moderated Need Microsoft Disability phone number!


Leedy Diane Bomar
 

Brian,
There are many reasons why this is the most imaginable offensive question.
It is asked by almost every help desk to which I have spoken.
Sometimes, it is said as: "is there someone there that can help?"
Which means "someone with sight" which implies that a blind person is not a ":"someone". Also, if I had this invisible friend, caretaker, babysitter, etc. wouldn't I have already thought to ask for their help? Why do sighted people assume that, we as people who cannot see, have a sighted person at our beckon call. Who pays for this helper?

Most of the time it is the fault of the company that a sighted assistant may be needed because their developers did not consider the needs of non-visual access. I believe in making this their problem, not mine! How will they ever learn that it is not a blindness issue, but a product development/design issue, if they always have a "sighted person" to solve the problem. That is NOT independence or encouraging full inclusion through accessibility.

I am always snarky in my response to this question, try to be humorous, and explain why it is the most insulting offensive question ever! I often tell them that my guide dog can see the screen, but she cannot speak. I am sick and tired of the assumption, especially at help desks, and particularly at accessibility help desks for the person I am calling for assistance wants/expects me to have a sighted person readily available! 
The problem is the lack of accessibility, not the fact that I cannot see the screen. There are so many options in design that light dependence no longer needs to be the only way to access information. I am not less of a person, less worthy of respect or assistance, because my eyes don't work. It is the developer's job to include non-visual access in their products, and I believe that we all need to let them know that.

Many times I may have a blind friend visiting, and the tech help desk person hears the person say something, and immediately asks if that person can get on the phone. I explain that this other person is also totally blind, and immediately they are discounted as that "someone who can help." This question, by far, is the most insulting offensive question, and the most often asked.Why that question is offensive! 

 Diane Bomar

On Mar 5, 2021, at 16:24, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

On Fri, Mar 5, 2021 at 02:30 PM, Marianne Denning wrote:
I was working with someone who worked for another blindness company and the person asked me if I had a sighted person who could help.
-
I want someone to explain why this question is offensive.

When you're at a help desk, any help desk, the goal is generally to get a fix as quickly as possible.  There are times where having a sighted assistant can greatly speed things along.  There are times when there really is no substitute for sight when it comes to getting maximum speed and minimum fuss identifying what's happening.  Joseph Lee once said to me, in regard to web browsing, that the sighted (which would include me) see a webpage (but this would apply to anything displaying on a screen) as a gestalt, taking it all in at once, and filtering out the irrelevant versus relevant visually without even realizing you're doing so.  A screen reader user goes element by element through unfamiliar territory and cannot "take it all in at once."  Those are simple facts.

If you don't have access to a sighted assistant, then the answer to that query is, "No, I don't have easy access to a sighted assistant."

Asking whether such is available is not meant, not should it be taken, as a slight to someone who's blind.  I cannot imagine that most in the readership here have not, on multiple occasions, had someone who could see around who could "instantly" identify something you've been struggling with for hours such that you want to scream and rend your garments.  Examples of this completely unrelated to the computer abound, too.  My "value added" most of the time is that I can see something that's, sadly, either not accessible or not accessible quickly and easily and could take a screen reader user hours to find because of how a given program/screen is structured.

If your job is to try to fix an issue as quickly as possible you use all the tools at your disposal, and as a help desk tech there are times where a sighted assistant is a really handy tool to have.  If not available, you try another way, but in many instances it will invariably take much longer.  But if you don't ask whether an optional tool, in this case a sighted assistant, might be available you're not doing your job, or at least not doing it well.  
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 12:08 AM, G. Gray wrote:
Whenever I get a comment like "Click on the yellow x at the top of the screen,"  I say..."Do me a favor turn your screen off.  Is it off.  What do you see exactly?  OK now you see what I see...now tell me again what to do!"
-
That's an excellent approach, and drives the point home in a perfect demonstration.
 
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 12:36 AM, Leedy Diane Bomar wrote:
There are many reasons why this is the most imaginable offensive question.
-
Then, Diane, we definitely come from very, very different worlds.  I can come up with at least 20 questions, off the top of my head, that exceed this one in offensiveness.

There can be people who are being offensive, but I have very clearly explained why it is foolish, yes, foolish to assume that without additional evidence.

And I will say, again, that all accessibility is a workaround.  In the case of screen readers, it is the substitution of audition for vision.  The two senses are in no way directly equivalent.  This will always entail compromises and while the experience can be substantially the same when it comes to text-based information, it will never be for many things that cannot be captured that way.

And the idea that "light dependence no longer needs to be the only way to access information" has been here, now, for quite a while.  But the fact is, and will always remain, that visual media, and anything on a computer besides text is just that, is going to be designed primarily with that in mind.  That it should be accessible, to the maximal extent possible, via other means should be a given in good design.  But do not delude yourself into thinking that even things most ideally designed for maximal accessibility can, or will, ever be able to give you "exactly the same information" that the sighted get, because they can't.

And, by the way, my earlier comments regarding tech support was for tech support dedicated to screen reader users or users of other assistive technology.  Most techs not in that arena have no reason to know about assistive technology.  It is not cost effective to try to train every generic help desk person in how to use a screen reader, particularly since most larger companies do have dedicated AT support and smaller companies have to pick where their money goes.  If there is not a substantial blind user base of a given product, and the maker is a small company down to "mom and pop," they cannot reasonably be expected to have screen reader literate tech support.

And that's not because you're less of a person, or less worthy of respect.  It's because you are part of a tiny minority in the general population and there are limited resources, financial and otherwise.  I really cannot believe that anyone who is blind does not understand this, I really can't.  And if that's offensive to say, so be it, because it is a fact, and one that is never, ever going to change.    
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


David Diamond
 

I really cannot believe that anyone who is blind does not understand this, I really can't.  And if that's offensive to say, so be it, because it is a fact, and one that is never, ever going to change. Definitely true and no I don’t find it offensive.  There has to be a meeting in the middle though. Sometimes people expect others to cater to them and on the other side of the equation, the other person can refuse to change their terminology or practices. Years ago I’d run into with my phone company those who would say, “It can’t be done!”  When I delved into it the fact was they never tried to do it, just assumed it couldn’t be done. My idea is, at least try and do something don’t just say it can’t be done.        

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: March 5, 2021 9:55 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 12:36 AM, Leedy Diane Bomar wrote:

There are many reasons why this is the most imaginable offensive question.

-
Then, Diane, we definitely come from very, very different worlds.  I can come up with at least 20 questions, off the top of my head, that exceed this one in offensiveness.

There can be people who are being offensive, but I have very clearly explained why it is foolish, yes, foolish to assume that without additional evidence.

And I will say, again, that all accessibility is a workaround.  In the case of screen readers, it is the substitution of audition for vision.  The two senses are in no way directly equivalent.  This will always entail compromises and while the experience can be substantially the same when it comes to text-based information, it will never be for many things that cannot be captured that way.

And the idea that "light dependence no longer needs to be the only way to access information" has been here, now, for quite a while.  But the fact is, and will always remain, that visual media, and anything on a computer besides text is just that, is going to be designed primarily with that in mind.  That it should be accessible, to the maximal extent possible, via other means should be a given in good design.  But do not delude yourself into thinking that even things most ideally designed for maximal accessibility can, or will, ever be able to give you "exactly the same information" that the sighted get, because they can't.

And, by the way, my earlier comments regarding tech support was for tech support dedicated to screen reader users or users of other assistive technology.  Most techs not in that arena have no reason to know about assistive technology.  It is not cost effective to try to train every generic help desk person in how to use a screen reader, particularly since most larger companies do have dedicated AT support and smaller companies have to pick where their money goes.  If there is not a substantial blind user base of a given product, and the maker is a small company down to "mom and pop," they cannot reasonably be expected to have screen reader literate tech support.

And that's not because you're less of a person, or less worthy of respect.  It's because you are part of a tiny minority in the general population and there are limited resources, financial and otherwise.  I really cannot believe that anyone who is blind does not understand this, I really can't.  And if that's offensive to say, so be it, because it is a fact, and one that is never, ever going to change.    
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 12:25 PM, David Diamond wrote:
There has to be a meeting in the middle though.
-
Oh, absolutely!   But that meeting in the middle, when you're the "exotic one" in a given situation, very often entails you educating the helper about certain things as they try to help you.

There was a time when I didn't know diddly-squat about any form of assistive technology.  I learned based on the work I was doing and who I was doing it with.  Had I not needed (or chosen) to do that work with the populations I've worked with I would have absolutely no reason to know anything about it.  Every one of those populations are niche demographics.  The phrase "mainstream support" carries many shadings to the "mainstream" part.  If you are a part of any niche you had better disabuse yourself of the notion of "all things being equal, or even possibly ever being equal" with all possible haste.  And that's not because of malign intent, but because the capitalist system we live under means that businesses exist to make money, and the idea of "spending more than we get back" exists and not wanting to do that is perfectly legitimate.

But even when I didn't know what I know now, I had occasion to work with a couple of folks who happened to be blind, and was able to assist them with technical problems.  I knew I couldn't use visual terms such as, "click on the red X," but I could use the more generic, "Close the window," or, "Exit the program."   I did, and should have been able to expect, that the exact how that was to be done would be known by the person being assisted.  I no sooner knew ALT+F4 than subatomic physics.

Most support techs who want to be in the job will go as far as they possibly can if the other side is willing to meet in the middle.  The relationship between a sighted, but AT clueless support tech, and a blind client need not be adversarial.  When they give a visual instruction, which they will particularly before it sinks in that they can't, saying something like, "What is it that you're hoping will happen?," or, "What is it that you want me to accomplish?," will often get a response back that allows you to instantly know what you must do.

There will always be idiots out there, and I'm not trying to defend them.  But it is every bit as much up to the blind client dealing with someone who does not know AT, and who is not remoted in to their machine so they can see what is going on (which, for obvious reasons, is how we with sight generally work), to help the person trying to help them when it comes to the AT side of things.  It also helps to understand that many of the signt-centric instructions are part of a script.  Far too many companies put the inexperienced on help lines and adamantly insist that they stick with the script, and when they don't know what they're doing, they have to.  It's the people who've been doing this for a while, and like doing it, who often relish being able to "step outside the box" when the opportunity presents itself.  Others, of course, will not, and if it quickly gets ugly then that's when the, "I wish to be put through to your supervisor," step gets taken, as many times as necessary and as many levels as necessary, to lodge a legitimate complaint.
 
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


Marianne Denning
 

I am not talking about the mainstream companies. The reason we call a disability help desk in a large company like Microsoft is because they have the knowledge on how to work with people who are blind. I usually find that the people at the Microsoft help desk want to take over my computer and make the changes and I go along with it. In an ideal world they would walk us through a nonvisual way to get the job done but I know that won’t happen any time in the near future. If I need them to do all of this visually that is certainly job security for them.

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of David Diamond
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 12:26 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

I really cannot believe that anyone who is blind does not understand this, I really can't.  And if that's offensive to say, so be it, because it is a fact, and one that is never, ever going to change. Definitely true and no I don’t find it offensive.  There has to be a meeting in the middle though. Sometimes people expect others to cater to them and on the other side of the equation, the other person can refuse to change their terminology or practices. Years ago I’d run into with my phone company those who would say, “It can’t be done!”  When I delved into it the fact was they never tried to do it, just assumed it couldn’t be done. My idea is, at least try and do something don’t just say it can’t be done.        

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: March 5, 2021 9:55 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 12:36 AM, Leedy Diane Bomar wrote:

There are many reasons why this is the most imaginable offensive question.

-
Then, Diane, we definitely come from very, very different worlds.  I can come up with at least 20 questions, off the top of my head, that exceed this one in offensiveness.

There can be people who are being offensive, but I have very clearly explained why it is foolish, yes, foolish to assume that without additional evidence.

And I will say, again, that all accessibility is a workaround.  In the case of screen readers, it is the substitution of audition for vision.  The two senses are in no way directly equivalent.  This will always entail compromises and while the experience can be substantially the same when it comes to text-based information, it will never be for many things that cannot be captured that way.

And the idea that "light dependence no longer needs to be the only way to access information" has been here, now, for quite a while.  But the fact is, and will always remain, that visual media, and anything on a computer besides text is just that, is going to be designed primarily with that in mind.  That it should be accessible, to the maximal extent possible, via other means should be a given in good design.  But do not delude yourself into thinking that even things most ideally designed for maximal accessibility can, or will, ever be able to give you "exactly the same information" that the sighted get, because they can't.

And, by the way, my earlier comments regarding tech support was for tech support dedicated to screen reader users or users of other assistive technology.  Most techs not in that arena have no reason to know about assistive technology.  It is not cost effective to try to train every generic help desk person in how to use a screen reader, particularly since most larger companies do have dedicated AT support and smaller companies have to pick where their money goes.  If there is not a substantial blind user base of a given product, and the maker is a small company down to "mom and pop," they cannot reasonably be expected to have screen reader literate tech support.

And that's not because you're less of a person, or less worthy of respect.  It's because you are part of a tiny minority in the general population and there are limited resources, financial and otherwise.  I really cannot believe that anyone who is blind does not understand this, I really can't.  And if that's offensive to say, so be it, because it is a fact, and one that is never, ever going to change.    
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


Marianne Denning
 

I think all of us use many different methods to accomplish a goal. I think any of us who live with someone who can see call on that person for help sometimes. My sighted husband also calls on me to do things that I can do faster or better than he can. We keep our pots and pans in a lower cabinet next to the stove. Since we are both getting older I can get down on the floor to get what he needs faster than he can so he asks me to help with that.  

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Cristóbal
Sent: Friday, March 5, 2021 7:22 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

The blind men and the elephant analogy etc.…

There are times where I may have dropped or misplaced something and instead of deploying my super blindy locator skills, I just call out for my sighted wife instead. Independence be damned…

Same thing with the Internet. I can try troubleshooting something on my screen or just call her over to see what the heck is on my screen that’s giving me such fits. It’s often an overlay pop up or something that’s messing with my screen reader.

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Friday, March 5, 2021 3:24 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

On Fri, Mar 5, 2021 at 02:30 PM, Marianne Denning wrote:

I was working with someone who worked for another blindness company and the person asked me if I had a sighted person who could help.

-
I want someone to explain why this question is offensive.

When you're at a help desk, any help desk, the goal is generally to get a fix as quickly as possible.  There are times where having a sighted assistant can greatly speed things along.  There are times when there really is no substitute for sight when it comes to getting maximum speed and minimum fuss identifying what's happening.  Joseph Lee once said to me, in regard to web browsing, that the sighted (which would include me) see a webpage (but this would apply to anything displaying on a screen) as a gestalt, taking it all in at once, and filtering out the irrelevant versus relevant visually without even realizing you're doing so.  A screen reader user goes element by element through unfamiliar territory and cannot "take it all in at once."  Those are simple facts.

If you don't have access to a sighted assistant, then the answer to that query is, "No, I don't have easy access to a sighted assistant."

Asking whether such is available is not meant, not should it be taken, as a slight to someone who's blind.  I cannot imagine that most in the readership here have not, on multiple occasions, had someone who could see around who could "instantly" identify something you've been struggling with for hours such that you want to scream and rend your garments.  Examples of this completely unrelated to the computer abound, too.  My "value added" most of the time is that I can see something that's, sadly, either not accessible or not accessible quickly and easily and could take a screen reader user hours to find because of how a given program/screen is structured.

If your job is to try to fix an issue as quickly as possible you use all the tools at your disposal, and as a help desk tech there are times where a sighted assistant is a really handy tool to have.  If not available, you try another way, but in many instances it will invariably take much longer.  But if you don't ask whether an optional tool, in this case a sighted assistant, might be available you're not doing your job, or at least not doing it well.  
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 01:44 PM, Marianne Denning wrote:
In an ideal world they would walk us through a nonvisual way to get the job done but I know that won’t happen any time in the near future.
-
The following is said with nary a trace of snark or insult intended:  Your version of "ideal world" and that of the majority who call help desks are at odds.

I try, and try, and try, to go the "teach a man/woman to fish" route at virtually every opportunity, whether the client happens to be sighted or not, because I, personally, would prefer to know how to fix something that might recur in the future without having to seek out help.  Most times, I am rebuffed.  I'm hired (or asked) to fix it and that's all that's wanted, the fix, with zero education involved.

I only wish your approach were more common.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 01:44 PM, Marianne Denning wrote:
If I need them to do all of this visually that is certainly job security for them.
-
As an aside, and there are members here who can attest to this, even when I am assisting a blind client to DIY I still ask for remote access with screen sharing at a minimum, but full remote control typically.

I may never touch a thing, but it helps me to make sure that what I'm telling someone to do, and what actually happens after they do it, are what I expect.  There are times when I give an incorrect directive, and there are times when the person being assisted does not follow a directive correctly even though they intended to.

My being able to actively monitor what's occurring using sight, since I happen to have it, is a bit of an insurance policy against unintended results.

I actually prefer, when I am taking control from my end, that a screen reader user keeps their screen reader on, as I like for it to narrate what's going on as I do it.  I can tune a screen reader out when I want to with ease, but I don't want the client to be unaware of what's going on, and I'll give added verbal information as needed.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


mike mcglashon
 

Mr. Brian quoted:

I'm hired (or asked) to fix it and that's all that's wanted, the fix, with zero education involved.

End quote:

Just so you guys know,

Mr. Brian is not fabricating,

For I must admit, although somewhat shamefully, am one of the persons to which he speaks of;

I think that part of what is in play here, is speed; the need to get things done; usually unrelated to the education needed for the direct task involved.

Furthermore, the mistaken assumption that the computer somehow knows what to do;

(artificial intelligence);

 

 

Please advise as you like.

 

Mike M.

 

Mike mcglashon

Email: Michael.mcglashon@...

Ph: 618 783 9331

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 2:13 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 01:44 PM, Marianne Denning wrote:

In an ideal world they would walk us through a nonvisual way to get the job done but I know that won’t happen any time in the near future.

-
The following is said with nary a trace of snark or insult intended:  Your version of "ideal world" and that of the majority who call help desks are at odds.

I try, and try, and try, to go the "teach a man/woman to fish" route at virtually every opportunity, whether the client happens to be sighted or not, because I, personally, would prefer to know how to fix something that might recur in the future without having to seek out help.  Most times, I am rebuffed.  I'm hired (or asked) to fix it and that's all that's wanted, the fix, with zero education involved.

I only wish your approach were more common.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


Cristóbal
 

I mean, I don’t know ASL. Why would I? I don’t know any deaf people. We often lose perspective on the greater picture since we’re immersed in our blind/VI community/world. For good or for ill, we often have to be ambassadors for our disability to everyone else. I mean, it’s easy to forget how small of a population we really are. I only have one friend who’s visually impaired that I actually know in person and that’s only because we met during a training course we both took for assistive tech over 20 years ago. I didn’t know any other blind people while in college. Ask your sighted piers how many blind folks they actually see when they’re out and about while running errands or going about their mondain lives? We’re just not that common.

I’m not saying we have to excuse or be extra patient with people’s misguided or ill-informed or even ignorant comments/behaviors, but let’s not confuse simple unawareness on a topic with someone who’s just  being a straight up jerk.

Cristóbal

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 9:40 AM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 12:25 PM, David Diamond wrote:

There has to be a meeting in the middle though.

-
Oh, absolutely!   But that meeting in the middle, when you're the "exotic one" in a given situation, very often entails you educating the helper about certain things as they try to help you.

There was a time when I didn't know diddly-squat about any form of assistive technology.  I learned based on the work I was doing and who I was doing it with.  Had I not needed (or chosen) to do that work with the populations I've worked with I would have absolutely no reason to know anything about it.  Every one of those populations are niche demographics.  The phrase "mainstream support" carries many shadings to the "mainstream" part.  If you are a part of any niche you had better disabuse yourself of the notion of "all things being equal, or even possibly ever being equal" with all possible haste.  And that's not because of malign intent, but because the capitalist system we live under means that businesses exist to make money, and the idea of "spending more than we get back" exists and not wanting to do that is perfectly legitimate.

But even when I didn't know what I know now, I had occasion to work with a couple of folks who happened to be blind, and was able to assist them with technical problems.  I knew I couldn't use visual terms such as, "click on the red X," but I could use the more generic, "Close the window," or, "Exit the program."   I did, and should have been able to expect, that the exact how that was to be done would be known by the person being assisted.  I no sooner knew ALT+F4 than subatomic physics.

Most support techs who want to be in the job will go as far as they possibly can if the other side is willing to meet in the middle.  The relationship between a sighted, but AT clueless support tech, and a blind client need not be adversarial.  When they give a visual instruction, which they will particularly before it sinks in that they can't, saying something like, "What is it that you're hoping will happen?," or, "What is it that you want me to accomplish?," will often get a response back that allows you to instantly know what you must do.

There will always be idiots out there, and I'm not trying to defend them.  But it is every bit as much up to the blind client dealing with someone who does not know AT, and who is not remoted in to their machine so they can see what is going on (which, for obvious reasons, is how we with sight generally work), to help the person trying to help them when it comes to the AT side of things.  It also helps to understand that many of the signt-centric instructions are part of a script.  Far too many companies put the inexperienced on help lines and adamantly insist that they stick with the script, and when they don't know what they're doing, they have to.  It's the people who've been doing this for a while, and like doing it, who often relish being able to "step outside the box" when the opportunity presents itself.  Others, of course, will not, and if it quickly gets ugly then that's when the, "I wish to be put through to your supervisor," step gets taken, as many times as necessary and as many levels as necessary, to lodge a legitimate complaint.
 
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 02:31 PM, mike mcglashon wrote:
Mr. Brian is not fabricating,
-
Mike, thank you for the direct support of what I've said as someone I've actually worked with.

I will make the point, though, that I really have absolutely nothing to gain by fabricating anything in this arena.  I've simply been there, done that, got the T-Shirt with both sighted and blind individuals.

I've been in the computer biz since the mid-1980s.  I literally cannot count the number of times I've been called upon to give technical support of one sort of another for individuals ranging from other IT professionals to people who barely know what a computer is.  All of my observations are a direct result of that experience, and techs talk, so it's more than my own experience, too.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


Shirley Tracy
 

I used to depend on my husband. He began teaching me how to use the computer—but I ended up having to teach myself. He has dementia and can’t even use a computer any more. I do it all myself. I don’t mind someone asking me questions—it’s how they respond to me when I explain I have no one available so it’s up to them. oOf course, my kids are here sometimes, but not always.

 

 

Shirley Tracy

 

From: Marianne Denning
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 2:02 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

I think all of us use many different methods to accomplish a goal. I think any of us who live with someone who can see call on that person for help sometimes. My sighted husband also calls on me to do things that I can do faster or better than he can. We keep our pots and pans in a lower cabinet next to the stove. Since we are both getting older I can get down on the floor to get what he needs faster than he can so he asks me to help with that.  

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Cristóbal
Sent: Friday, March 5, 2021 7:22 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

The blind men and the elephant analogy etc.…

There are times where I may have dropped or misplaced something and instead of deploying my super blindy locator skills, I just call out for my sighted wife instead. Independence be damned…

Same thing with the Internet. I can try troubleshooting something on my screen or just call her over to see what the heck is on my screen that’s giving me such fits. It’s often an overlay pop up or something that’s messing with my screen reader.

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Friday, March 5, 2021 3:24 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

On Fri, Mar 5, 2021 at 02:30 PM, Marianne Denning wrote:

I was working with someone who worked for another blindness company and the person asked me if I had a sighted person who could help.

-
I want someone to explain why this question is offensive.

When you're at a help desk, any help desk, the goal is generally to get a fix as quickly as possible.  There are times where having a sighted assistant can greatly speed things along.  There are times when there really is no substitute for sight when it comes to getting maximum speed and minimum fuss identifying what's happening.  Joseph Lee once said to me, in regard to web browsing, that the sighted (which would include me) see a webpage (but this would apply to anything displaying on a screen) as a gestalt, taking it all in at once, and filtering out the irrelevant versus relevant visually without even realizing you're doing so.  A screen reader user goes element by element through unfamiliar territory and cannot "take it all in at once."  Those are simple facts.

If you don't have access to a sighted assistant, then the answer to that query is, "No, I don't have easy access to a sighted assistant."

Asking whether such is available is not meant, not should it be taken, as a slight to someone who's blind.  I cannot imagine that most in the readership here have not, on multiple occasions, had someone who could see around who could "instantly" identify something you've been struggling with for hours such that you want to scream and rend your garments.  Examples of this completely unrelated to the computer abound, too.  My "value added" most of the time is that I can see something that's, sadly, either not accessible or not accessible quickly and easily and could take a screen reader user hours to find because of how a given program/screen is structured.

If your job is to try to fix an issue as quickly as possible you use all the tools at your disposal, and as a help desk tech there are times where a sighted assistant is a really handy tool to have.  If not available, you try another way, but in many instances it will invariably take much longer.  But if you don't ask whether an optional tool, in this case a sighted assistant, might be available you're not doing your job, or at least not doing it well.  
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide

 


 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 02:35 PM, Cristóbal wrote:
We often lose perspective on the greater picture
-
And that, right there, is the very crux of the matter.

And not just the blind/VI part, but that the folks you engage for assistance actually have expectations placed on them that have nothing to do, directly, with helping you and that are often pushing them to dispose of you and your problem with maximum possible dispatch.  That's actually a core part of the job of virtually anyone who works telephones for any purpose.  I'd imagine that the email support from Freedom Scientific also has metrics regarding how many responses they can get out and how quickly they handle the email queue.

For any one of us, no matter what our personal circumstances, it's not all about me, me, me.   I have used this quotation in rotation for my signature on more than one occasion:

It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.

         ~ John Andrew Holmes

And all those others have needs and goals that must be balanced against yours, and that are sometimes diametrically opposed to yours.  That's the big picture.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


Judy
 

Mary Ann, being a person who uses a pc with jaws, but also has an iPhone, it is so different how the two companies handle their disability support. I have found that Microsoft, has to be directed like some have said, and if they want to take over and fix it for you that’s nice, but I’m not learning anything if it happens again. When I call Apple support, they go through the problem step by step, and if requires remote access to my phone, they still tell me what to do. Now I do realize that theirs is a system where everyone has voice over, unlike having a pc which can be using various screen readers, but you would still think a company as huge as Microsoft could have some people better trained. JMHO Judy & Libby

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io [mailto:main@jfw.groups.io] On Behalf Of Marianne Denning
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 1:45 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

I am not talking about the mainstream companies. The reason we call a disability help desk in a large company like Microsoft is because they have the knowledge on how to work with people who are blind. I usually find that the people at the Microsoft help desk want to take over my computer and make the changes and I go along with it. In an ideal world they would walk us through a nonvisual way to get the job done but I know that won’t happen any time in the near future. If I need them to do all of this visually that is certainly job security for them.

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of David Diamond
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 12:26 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

I really cannot believe that anyone who is blind does not understand this, I really can't.  And if that's offensive to say, so be it, because it is a fact, and one that is never, ever going to change. Definitely true and no I don’t find it offensive.  There has to be a meeting in the middle though. Sometimes people expect others to cater to them and on the other side of the equation, the other person can refuse to change their terminology or practices. Years ago I’d run into with my phone company those who would say, “It can’t be done!”  When I delved into it the fact was they never tried to do it, just assumed it couldn’t be done My idea is, at least try and do something don’t just say it can’t be done.        

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: March 5, 2021 9:55 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 12:36 AM, Leedy Diane Bomar wrote:

There are many reasons why this is the most imaginable offensive question.

-
Then, Diane, we definitely come from very, very different worlds.  I can come up with at least 20 questions, off the top of my head, that exceed this one in offensiveness.

There can be people who are being offensive, but I have very clearly explained why it is foolish, yes, foolish to assume that without additional evidence

And I will say, again, that all accessibility is a workaround.  In the case of screen readers, it is the substitution of audition for vision.  The two senses are in no way directly equivalent.  This will always entail compromises and while the experience can be substantially the same when it comes to text-based information, it will never be for many things that cannot be captured that way.

And the idea that "light dependence no longer needs to be the only way to access information" has been here, now, for quite a while.  But the fact is, and will always remain, that visual media, and anything on a computer besides text is just that, is going to be designed primarily with that in mind.  That it should be accessible, to the maximal extent possible, via other means should be a given in good design.  But do not delude yourself into thinking that even things most ideally designed for maximal accessibility can, or will, ever be able to give you "exactly the same information" that the sighted get, because they can't.

And, by the way, my earlier comments regarding tech support was for tech support dedicated to screen reader users or users of other assistive technology.  Most techs not in that arena have no reason to know about assistive technology.  It is not cost effective to try to train every generic help desk person in how to use a screen reader, particularly since most larger companies do have dedicated AT support and smaller companies have to pick where their money goes  If there is not a substantial blind user base of a given product, and the maker is a small company down to "mom and pop," they cannot reasonably be expected to have screen reader literate tech support.

And that's not because you're less of a person, or less worthy of respect  It's because you are part of a tiny minority in the general population and there are limited resources, financial and otherwise.  I really cannot believe that anyone who is blind does not understand this, I really can't.  And if that's offensive to say, so be it, because it is a fact, and one that is never, ever going to change.    
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


Dan Longmore
 

Diane,

  I hear your frustration however the truth is that , as a blind person, I will always need assistance in one form or another.  I don’t think most tech supports thinks blind people are dumb .  They are just trying to get another set of eyes on the scene.

Our world has taught us that needing help is a weakness when in actuality it is a form of strength.  Strength in that it shows humility.  Believe me this is a lesson in process for me.

Dan

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Leedy Diane Bomar
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 12:00 AM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

Brian,

There are many reasons why this is the most imaginable offensive question.

It is asked by almost every help desk to which I have spoken.

Sometimes, it is said as: "is there someone there that can help?"

Which means "someone with sight" which implies that a blind person is not a ":"someone". Also, if I had this invisible friend, caretaker, babysitter, etc. wouldn't I have already thought to ask for their help? Why do sighted people assume that, we as people who cannot see, have a sighted person at our beckon call. Who pays for this helper?

 

Most of the time it is the fault of the company that a sighted assistant may be needed because their developers did not consider the needs of non-visual access. I believe in making this their problem, not mine! How will they ever learn that it is not a blindness issue, but a product development/design issue, if they always have a "sighted person" to solve the problem. That is NOT independence or encouraging full inclusion through accessibility.

 

I am always snarky in my response to this question, try to be humorous, and explain why it is the most insulting offensive question ever! I often tell them that my guide dog can see the screen, but she cannot speak. I am sick and tired of the assumption, especially at help desks, and particularly at accessibility help desks for the person I am calling for assistance wants/expects me to have a sighted person readily available! 

The problem is the lack of accessibility, not the fact that I cannot see the screen. There are so many options in design that light dependence no longer needs to be the only way to access information. I am not less of a person, less worthy of respect or assistance, because my eyes don't work. It is the developer's job to include non-visual access in their products, and I believe that we all need to let them know that.

 

Many times I may have a blind friend visiting, and the tech help desk person hears the person say something, and immediately asks if that person can get on the phone. I explain that this other person is also totally blind, and immediately they are discounted as that "someone who can help." This question, by far, is the most insulting offensive question, and the most often asked.Why that question is offensive! 

 Diane Bomar


On Mar 5, 2021, at 16:24, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

On Fri, Mar 5, 2021 at 02:30 PM, Marianne Denning wrote:

I was working with someone who worked for another blindness company and the person asked me if I had a sighted person who could help.

-
I want someone to explain why this question is offensive.

When you're at a help desk, any help desk, the goal is generally to get a fix as quickly as possible.  There are times where having a sighted assistant can greatly speed things along.  There are times when there really is no substitute for sight when it comes to getting maximum speed and minimum fuss identifying what's happening.  Joseph Lee once said to me, in regard to web browsing, that the sighted (which would include me) see a webpage (but this would apply to anything displaying on a screen) as a gestalt, taking it all in at once, and filtering out the irrelevant versus relevant visually without even realizing you're doing so.  A screen reader user goes element by element through unfamiliar territory and cannot "take it all in at once."  Those are simple facts.

If you don't have access to a sighted assistant, then the answer to that query is, "No, I don't have easy access to a sighted assistant."

Asking whether such is available is not meant, not should it be taken, as a slight to someone who's blind.  I cannot imagine that most in the readership here have not, on multiple occasions, had someone who could see around who could "instantly" identify something you've been struggling with for hours such that you want to scream and rend your garments.  Examples of this completely unrelated to the computer abound, too.  My "value added" most of the time is that I can see something that's, sadly, either not accessible or not accessible quickly and easily and could take a screen reader user hours to find because of how a given program/screen is structured.

If your job is to try to fix an issue as quickly as possible you use all the tools at your disposal, and as a help desk tech there are times where a sighted assistant is a really handy tool to have.  If not available, you try another way, but in many instances it will invariably take much longer.  But if you don't ask whether an optional tool, in this case a sighted assistant, might be available you're not doing your job, or at least not doing it well.  
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 04:09 PM, Dan Longmore wrote:
as a blind person, I will always need assistance in one form or another.
-
You could cut that "blind" out of that sentence and it remains equally true.  None of us gets through this life without constant need of assistance of one form or another.  The form differs, and sometimes the amount differs, but we all need assistance, and the wise seek it out when they do.

There is a difference between trying to figure something out, and realizing you've reached the stage of throwing good effort after bad, and never lifting a finger and being truly dependent.  Frustrating oneself for hours or days rather than asking someone else who may know what it is you need is not independence, it's stupidity, and that's regardless of visual status.  And if we're talking about an employment setting, that sort of bullheadedness can get you fired.  It's about getting the work done with collaboration/assistance as needed.  Of course, constantly seeking out help before trying anything independently will get you fired, too (and make you very unpopular with your coworkers).

Life is about finding balance.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


Monica S
 

Hi, one thing I do is whenever I call Microsoft, I ask them to tell me the steps with keyboard commands and I write them down.  I hope this can help someone for any future needs.

 

Sincerely,

 

Monica

 

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Judy
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 2:35 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

Mary Ann, being a person who uses a pc with jaws, but also has an iPhone, it is so different how the two companies handle their disability support. I have found that Microsoft, has to be directed like some have said, and if they want to take over and fix it for you that’s nice, but I’m not learning anything if it happens again. When I call Apple support, they go through the problem step by step, and if requires remote access to my phone, they still tell me what to do. Now I do realize that theirs is a system where everyone has voice over, unlike having a pc which can be using various screen readers, but you would still think a company as huge as Microsoft could have some people better trained. JMHO Judy & Libby

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io [mailto:main@jfw.groups.io] On Behalf Of Marianne Denning
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 1:45 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

I am not talking about the mainstream companies. The reason we call a disability help desk in a large company like Microsoft is because they have the knowledge on how to work with people who are blind. I usually find that the people at the Microsoft help desk want to take over my computer and make the changes and I go along with it. In an ideal world they would walk us through a nonvisual way to get the job done but I know that won’t happen any time in the near future. If I need them to do all of this visually that is certainly job security for them.

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of David Diamond
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 12:26 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

I really cannot believe that anyone who is blind does not understand this, I really can't.  And if that's offensive to say, so be it, because it is a fact, and one that is never, ever going to change. Definitely true and no I don’t find it offensive.  There has to be a meeting in the middle though. Sometimes people expect others to cater to them and on the other side of the equation, the other person can refuse to change their terminology or practices. Years ago I’d run into with my phone company those who would say, “It can’t be done!”  When I delved into it the fact was they never tried to do it, just assumed it couldn’t be done My idea is, at least try and do something don’t just say it can’t be done.        

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: March 5, 2021 9:55 PM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!

 

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 12:36 AM, Leedy Diane Bomar wrote:

There are many reasons why this is the most imaginable offensive question.

-
Then, Diane, we definitely come from very, very different worlds.  I can come up with at least 20 questions, off the top of my head, that exceed this one in offensiveness.

There can be people who are being offensive, but I have very clearly explained why it is foolish, yes, foolish to assume that without additional evidence

And I will say, again, that all accessibility is a workaround.  In the case of screen readers, it is the substitution of audition for vision.  The two senses are in no way directly equivalent.  This will always entail compromises and while the experience can be substantially the same when it comes to text-based information, it will never be for many things that cannot be captured that way.

And the idea that "light dependence no longer needs to be the only way to access information" has been here, now, for quite a while.  But the fact is, and will always remain, that visual media, and anything on a computer besides text is just that, is going to be designed primarily with that in mind.  That it should be accessible, to the maximal extent possible, via other means should be a given in good design.  But do not delude yourself into thinking that even things most ideally designed for maximal accessibility can, or will, ever be able to give you "exactly the same information" that the sighted get, because they can't.

And, by the way, my earlier comments regarding tech support was for tech support dedicated to screen reader users or users of other assistive technology.  Most techs not in that arena have no reason to know about assistive technology.  It is not cost effective to try to train every generic help desk person in how to use a screen reader, particularly since most larger companies do have dedicated AT support and smaller companies have to pick where their money goes  If there is not a substantial blind user base of a given product, and the maker is a small company down to "mom and pop," they cannot reasonably be expected to have screen reader literate tech support.

And that's not because you're less of a person, or less worthy of respect  It's because you are part of a tiny minority in the general population and there are limited resources, financial and otherwise.  I really cannot believe that anyone who is blind does not understand this, I really can't.  And if that's offensive to say, so be it, because it is a fact, and one that is never, ever going to change.    
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide


val and david paul <valanddavidp@...>
 

Lucky someone who would get you for support!


Val.

On 06/03/2021 19:19, Brian Vogel wrote:
On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 01:44 PM, Marianne Denning wrote:

If I need them to do all of this visually that is certainly job
security for them.

-
As an aside, and there are members here who can attest to this, even when I am assisting a blind client to DIY I still ask for remote access with screen sharing at a minimum, but full remote control typically.

I may never touch a thing, but it helps me to make sure that what I'm telling someone to do, and what actually happens after they do it, are what I expect.  There are times when I give an incorrect directive, and there are times when the person being assisted does not follow a directive correctly even though they intended to.

My being able to actively monitor what's occurring using sight, since I happen to have it, is a bit of an insurance policy against unintended results.

I actually prefer, when I am taking control from my end, that a screen reader user keeps their screen reader on, as I like for it to narrate what's going on as I do it.  I can tune a screen reader out when I want to with ease, but I don't want the client to be unaware of what's going on, and I'll give added verbal information as needed.
--

Brian -Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042

*One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.*

~ André Gide