Have you ever wondered if you were to walk in the dark, how far can you make it? Waiting for the darkness to fade, and brightness to come your way again. But what if the darkness stays longer and longer, and it doesn't even turn bright; Not today, not tomorrow, not anytime you know, and it doesn't seem to stop?
For Ruth, that's how it has always been. It's how her world started, when she was brought into this world and everyday she's lived until today. Going about her days in the same world we are in, there has been no special lane for her to make it through each step of the way, and there has been no hand that can always help her through when she is lost in the midst of the crowds and ongoing contests with everyone fighting for a spot.
But is it really impossible to keep walking in the dark?
Call it a miracle if you may; In 2006, two fully blind men named Michael Curran and James Teh developed a free screen reader software called NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) that allows accessibility to read texts on the computer for the blind community through the text-to-speech and braille functionality.
Ruth has been using NVDA since 2012 when she was studying at university until today. From conducting online classes for children refugees from Myanmar, Iran, and Sri Lanka on Zoom during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, to diving into technical recruiting today, she has utilised NVDA at its full potential to sail through the competitive market in the tech industry.
"What's your experience like, using NVDA?"
"It's very easy to use, but there are some websites that don't follow the accessibility guidelines, especially the new ones, making it inaccessible for NVDA to read it," Ruth chuckled as she explained further how she had to do the extra work of converting unreadable files at her past employment to a readable version before it can be translated into an audio for her to read. "More website developers should be aware of this when they developed the website."
Disability inclusion is a growing discussion in the tech world. Will highlighting the matter when sharing their project portfolio help developers be ahead of the competition at the top ranking companies that regularly revise their diversity and inclusion practices?
Ruth hopes that there will be more disability awareness and inclusion practised globally, so the blind community can also have better access and opportunity to make a decent living through building their career as industry players in the ever growing and competitive market.
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