Saturday, March 28, 2020

Some ideas for volunteering while "staying home": I have to look at what would work


Andy Altman has a video on CNET (not embeddable) on how to volunteer when staying at home, especially if expected to do so because of advanced age.

I had discussed the “Folding at Home” project, offering your computing power over the Internet as explained by ThioJoe, on a March 14 posting on the “IT Jobs” blog. He also discusses online emotional support for seniors with a group called Alone.
  
But the most interesting suggestion seems to be to be on call for “Be My Eyes” to offer support for web access for the visually impaired.  This is a smartphone app.
  

The  app has 2.1 million volunteers and 126000 users.  The demonstration video shows a man navigating in a suburban space.
  
The concept is important because recently there has been attention to website ADA compliance. It would sound reasonable that a vision-impaired person could use this at home when accessing a computer. But that setup would seem to assume also that you have some conferencing setup (Facebook or maybe Skype).  I would have to look into how to do this.  But the compliance ideas are a set of standards (which are somewhat subject to interpretation and are being developed) which presume that the client can use a site (especially a commercial one selling products or services or even a non-profit seeking donations) without assistance from another person.  But this app could be part of a solution to a large issue of enabling the disabled to use online access.
  
Many non-profits ask for donations online in a very bombastic manner that is irritating and sounds hucksterish. But maybe some of that is related to ADA use, and some of it is related to a very group-oriented mindset.

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