Website Accessibility: A first hand experience dealing with web access and the Canadian Government

I would like to tell you about a fabulous experience I had yesterday. I wanted to register myself in the Canadian Government procurement system. I am visually impaired and cannot see my computer screen so this kind of action is anxiety provoking.

First, I have to find out where to register and each website I go to has many links to discover. While I am going down the links list, I hear the various links being read out to me via my screen reader. I have to remember which ones I should go back to after I discover the whole website.

I wish I could still glance at the screen and see which link I want to go to but that was in the old days when I had sight.
Finally I found the site to register and the correct link and then I got nervous; will the form to fill in be accessible to my screen reader or will I have trouble filling it in?

I decided to call the listed number and the woman who picked up listened to me explaining that I could use some help in getting registered and she said no problem. She went on to say that last year a blind person came to their office to explain what it is like using a screen reader when navigating a website and she was amazed at how the screen reader worked and how important it is to be able to have website accessibility that works.

Long story short, I felt, ah, I have landed at the right place. The person then suggested that instead of me doing the work on my computer she could do it for me on her computer. Wow, she saved me from stress and two hours.
As we went through the questions and steps, she described verbally all of her key strokes and thoughts for each field. So personal, the moment was so perfect I cannot tell you how good the experience was. I felt at home and someone was there to help me in the most perfect way. That is how website accessibility is supposed to work in varying degrees.

She then went on to tell me how difficult it is for a sighted person to imagine navigating a website would be without sight.

It is the holiday season and I want to tell everyone that there are many people who go out of their way to help me in the same way this story describes. Thank you to all the nice people out there.

Everyone, please promote website accessibility as there are so many people who could benefit and feel good about what they are doing at the same time.

Thank you all for reading this.

Best regards,
Sheldon Lewis
Access You Can
Website Accessibility