s kind of workflow way about going about your daily tasks and basically setting timers, either a 15-minute or a 30-minute timer, and then basically taking breaks at those particular points. When you do take a break, you seemingly can jump in faster and have new thoughts and get ready to go for the next 15 or 30 minutes, and so it’s a really great way to do. You’re right, there are a lot of different task and time management types of apps out there, and Pomodoro is a good one, so thanks again for that feedback, really appreciate that.

Brian Norton:
For folks who are listening, if you guys maybe have come across the time management app as well or, again, just a way to be able to provide feedback, you can do that through our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124, or you can email us at Tech@EastersealsCrossroads.org, or send us a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ, love to hear from you. Thanks again, Julie.

Belva Smith:
I’m sorry, Brian. The two best parts about the recommendation that she has there is that it is cross platform and free, so-

Brian Norton:
Yeah.

Belva Smith:
Easy enough to try it-

Brian Norton:
Absolutely.

Belva Smith:
… and figure out if it’s going to be what you need or not.

Brian Norton:
I’m all about free.

Belva Smith:
Yep.

Brian Norton:
A lot of times even the pay-for apps have a free version that you can download, most of the time just to try it out. You may not get all the functionality that the paid for version would be, but many times you can get a free trial for a couple of weeks or a period of time to be able to play with it to see if it really does meet your needs and do what you thought it would do.

Belva Smith:
And if it’s fully accessible.

Tracy Castillo:
Right. You know what I liked best about it? I know you said it was free and it’s cross-platform, but how she said it, “And outsmarts procrastination.”

Belva Smith:
Yeah, yeah.

Tracy Castillo:
It’s a really great task to start if you have something in front of you that you don’t want to do.

Belva Smith:
Yep.

Brian Norton:
Right, exactly, exactly.

Brian Norton:
All right. So, without further adieu, we’re going to jump into the questions that we have for today, and so we’re going to jump in and really just start with kind of just an overall discussion on what we found interesting at ATIA. As I mentioned before, we just got back from ATIA, Assistive Technology Industry Association conference that meets in Orlando every January. If you’re looking for a good assistive technology conference to go to, definitely would recommend it.

Brian Norton:
It’s pretty much put on by the vendors, so it’s the industry association, and so these are a lot of the vendors that come and meet there. The vendor hall is really great to get to know the vendors, the people who manufacture the different types of technologies, and then to be able to get your hands on it, touch it, feel it and to be able to ask them the questions that you have. That’s where I think we all spend a lot of time is just really with the vendors, but they also have a lot of great educational sessions. Again, just for opening it up to everybody, just want to find out what you found interesting at ATIA this year.

Belva Smith:
Well, I think the ATIA is also, you mentioned the vendors give us a lot of information, but I also think that it’s beneficial to them because they collect information from us.

Brian Norton:
Sure, yeah.

Belva Smith:
We go to them with our “How comes” and “Whys” and “Whens,” and that gives them something to take back to the table to try to address or figure out. Every year it seems like when I got to ATIA I have a specific situation that I’m hoping to be able to find the right tool for, because maybe what I’ve got access to here just isn’t want I’m looking for. It just so happens that this year I was able to find a piece of equipment that I believe is going to be the appropriate equipment for an individual that I’m currently working with. Now I’ve just got to try to find a vendor who might have one so we can actually try it before I recommend buying it, because it is four grand. I definitely want to be able to try it before we buy it, but that was the Prodigy Pro 12.

Belva Smith:
The areas that I was trying to accommodate for this individual was a magnifying or a CCTV that could connect to an HGMI port on his TV that he’s using as his monitor so that he could basically save workspace, because he’s using the TV as his computer monitor, and then he also wanted to be able to use it for his CCTV. Well, he also was looking for an iPad that he would be able to take with him to meetings and just out of his office workspace. Well, it just turns out that this Prodigy Pro 12 is actually using the iPad Pro 12-inch as its main brain, so we’re going to be able to kill two birds with one stone. Being told that using a special cable, we will be able to go from the lightening port on the iPad to the HGMI port on his TV, so then he’ll just use the TV remote to go from HGMI input one and input two. One will be the computer. Two will be the CCTV for him.

Belva Smith:
I’m excited that I found that, and it was something that I found sitting in a session, because as you mentioned, Brian, there are lots and lots and lots of sessions.

Brian Norton:
Right, lots of them.

Belva Smith:
You earn CEUs for attending certain sessions, so that’s pretty much what I do with very little time to actually get through the vendor hall, because I’m typically in session somewhere trying to get CEUs for my [CATA 00:11:07] certification. But it was just full of a lot of good information. A lot of things are in the pike being worked on, waiting to see how they flourish if they ever do, but I guess that’s the way CES is too. They take all kinds of things that they think they’re going to do, and sometimes they come to fruition, sometimes they don’t.

Brian Norton:
Right, absolutely. Tracy, how about you?

Tracy Castillo:
Oh, wow. This is my third year going. My first year I was so overwhelmed, and there’s was so much to take in. The second year I spent a lot of time in the vendor hall, and this year I really stayed out in the sessions and got a lot of great information. My favorite ones, I did a smart home presentation. One, I had another one over at cool robots toys. I had to go to that one. Then I hit a lot of sessions over 3D printing. I’m really into the 3D printing.

Belva Smith:
Well, that’s because you got a new toy, right?

Tracy Castillo:
I did, and I didn’t tell anybody that my toy is better than yours.

Brian Norton:
It is a nice toy.

Tracy Castillo:
Yes. Thank you very much. Anyhow, I went to the smart home technology program, and it was over at [inaudible 00:12:25] in Alaska, I believe, is where the lady is from, and they had a couple of grants, and they’re helping kids and individuals with disabilities live more independently through all these different types of smart homes accessories. I learned about a whole lot that I had no idea that even existed, so that was really neat, and seeing how you could take just an everyday item and turn it into something that is smart home accessive for somebody, as well as we had this 3D printer, and I found a website where I can create different key guards, so these different AAC applications. As they update, those key guards are no good, and if you’re buying the key guard for it, it could be like $100, where I could print it out for just a couple of dollars.

Belva Smith:
Oh, really?

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah.

Belva Smith:
Oh. Because I understand you have to be careful with that 3D printing. It can be kind of costly depending upon the material that you have to use, correct?

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah, but everything I’m going to be using is PLA, so-

Brian Norton:
Which is really, it’s pennies on the dollar to be able to create something with that.

Tracy Castillo:
Yes, cents.

Brian Norton:
Cents, yep. One of the things that again I mentioned before but I love to do is just go to the vendor hall and see what kind of new gadgets are out there. I saw a few things. First is Skyle for iPad. Skyle is a new eye gaze system. It’s a little expensive and a little pricey, but it’s the first real eye gaze system specifically for the iPad. When you think about the world of augmentative communication and some other, just being able to control a device without the need to be able to use either a touchscreen or a keyboard or some other input device, especially with the size of an iPad, which is very easy to mount and position in front of somebody, it makes a lot of sense that they would come out with something like this as far as an eye tracker for the iPad Pro. The price is about $3,000, so it’s pretty expensive, but I’m sure that will come down over time.

Brian Norton:
But it was exciting to be able to see something kind of new with IOS 13 that came out, they’ve introduced really voice control, which provides voice control over the whole iPad. Then they also gave you mouse control through assistive touch. You can basically connect a Bluetooth device, and with that, you’re able to connect and be able to operate and click on icons and navigate the iPad with a input device as well. Now with Skyle, which is kind of cool, it’s just a case that goes around your iPad, now you’ve got eye gaze system so you can just simply look at something and activate it or open and navigate basically the iPad using just your eyes, so I thought that was pretty cool.

Brian Norton:
The other thing that I’ve been spending a lot of time on is just the adaptive gaming world. That’s becoming really something that is kind of eye-opening for a lot of folks, giving the opportunity for folks with disabilities to be able to really get into adaptive gaming, no matter what your gaming platform is. One of the cool things that I just love to see, first off, is Logitech came out with basically an adaptive gaming kit, which includes a lot of different types of switches. It’s a hundred bucks, and I don’t know, for folks who aren’t familiar with how much a typical switch costs, but you could spend 30, 40 bucks, even more, on just one switch in a lot of cases. But for this adaptive gaming thing, Logitech put in several switches into one little kit that costs you less than a hundred bucks, so it’s pretty cool. It gives people with disabilities just the opportunity to be able to get in there and play things on the PlayStation 4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and those kinds of things. It’s been pretty cool to be able to see.

Brian Norton:
I’m very excited about those types of things as well as the accessible IOT world of making your home and your environment basically be able to be controlled by voice. That’s a big thing as well. We’re starting to see a lot of movement and interest and opportunities for folks with disabilities in that world. Just excited to be able to see all of those things.

Brian Norton:
Again, I love the conference because of the blend of the educational sessions and the vendor hall, it’s just really a great opportunity to be able to learn and be around your peers and to be able to collaborate together and learn from each other. Great opportunity.

Belva Smith:
It really does open the door to give us the opportunity to learn about things that… Even though we have great resources here in Indianapolis, Indiana, but there’s still so many things that we don’t know about. There’s people from all over the place that come here.

Tracy Castillo:
Right.

Belva Smith:
So, it does open the door for us to broaden our knowledge.

Tracy Castillo:
All that collaboration going on out there is so wonderful.

Belva Smith:
Yep.

Brian Norton:
That’s cool. Well, maybe there are listeners who attended ATIA alongside of us. We’d love to hear from you about what you found interesting at the conference. Or maybe for folks who are interested in learning more, maybe if there’s some topic that you would like to learn more about, send us your questions. We’d love to be able to get that information from you. You can do that in a variety of ways. You can give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124, or send us an email at Tech@EastersealsCrossroads.org, so thanks.

Brian Norton:
All right, so our next question is, it’s really kind of just a general question. The question was, “There are various apps you can get on the iPhone or iPad that help children work on improving their fine motor skills. Are these considered assistive technology? I ask because these apps are just used for practicing skills, and they are not really used for specific daily functioning. This is why I’m a little confused and would like to find out what the general consensus is.”

Brian Norton:
Belva, we were just chatting a second ago and talking about the definition. Do you want to tell folks the definition of AT?

Belva Smith:
Yeah. I think the definition of assistive technology is anything that will help an individual to perform a task that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to do without it.

Brian Norton:
Right.

Belva Smith:
Without whatever it might be, whether… What we might all consider just a typical something could become somebody else’s assistive technology.

Brian Norton:
Right.

Belva Smith:
I don’t think it has to be necessarily for daily functioning to be considered assistive technology, right?

Brian Norton:
Right. I think people get tripped up on the part of the definition that says it helps someone do something that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.

Belva Smith:
Yeah.

Brian Norton:
I think a lot of us think of a typical task. I can’t do the laundry. I can’t wash my dishes. I can’t get through my door. I can’t use the computer and those kinds of things, that’s I think where we typically get hung up with, it’s a particular task that you need a piece of technology to step alongside to be able to help you do it.

Brian Norton:
I think for me, I look at the definition, and it’s a very broad… It’s a hundred miles wide and a hundred miles deep when you start thinking about assistive technology and the solutions that could be offered to someone to help them do something. They come in all different shapes and sizes, low-tech, high-tech, mid-tech. It [inaudible 00:20:02] a lot different, right?

Belva Smith:
Yeah, and it doesn’t even necessarily have to be technology. I go back to the very, the low-tech very basic type stuff, where an individual who is blind may use a rubber band or two rubber bands to mark a prescription bottle so that they know exactly what medication they’re taking.

Brian Norton:
Right. My quick answer to this is I do think you’re still helping the individual do something. You’re giving them the opportunity for movement that they maybe have had difficulty with and over a sustained period of time. I mean, some folks may consider these apps that you’re using therapy apps and not necessarily assistive technology, but again, if you look at the broader definition of what assistive technology is, it’s either a device or a process that helps someone do something, again, they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. In that regard, you’re developing a skill that’s going to help them do tasks even though it’s not a specific task at this point. Really, for me, I think it could be argued either way.

Tracy Castillo:
Right. I see that too. I like how the fact that she’s using an app, you get the assistive technology using the app, and say the technology is the app itself.

Brian Norton:
Right.

Tracy Castillo:
But I kind of want to develop those fine motor skills a little differently. I would say picking up pennies or buttons would help develop those fine motor skills, and you could use something such as a rest with wheels on it like an arm skate or another type of object like a prop, something to hold the arm up that could be considered the assistive technology to help develop the skill of picking up the button.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, there’s a lot either manual or technology related. I was watching some video the other day, ironically enough, in this arena where it’s a therapy app where you actually have a real ball. It’s like one of these smart kind of balls, and you can move it around in front of you to be able to squash something up on the screen, and so you’re learning that movement by moving the ball around in front of you. So, you have something physical like picking up pennies but it’s showing up on a bigger screen, and you’re doing something with that ball. You’re squashing-

Belva Smith:
You’re also working on your hand-eye coordination.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, there’s a whole lot there.

Belva Smith:
Yep.

Brian Norton:
I would love to open this up to our listeners to get their opinion on this, because I think it’s… In my mind, it’s still assistive technology because it’s helping you develop a skill, but I understand where it can kind of create a little confusion, because you’re not really trying to work on a specific task that the individual is doing. I’d love to hear what other people have to say about that. In order to do that, you can give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124. Send us a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ, or send us an email at Tech@EastersealsCrossroads.org. Love to hear from you about this particular question. Thanks.

Brian Norton:
Right, so our next question is kind of a question we’ve had before, but I definitely want to get the answer out on this one. The question is, “I’m curious to know if point of sale credit debit card readers have assistive tech features. I’m visually impaired and I’m basically at the mercy of the store clerk to help complete the transaction. I know some ATMs now have a plug-in for earphones, but I’m completely unaware of any audio features for these machines. Many merchants don’t even accept cash these days, so I’m looking for some workarounds to use machines without a random person’s help. Oh, entering your PIN is always a fun process too. Thanks in advance. Keep up the great work you are all doing.”

Belva Smith:
It sounds like this individual has already got a system set up that they’re trying to access, so I don’t know what the exact answer would be for that, because it depends on what equipment they’re using. But what I do know, and I’m very familiar with, is that the Square system is fully accessible with voice-over. The Square system requires that the individual have a i-device. It could be an iPhone, it could be an iPad, and there’s the credit card reader that connects to that, so the individual purchasing can just swipe their credit card. Everything then comes across either on the phone or the iPad and can be read with voice-over. There’s also receipt printers that can be added to that system, cash register drawers. It can be a complete system.

Belva Smith:
Then, Brian, you and I have worked with an individual who’s working in a cafeteria setting where they’re using, it’s a computer system.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, it’s a point of sale system called MealTime, and it’s using a computer system that has a touchscreen. Basically, we’ve basically scripted the machine so that she as a JAWS user can access that point of sale system, and so it seems to work pretty well for her.

Belva Smith:
There are talking cash registers. I would say that the talking cash registers are kind of rare these days, primarily because the cost of those things was extremely expensive and the cost to use one of the Square systems is so little compared to that, and the training that went into the talking cash registers is also pretty phenomenal. I would be happy to try and give a more detailed answer, because it did sound to me like they’re already working with a system that’s set up, and they’re just wondering if there’s something that they can incorporate. Chances are to incorporate something probably won’t happen.

Tracy Castillo:
I kind of understood the question a little differently, especially when she said, oh, putting your PIN number in was difficult.

Brian Norton:
Yeah.

Tracy Castillo:
So, I understood this as the user going to the merchant with their payment form and trying to pay at the register, like if they were going to slide their card.

Belva Smith:
Okay, well, then-

Tracy Castillo:
I would say-

Belva Smith:
If that’s the question, then I would say Apple Pay. I’ve not used the Google Pay, but I’d use Apple Pay. In fact, while we were at ATIA I used my Apple Pay more than I have in the last year.

Brian Norton:
How does that work? You just put your phone up against the little-

Tracy Castillo:
Right.

Belva Smith:
You can do your phone-

Brian Norton:
Keypad?

Belva Smith:
You can do your phone or you can do your, in my case, the watch, and it just… You put it up next to the card reader where you would typically slide your card, and it will go, “Dink,” and you feel it vibrate in your hand, and the transaction went through. Some places do require that you enter a PIN, but some places do not require that you enter a PIN. It’s just a question of security. They say the ones that, for example, Speedway gas station does require that I enter a PIN, but-

Brian Norton:
We were just talking about that, weren’t we?

Belva Smith:
Right. But when I use it at like a vending machine, of course I don’t have to put in any PIN. Most places do not require a PIN.

Tracy Castillo:
Right.

Belva Smith:
You can put whatever card n there that you want to put on there. You set that all up in advance, of course.

Tracy Castillo:
Right. I’ve seen the Apple Pay. You can even send money in text messages.

Brian Norton:
Really?

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah.

Brian Norton:
I didn’t know that.

Belva Smith:
I love my Apple Pay. I’ve been using it-

Brian Norton:
So, is it like a bank account you put money into and then it just comes from your phone, or how-

Belva Smith:
It’s up to you, Brian. What I did when I first set mine up, which if I was doing it all over again, I wouldn’t do it this way. But what I did when I first set mine up is because I was nervous about connecting it to my account, and I believe we did a podcast where I talked specifically about using the Apple Pay for individuals that are blind or visually impaired. But anyway-

Tracy Castillo:
You can set your bank up on it.

Belva Smith:
What I did is I opened a second account to use specifically with my Apple Pay.

Tracy Castillo:
Oh, my lord, you went all out.

Belva Smith:
Well, I was a little nervous because it was new to me, and I just didn’t feel comfortable connecting it with my primary checking account. What I love about it is, though I have the second account now, I can tell you every transaction that I’ve made since my Apple Pay account was started.

Tracy Castillo:
That’s true because it gives you-

Belva Smith:
It keeps track. When people say, “Do you need a receipt,” I always say, “No, thank you,” because I already have a receipt. It’s on my phone.

Tracy Castillo:
It’s on your phone and it’s in your bank account.

Brian Norton:
Nice.

Belva Smith:
And I can pull it whenever I want. So, yeah.

Brian Norton:
That would seem very accessible. I know that’s more universal than it used to be. It used to, only certain stores accepted Apple Pay or some of these other places, and now I think it’s pretty much everywhere.

Belva Smith:
It’s pretty much everywhere, and you can use it in vending machines now.

Tracy Castillo:
And you can use it at the drive through at McDonald’s.

Belva Smith:
You can use it everywhere. I mean, seriously, you can use it everywhere.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. “I’ll take the double cheeseburger meal, please.”

Belva Smith:
Ting.

Brian Norton:
They also mentioned ATMs, and they mentioned the plugin for earphones. I do know ATMs can be real challenging. A lot of things that I’ve done for folks is, a lot of folks can do, if it’s regular transactions like deposits and those types of things, you can either do payments online or you can also set up automatic basically deposits for… Here at my workplace I don’t even see a check. I get a check but it’s just paper, and the check’s already been deposited into my bank account, because I know using ATMs can be challenging, simply because…

Brian Norton:
You’re right, they have an earphone plug where you can plug in a jack, but you got to find it first, right? Then they do have braille on the keys but you got to find the keys first, and so there’s some accessibility there, but it’s not great with ATMs, per se. But it sounds like there’s some pretty good solutions for either point of sale systems that you’re using or point of sale systems that you’re going to and trying to buy from a store or those types of places. Good information. That’s great. I didn’t think of Apple Pay as being all that accessible, but sure.

Belva Smith:
Totally accessible.

Brian Norton:
Sure, sure.

Belva Smith:
Totally.

Brian Norton:
That’s awesome. Excellent. Want to just open this up to folks. Maybe they have some other things that they would like to chime in with that. To do that you can give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124, or you can send us an email at Tech@EastersalesCrossroads.org. Love to hear from you. Thanks.

Brian Norton:
All right, so our next question, and it came to us through email, and this is from Rhonda. Rhonda asks, “Can you or someone on your team recommend a tool that we can use to check webpages for accessibility, particularly for a screen reader? Also, could you point me to a website for best practice of creating webpages that JAWS can read, particularly that would address images, links, surveys and those types of things? A student says they can figure some things out but we aren’t doing it right, and so they want to figure out what the right way is, so any guidance they’d love for us to share with them.”

Brian Norton:
Really, I’m going to give you two options. I know Belva’s got some things as well. The first thing is, I usually point people towards some free stuff first just so they can get an overview of what’s happening on their webpages. One that I would really send folks to would be the WAVE toolbar. That’s made by WebAIM. The WAVE toolbar basically is a Chrome extension or a Safari extension, depending on what browser you’re using. Basically you can plug in a URL, so it could do EastersealsTech.com, and it’s going to come up with what it considers maybe some things that need to be looked at as far as accessibility is concerned.

Brian Norton:
It’s really kind of nice, because it also lets you step into those things. If you dig down in on a particular issue, it will flag it. You can click on the flag, and it will give you some code level examples of maybe something that you could change with the code level, the programming in the background, to make it more accessible for folks. WebAIM is really great. It’s very easy to use. It’s just a simple download extension to Chrome or whatever browser you’re using. It allows you to dig into some of those issues on your page.

Brian Norton:
The other thing I would say and steer you toward would, if you’re looking for a place that’s going to help you learn best practices, I’ve got two things. The first would be the W3C. It’s www.W3.org, and then if you dig down in there, there’s places about web design. Basically, this is a website that gives people the guidelines for making accessible websites. It really gets into the technical details. Probably as a novice user, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense, but if you’re a web developer, it certainly would, and it would be something to be able to take a look at.

Brian Norton:
The other thing I’d mention too as far as this is concerned is we here at the INDATA project offer a once-a-year full-day webinar for web developers. We actually bring someone in who’s worked for eBay and PayPal and a couple of other places. It’s really well-known in the industry to be able to talk to folks who are actual developers. You can talk on their level about what’s going on and talk to them about accessibility. That’s going to be in May this year. We’re still working out the specific date for that, but if you go to EastersealsTech.com/A11Y, so A-1-1-Y, you’ll be able to see the training from last year, and then pretty soon hopefully we’ll have the registration up for this year’s training that’s coming up in May.

Brian Norton:
Again, it’s a full day. It usually goes from about 10 or 11 in the morning till about three or four in the afternoon, and we dig into all sorts of topics. Our presenter that day and the host of that particular training is super well-known and very good at being able to explain things in real concrete ways for folks. So, I would encourage you to check that out. Again, that’s EastersealsTech.com/A11Y. Some folks may be thinking, “Why A11Y?” Well, that stands for accessibility, so that the A, and then there’s 11 letters between the Y in accessibility, but that’s just a free trick there that you can learn there.

Brian Norton:
Belva, I know you also had some places to turn people towards.

Belva Smith:
Well, one of the things that I learned about at ATIA is something that I don’t know much about. But Freedom Scientific apparently offers some free accessibility testing tools. They have developed a group called Paciello. I don’t know. I was going to have my screen reader announce it, because I don’t think I’m saying it-

Josh Anderson:
Spell it for us. How’s it spelled?

Belva Smith:
Paciello, P-A-C-E-L-L-I-O. But to find it, if you just go to, and I did hear the word JAWS being mentioned in here, so if you just go to the FreedomScientific.com webpage and look under products, you will find in that drop-down menu accessibility testing products, and they have a bunch of different tools that you can use. I downloaded one earlier today and was going to start to try to take a look at it, but to be honest with you, a programmer I am not, and I immediately felt overwhelmed trying to look at it and understand. I will tell you that I did it on our EastersealsTech.com page, and it brought back several things that we needed to be concerned about.

Brian Norton:
Yep. I’ll say just with regard to that, is there are standards and guidelines. I don’t know if there’s the absolutely perfect website out there.

Belva Smith:
There isn’t.

Brian Norton:
Because JAWS can read certain things, but some of the things that may come back are high contrast issues on your website, and that’s really going to be a decision from whoever’s designing that site, or the people who that site belongs to, to say, you got to make some decisions. Sometimes let’s say somebody’s logo may be not the best as far as the contrast for somebody, but that’s their logo. You can’t just change the colors of your logo unless you go in and you change all your style sheets and all those different things for folks as far as their agency or whatever company you belong to, so you got to make some decisions. You’re just going to have to pick and choose the battles you want to have on the accessibility front.

Brian Norton:
Now, there are things like alt text and stuff like that for pictures and stuff like that that are really a must-have, but some of these tools are going to comment on certain things that you may not be able to change.

Belva Smith:
Well, and I think it’s important to remember too that an accessible webpage doesn’t just mean that a screen reader can work with it.

Josh Anderson:
That’s right.

Belva Smith:
Accessible webpage means that other adaptive software can work with it. For example, if I’m a individual who’s using Dragon NaturallySpeaking, I also need to be able to access that page in a different way than the screen reader’s going to access it. One of the things that you’re going to find with any of these tools is they’re going to give you the definites, these are problems, the things that might be a problem, and things to just be aware of. At least that’s my understanding.

Tracy Castillo:
These things that it’s just to be aware of, those are probably stylistic issues, right?

Belva Smith:
Absolutely.

Josh Anderson:
Right.

Belva Smith:
Absolutely.

Brian Norton:
But definitely check out the Paciello group. They have a lot of downloadable tools as well and contrast checkers and other similar tools much like WebAIM and those kinds of things, so check them out. Definitely can get you maybe started in the right direction. Would love to check and see if there are web developers listening. Maybe you have some suggestions, some other tools that you use that we can share with our listeners. I’d love to hear from you. You can do that through our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124, or send us an email at Tech@EastersealsCrossroads.org, or send us a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ. Love to hear from you.

Brian Norton:
All right, so our next question is, an email from Marquita, she mentions, “Hello, I hope all is well. Is there a smartphone app that reads colors? Thank you.” Belva, I’m looking at you because you’re our vision team specialist and probably have some things like that, right?

Belva Smith:
There are, in the app store there are lots and lots of different color identifying apps. I would suggest first trying out some of the free ones. Also, checking out AppleVis.com. That’s A-P-P-L-E-B-I-Z. Correct?

Brian Norton:
V-I-S.

Belva Smith:
V-I-S.com. Because that’s a website where users actually report back on apps that have worked well for them or apps that have difficulty working well. But anyway, Be My Eyes is probably going to be a more accurate way to do color identifying, because honestly, none of the color identifying apps or devices are a hundred percent. They get close.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah, because color is so dependent on light.

Belva Smith:
Exactly.

Josh Anderson:
That a pair of dark blue jeans, depending on the light, will be blue, green, dark gray, black, dark brown.

Belva Smith:
Some of them will give you crazy, funky names for your-

Josh Anderson:
Camel.

Belva Smith:
Yeah.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah.

Belva Smith:
Be My Eyes is a service where you actually are connected with a live person who would probably better be able to describe the color, especially if you’re trying to put together an outfit or you’re trying to decorate a room or whatever. Also, AIRA is also another service. Both of these, by the way, can be free services, where you can call for live sighted assistants to get your color information. Either one of those would probably be a more accurate-

Brian Norton:
Those are like five minute or less conversations, right?

Josh Anderson:
Yeah, but if you’re just getting the color of something.

Belva Smith:
How long does it take to get a color? You know, does this shirt match these pants?

Josh Anderson:
Are these blue or black?

Belva Smith:
Right.

Brian Norton:
How does Seeing AI do? They have a color identifier-

Josh Anderson:
Just as well as all the other ones. It’s just very dependent on light.

Belva Smith:
Right. Right.

Brian Norton:
The same thing with the color identifier, that’s kind of a hand-held device that’s a standalone color identifier. I put it on my beige pants and it’s like gray, gray-brown or something like that.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah, yeah.

Belva Smith:
Yep.

Brian Norton:
Same variations in there.

Belva Smith:
Yep. Yeah. You’re going to get a somewhat accurate result from any of the many, and I mean many, apps that are available out there, but to be more precise, I would definitely recommend using Be My Eyes or AIRA.

Brian Norton:
I had never thought of that before. That’s a great suggestion. Belva, you taught me something. Obviously a live person would be able to give you a more accurate description of-

Belva Smith:
Absolutely.

Brian Norton:
… what you’re looking at than an app would.

Belva Smith:
I’m going to make a suggestion too. Let’s say that you are going to work and you want to make sure that your outfit matches, which sometimes I could use help with that too.

Josh Anderson:
Amen. Like today.

Tracy Castillo:
Right, exactly.

Belva Smith:
Like right now. I would suggest that maybe you put together four or five outfits if you’re going to use one of the Be My Eyes or AIRA, where you’re using a live person, and just have them tell you, “Oh, yeah, that’s a dark blue trousers with a white and blue striped top. It will look great together.” Then you can do your whole week in probably under that five-minute and then just put your wardrobe together like that. I typically pick my clothes out the night before because if I wait till the morning, well, let’s just say there’s no telling what I’d come in if I waited till the morning.

Josh Anderson:
There’s really no [crosstalk 00:42:44].

Belva Smith:
Exactly. So, yeah.

Brian Norton:
Perfect. Excellent. Hey, would love to open this up to our listeners. If you use a smartphone app other than Be My Eyes and some of the other ones, love to hear from you. Give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124, or send us an email at Tech@EastersealsCrossroads.org. Love to hear from you. Thanks so much.

Brian Norton:
So, our next question is, “Can you recommend a calculator that has a display with large font.” They say they found the TI, Texas Instrument 89… “But when I emailed our math department chair, I received this response. The TI-89 would not be allowed for most math classes.” Not exactly sure why. “But typically if it says it has CAS, which is computer algebra system, that is a sign that it would not be allowed in most math classes.” That’s interesting. “Looking for a calculator with a large display.”

Belva Smith:
Maxi-Aids.com and LS&S.com both have several different large button and display calculators, but a lot of theirs also have a talking feature. But I also found at just a quick glance Staples has a large digit and large display calculator that’s like six bucks. Walmart also has a large button, large display. Again, I don’t know how large of a display you’re seeking, and it may be that perhaps having one that could give you the audio feedback rather than trying to actually read the screen would be better.

Belva Smith:
I would say this is one of those things where you’re going to have to do your own research so that you can get your hands on and see what actually works best for you. Perhaps looking for a lending library in your area where you might be able to try a couple of different ones.

Belva Smith:
Tracy, do we have a selection of calculators?

Tracy Castillo:
We do have one or two of them. That’s about it.

Josh Anderson:
That’s a selection.

Belva Smith:
That’s right.

Tracy Castillo:
I think we just ordered another one, a scientific one. Brian just put that order in, but I have not seen it come in yet.

Belva Smith:
Okay.

Brian Norton:
Yep. Just to throw out those two websites, LS&SProducts.com, and then there’s Maxi, that’s M-A-X-I, AIDS, A-I-D-S.com would be the two sites that have lots of different… I mean, they have low vision products for all sorts of activities of daily living, so watches, magnifiers, clocks, calculators, all sorts of different things. So, be able to check those few things out. Would also just, again, I think Belva and Tracy, you mentioned the [ATX 00:45:40]. There’s lots of resources there for folks.

Tracy Castillo:
Right.

Brian Norton:
So, definitely take a look at that. Then would love to open this up to just our listening audience just to find out what you guys have used. If you’ve run into this situation yourselves, let us know so that we can provide that to the caller. Our email address is Tech@EastersealsCrossroads.org, or you can send us a voice-mail, and that is 317-721-7124, and we’ll look forward to hearing from you. Thanks so much.

Josh Anderson:
And now it’s time for the Wild Card Question.

Brian Norton:
All right. So, our next question is the Wild Card Question, and this is a question that Belva has prepared for us, and Belva, what do you got for us today?

Belva Smith:
I’m just curious if there is something, hardware, software, whatever, that you guys would like to see be developed or better improved for the year 2020.

Tracy Castillo:
Wow. I know that Microsoft is working on Eye Gaze, and they’re working within their system to make Eye Gaze more accessible in Microsoft Office. While I was digging around, I see where you could add, you can add a camera. What I’d like to see is them use that web camera on the laptops to be able to do that with Eye Gaze, so you’re not even needing to purchase anything else for the computer. It can work straight out of the box for an individual that needs to access their computer that way.

Belva Smith:
It doesn’t seem like that should be that difficult, right?

Tracy Castillo:
Right. Come on. Twelve months, guys, twelve months.

Brian Norton:
It’s going to be an expensive computer.

Belva Smith:
Nothing compared to the MAC if you want to talk expensive.

Tracy Castillo:
No. It should not be. It’s going to be within the-

Belva Smith:
It’s already there.

Tracy Castillo:
It’s already halfway there.

Belva Smith:
Yeah.

Tracy Castillo:
They’re working with Toby to get it into their operating system. Now they just need to know how to turn their cameras into it.

Belva Smith:
Right.

Brian Norton:
Interesting. That would be interesting. That would be a lot more available to folks and probably a lot more affordable too.

Belva Smith:
It’s easier to buy a laptop with an integrated camera than it is to buy one without, so-

Tracy Castillo:
Right. We’ve already seen where they’ve made the… Not the Narrator but the Magnifier, they have made the mouse, the type of mouse that you would see in ZoomText, where it’s big and you can make it even pink or purple. I had a client that was so happy about that.

Belva Smith:
Yep.

Brian Norton:
That’s awesome. For me, mine’s a little bit similar to that, and so one of the things that I would love to see in 2020 is for the big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, Apple and Google to continue to build in the assistive technology.

Tracy Castillo:
Right.

Brian Norton:
Like you say, Eye Gaze, but I even want, I believe the voice recognition in Windows hasn’t been touched in a long, long time. We were kind of talking about that earlier. I’d love to see them improve it. Now we can voice control your iPad. Well, I’d love to see voice control just be enhanced and up a few more levels than where it is and just in Windows.

Tracy Castillo:
Oh, wow.

Brian Norton:
And for all these big tech companies to continue to put technology, assistive technology, first and foremost, as kind of something that’s built into the system that folks can get access to. I know they’re paying attention, and I know they’re doing that quite a bit these days, and that’s just kind of exciting for me to see. Because I think for years it was left to these third-party manufacturers and other folks to be able to design technology to work with their products, but now with baby boomers getting older, there’s age-related disabilities starting to kind of rear their ugly head, and really the accessibility of their products needs to be there for these folks to be able to use them effectively.

Brian Norton:
I’m just excited to see what other things are going to come out as far as accessibility are concerned, because I think last year they did some amazing things. Amazon, I think of Tap to Alexa. It may have even been before last year that it was there. That’s amazing improvement. Google, some of the accessibility that they’ve got built into Chromebooks and G Suite and those types of things are amazing. Microsoft and some of the enhancements that they’ve done to the Magnifier, to Narrator, and to some of these other types of tools I think are really awesome. Then Apple with the iPad and some of that accessibility, voice control not only on the iPad but also on the MAC Book, it’s just I think really opened the doors for a lot of folks, and I just look to continue to see those things improved as we move forward.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. My hat’s off to all the companies for the improvements and enhancements that they’ve made as far as the accessibility is concerned, and I hope they continue to do that. But for me, I remember two or three years ago, we asked this question. I think Wade was still here when this question was asked. At that time, my answer was the same that it is today. I still want to see all availability for texting to 911. I’m happy to say that-

Brian Norton:
That’s interesting.

Belva Smith:
Well, it’s because I work with the deaf blind community a lot. I will say that we are fortunate here in our area that texting 911 is now available, and the last time we had this question, it wasn’t, so I’m excited about that. But there’s still I think only half of the states where it is available. So, I would like to see texting 911 available everywhere and 911 just improved overall along with the technology for the deaf blind. There’s lots of room for improvement. I just hope that that keeps happening.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Love it. Well, so everybody, that’s our show for today. Obviously, our show is all about questions and answers, and so I want to get your feedback and also have you send us your questions. You can do that again in a variety of ways. We’ve gone over this a couple times throughout the show, but 317-721-7124. You can send us a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ, or email us at Tech@EastersealsCrossroads.org. Without your questions, without your feedback, we don’t have a show, so be a part of it.

Brian Norton:
I want to thank the folks here in the room with me today. Tracy, do you want to say goodbye to everybody?

Tracy Castillo:
No, not really.

Belva Smith:
We’re staying.

Tracy Castillo:
I’m staying.

Brian Norton:
We’re going to go for a marathon today, so-

Tracy Castillo:
Okay.

Brian Norton:
Then we also… Belva, do you want to say goodbye?

Belva Smith:
See everybody in a couple weeks.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Then no Josh obviously. He will be back I believe next time with us.

Belva Smith:
He’s sitting on the beach somewhere with his wife and his daughter having an amazing time, yeah.

Brian Norton:
Listening to the Beach Boys, those kinds of things.

Belva Smith:
Yeah.

Brian Norton:
Wish him well, and we can’t wait to have him back, but have a great, great week, and we’ll talk to you guys later. Thanks.

Tracy Castillo:
Bye, folks.

Belva Smith:
Bye.

Brian Norton:
And it seems like every week we have at least one blooper, so here you go.

Belva Smith:
Somebody’s not muted.

Josh Anderson:
I screwed it up.

Belva Smith:
Oh, my God, can you imagine trying to describe-

Brian Norton:
Wait, wait, wait, like not in the-

Belva Smith:
Oh, my God.

Announcer:
Information provided on Assistive Technology FAQ does not constitute a product endorsement. Our comments are not intended as recommendations, nor is our show evaluative in nature. Assistive Technology FAQ is hosted and produced by Brian Norton, its editorial help by Josh Anderson and Belva Smith, and receives support from Easterseals Crossroads and the INDATA project. ATFAQ is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more of our shows at www.AccessibilityChannel.com.