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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

social networking

I am a doctoral student who is interested in the use of social networking sites by visually impaired and blind individuals between the ages of 18-35. I've read about some of the problems associated with many of the most popular sites (such as MySpace or FaceBook) in gaining full and easy access to these sites (for example, regarding the use of CAPTCHA technology).

I am interested in the feedback of individuals who have experienced difficulties in gaining access to social networking sites. Furthermore, I am interested in how individuals interact with those in their local communities and forge connections (e.g., via the internet or by other means within the local community). Any feedback (however brief) to the 13 questions provided below would be appreciated greatly, but detailed responses would be extremely useful also!

Some of the specific questions I am interested in include:

1. How do you normally learn about information regarding issues that are related to being visually impaired or blind?

2. What issues relating to being visually impaired or blind are important to you? That is, are you interested in learning about technological advancements, research, etc. Or, is having social support more (or just as) important to you?

3. How important is it to you to make social connections with other visually impaired or blind individuals via the internet through organizations like the AFB?

4. How important is it to you to make social connections with other visually impaired or blind individuals in your day-to-day life? If it is important, how do you go about meeting other such individuals?

5. If a physical interactive board (as opposed to virtual, website-based one) provided information related to issues regarding the visually impaired and blind was available at a facility in your local area, would you use it? How important is it to you that such a system enable you to post messages for others in the community regarding meetings or other types of notifications?

6. What type of information would you like to be included on such a board (e.g., social gatherings or support, or local cultural events, general news, etc.)?

7. What medium for information exchange on such a board would be best? For example, would you prefer to use a touch-based system, a sound-based system, a combination of the two, or some other type of interactive system entirely?

8. Would you be interested in using a community-based website which caters to visually impaired and blind individuals? If so, do you currently use such a site, and if so which one(s)?

9. In reference to the previous question, what kind of information would you find useful on a community-based website?

10. Do you belong to any social networking sites? If so, which ones?

11. Does the use of CAPTCHA technology deter you from using a site?

12. What solutions might work to overcome the current problems with sites that use CAPTCHA technology (for example an audio version of CAPTCHA), and if they were implemented would you use more readily use these sites?

13. Are you interested in using a social networking site that caters specifically to blind and visually impaired individuals (for example, Do you currently use any of these sites?

Thank you in advance for any assistance that you might be able to provide, and in particular for your time and consideration!

Best regards,
J. S. Curtis

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Re:social networking

Hi J s,

There is nothing for the viusally impaired liek a myspace or anything like that. I am visually impaired and have recently started my own buisness for Consulting and Assisted Learning. I am currently in development of a website which is going ot have all of the things that I want as a vi person. It will have good chat rooms, netorking and dating sites, webcames with drs and so on. So look for it in the ocming months, but in the mean time i have people going directly to my email addresss.

So the long and the short is that the sites stink. THat is just my personal opinion.

If you want to chat pelase email me at myh email because I am not on here a lot.


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