Why is Braille not bet on money
it feels like there is an inflation of Braille in everyday life. You can find them on ICE seats and in toilets, as part of the room lettering, on medicine packaging. You can find out why this can damage and how it can be improved in this article.
Somebody, I think the office of the handicapped representative, sends me invitations to events in Berlin on a regular basis. There is always a card with a Braille printout. They end up in my waste paper unread, I have not yet found out how I ended up in their mailing list, but the trip to Berlin is too far for me for an evening vernissage or a movie. The point is, Braille printing on such cards costs a lot of money, even more in small numbers, and is completely useless to most of the people the part is being shipped to.
In Greece, a law is said to have been passed, according to which all restaurants should have menus in Braille ready. If Braille is not much more widespread in GR than in Germany, I have no clue, I wonder who came up with this absolutely pointless idea. Braille causes problems that are only known to blind people: Since you have to touch the text with your finger and paper is an excellent carrier for fat, germs gradually build up in the fat layer on the letters. If they have been read a few times, you will at some point have a wonderful spinner, especially in the gastronomic sector. We're not talking about food stains. If paper of this type could be disinfected at all, it would probably not occur to anyone to do so. Personally, I don't really care, but I know blind people who wouldn't touch a book that someone else has read. It can of course be argued that banknotes are similarly contaminated, but you rarely have such intensive contact with them.
Who can Braille?
It is an open secret among the blind that most blind people cannot braille. Those who have attended a school for the blind or have undergone rehabilitation for the blind - basic blind technical training - can usually use Braille. Braille is difficult to learn and keep for people who become blind later.
What is the old man getting upset about?
At first glance, it doesn't hurt anyone if something is equipped with Braille. But it does harm indirectly. It ties up resources that would be better used elsewhere. The prices for Braille business cards are absolutely insane and as I said, if it is not about symbolism, total waste. The likelihood of meeting a blind person who wants your business card is low anyway. The probability of meeting a blind person who wants your business card and can read Braille is beyond certain industries = 0.
The silence of the sighted
As a blind man, I often joke: With a visible disability, you often have the freedom to fool. The sweater is dirty, the fly is open, the guy smells like a polecat - it doesn't matter, he's blind. Don't say anything, or he'll be sad, offended, or suing you for discrimination.
A similar mechanism works when it comes to measures to deal with blindness. Anyone who, as a sighted person, argues with money or logistics problems can prepare for a shit storm. As a result, any nonsense can be sold with the argument of inclusion or accessibility. But it is just the case that the resources are finite and those who have spent money on nonsense lack the money for meaningful measures. If that gets across to the advisors of the blind associations and whoever is still active in this area, we can perhaps switch over to suggesting measures that are not only symbolic but also practical. Honestly, which sighted organization would dare to say today that Braille lettering, for example, is too expensive for them and that guidance systems in small, closed buildings are as superfluous as a goiter? Here we come across the dark side of profiteering with inclusion and accessibility.
You can accuse me of criticizing XING and other providers for their inadequate accessibility. But I have always given my reasons for this: There is a quasi-monopoly, the resources are available, or one has praised one's accessibility or is obliged to do so.
What is the solution?
Now I'm not someone who likes to complain without presenting an alternative. And this is so simple that I am surprised why no one mentions it: it is called tangible black print. Black script is what we call script that sighted people read. It is not a great effort to make it tangible. We have the appropriate machines, we have 3D printers, we have fabric that can be easily cut out and glued on.
The advantage of this tactile writing is that it can be read by the late blind as well as by children born blind. The latter have to learn black script in school. And it doesn't hurt to know the shape of the black letters later on.
The characters can also be read by people who are completely excluded from the blind scene: people who lack the sensitivity in their fingers to read Braille. Every sighted person I have asked so far has had great problems tactilely recognizing the dots of more complex Braille characters such as the K, the O and so on.
The letters made of plastic or metal can be kept hygienically clean and replaced if necessary. Above all, they can be read by sighted people, with which they can determine whether the information is still correct. This is the problem with office lettering, for example: although the office numbers are on the signs, the names of the respective employees are not, because this is difficult from an organizational, financial and spatial point of view.
There is one advantage for the severely visually impaired: They can also scan the letters. This is because it is disadvantageous for them if the office labels are at waist level and not at head level, because they may have to lean forward to read the hip labels.
Of course, it doesn't make sense to produce longer texts with it. It is not easy to scan many letters. But what speaks against giving blind people an iPhone on which they can read the daily menu? The few gestures he needs for this can be shown to him if necessary. And if he can't cope with it, reading the menu or whatever for himself won't be his biggest problem. Another possibility would be a simple DAISY player, which the operator of the establishment could discuss himself in case of doubt and thus keep it updated on a daily basis.
Much of what is supposedly done for the blind is, unfortunately, purely symbolic politics. I have nothing against Braille and, by the way, nothing against symbolism, but my understanding ends where symbolism is not opposed to anything practical for the majority of the blind. Despite Braille, I have never once managed to find my seat on the ICE on my own. Scanning the sanitary facilities should be a bit disgusting affair for someone without very much.
And those responsible actually believe that they have done something good for most of the blind. We already know this from behavioral research: There is the phenomenon that people who have done something good believe that they are allowed to behave badly, it is, so to speak, the karma of behavior, in the end plus minus zero comes out. The conductor wonders why he should lead the blind man to the square when the train has spent tens of thousands of euros on place labels. The restaurant owner invested 200 euros in the Braille menu, but the blind man wants the waiter to read what is available. The hotel employee does not want to bring the blind man to his room, everything is written in Braille, what is that supposed to be good for? Why have we now installed this guidance system when the blind man walks all over the place anyway? And these questions are unfortunately justified, because whoever has touted or sold these systems has not properly clarified those responsible, in case of doubt of course because they do not earn any money without a contract.
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