Friday, January 25, 2013

Hunting for Accessible Accounting Software

Finding accessible accounting software is a hot discussion right now within the Washington Council of the Blind. Quicken and QuickBooks are accessible for screen-magnifying software, but not screen-reading software. One of my friends stumbled upon software that claims to be accessible right out of the box: Accomplish CashManager. Freedom Scientific's screen-reader, JAWs, works with PeachTree Accounting Software using scripts. If you have feedback on either of these products, please share!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inserting braille characters on the Mac

Inserting braille has to be done one character at a time using Special Characters and the Apple Braille font. This works in TextEdit and Adobe CS. Using the Mac version of Word, look for the Apple Symbol font.

On the Apple desktop menu, go to Edit > Special Characters, click on the settings button> Customize list, select Code Tables, Select Unicode, select Braille Patterns, 00002800, double-click on the character you want to add to favorites, such as w, c, b, click the Add to Favorites button.

(It helps to know braille, but you can turn VoiceOver on to hear the character.)

To insert these chosen letters into a document, you have to bring up the character viewer, Favorites, then double click on each character. You can highlight and adjust the size.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ramping up in 2013

This year, the Washington Council of the Blind is combining the Public Relations Committee and the Web Oversight Committee. Can you hear someone hyperventilating in the Pacific Northwest?

Priority number 1: Change the organizational goals for the website

Currently the website gets traffic three times three times a year: around board meetings and before convention. Highest number of unique visitors: about 430. It's basically a filing cabinet for the members. That's a start.

The definition of success: a website that generates traffic and spurs visitors to take action.

One person cannot make the website successful. A handful of people on a committee cannot make this website successful. There has to be input and "buy in" from the members.

To become more useful for members, potential members, partner organizations, donors, and media we need to review the current website content.

1. We will read the evaluations provided by the American Council of the Blind Public Relaltions committee last summer.
2. We will survey members, research our target audiences, and compile compelling content
3. Develop a process and timeline for making changes to the website
4. Develop a process and timeline for keeping content current
5. Promote the new content changes

Priority number 2: Public relations education

We will use traditional news releases, phone calls, email, and flyers. Members have to get comfortable with these tools. It is possible Rick Lewis can help us with PSAs for delivery on YouTube.

We need to access our social media capability. Who is using it? What platforms are they using? How well are they using it?

This week I am developing an editorial calendar that will help us keep content current... and praying for guidance.