NiaWanda Park in Tonawanda New York – Today we begin Journey 2014. It has been a long 365 days for Our Ability, from disability workshops, motivational speaking, building Our Ability Connect, video production as well as general advocacy. While there so much to do still and so much we have accomplished, we are proud to be back on the Erie Canal. The Erie Canal is a symbol for economic development in this country from the success in the mid-1800s to the success we’re building with individuals with disabilities across New York State.
Today’s journey takes us 37 miles in total. We are joined as always by Doug and Pam Hamlin, Andrea, Ariel, Owen and John Robinson. We have added Owen’s good friend from youth hockey – Nate Hussar. Trish Zdep will be along with us again to support and make us laugh. This year as part of NYSARC‘s 65th anniversary, Jayson White an Eileen Palmer(and son) will bike alongside in support. We are so proud of our affiliation with NYSARC’s 65th anniversary.
This morning we are joined by Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara, Heritage Centers, The Resource Center and The ReHabilitation Center. We will have 200+ people seeing us off this morning.
As always, we have produced video stories. Stories are sponsored by NYSID – thank you NYSID. Here’s the first video story from our introductory barbecue hosted by Doug’s sister Priscilla and brother-in-law John Maddock. We feel like part of their family and are blessed to be included.
At the end of last year, I did not believe we would ever do this again. But when we were asked by individuals with disabilities to do this again we were proud to say yes. We ask your assistance. If you have not done so, please donate your website. Click here to donate. If you have, please share us on social media sites as often as possible and tag us with #journey 2014. And, keep watching!
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We firmly believe that the internet should be available and accessible to anyone, and are committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of circumstance and ability.
To fulfill this, we aim to adhere as strictly as possible to the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) at the AA level. These guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us ensure that the website is accessible to all people: blind people, people with motor impairments, visual impairment, cognitive disabilities, and more.
This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times. We utilize an accessibility interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs.
Additionally, the website utilizes an AI-based application that runs in the background and optimizes its accessibility level constantly. This application remediates the website’s HTML, adapts Its functionality and behavior for screen-readers used by the blind users, and for keyboard functions used by individuals with motor impairments.
If you’ve found a malfunction or have ideas for improvement, we’ll be happy to hear from you. You can reach out to the website’s operators by using the following email
Our website implements the ARIA attributes (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) technique, alongside various different behavioral changes, to ensure blind users visiting with screen-readers are able to read, comprehend, and enjoy the website’s functions. As soon as a user with a screen-reader enters your site, they immediately receive a prompt to enter the Screen-Reader Profile so they can browse and operate your site effectively. Here’s how our website covers some of the most important screen-reader requirements, alongside console screenshots of code examples:
Screen-reader optimization: we run a background process that learns the website’s components from top to bottom, to ensure ongoing compliance even when updating the website. In this process, we provide screen-readers with meaningful data using the ARIA set of attributes. For example, we provide accurate form labels; descriptions for actionable icons (social media icons, search icons, cart icons, etc.); validation guidance for form inputs; element roles such as buttons, menus, modal dialogues (popups), and others. Additionally, the background process scans all of the website’s images and provides an accurate and meaningful image-object-recognition-based description as an ALT (alternate text) tag for images that are not described. It will also extract texts that are embedded within the image, using an OCR (optical character recognition) technology. To turn on screen-reader adjustments at any time, users need only to press the Alt+1 keyboard combination. Screen-reader users also get automatic announcements to turn the Screen-reader mode on as soon as they enter the website.
These adjustments are compatible with all popular screen readers, including JAWS and NVDA.
Users can also use shortcuts such as “M” (menus), “H” (headings), “F” (forms), “B” (buttons), and “G” (graphics) to jump to specific elements.
We aim to support the widest array of browsers and assistive technologies as possible, so our users can choose the best fitting tools for them, with as few limitations as possible. Therefore, we have worked very hard to be able to support all major systems that comprise over 95% of the user market share including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge, JAWS and NVDA (screen readers), both for Windows and for MAC users.
Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible. Still, we are continually improving our accessibility, adding, updating and improving its options and features, and developing and adopting new technologies. All this is meant to reach the optimal level of accessibility, following technological advancements. For any assistance, please reach out to