Notes for blind audience

DECT 4724; Twitter/IRC saizai; Signal/WhatsApp/Telegram +15103944724; gender neutral pronouns please

Sense without sight: A crash course on blind navigation (Fahrplan)

Learn to see the world without your eyes. Wonder what it's like to navigate while blind? Want to learn to use your everyday senses in ways you don't know you don't know? In this talk, I hack you with permanently enhanced sensory perceptions.

This is very participatory, not just "sit and listen", and workshops are even more hands-on (blindfolded w/ cane in hand).

Dear blind audience (and other disabled people)

Intent of this talk

As you know, describing disabilities to abled people is extremely difficult, especially when trying to avoid reactions like pity, fear, false impressions of understanding, etc.

I made a few deliberate decisions that affect this:

  • target a sighted (mainly hearing) audience with presumed negative (i.e. mostly incorrect) knowledge of blindness
  • target the live audience in preference to the video audience
  • discuss the sensory experience of blindness, rather than everyday experience like accessibility issues
  • show how to interact with blind people implicitly troughout the talk (using a designated "helpful asshole" assistant as a proxy, contrasting with my own actions), rather than just telling
  • avoid issues specific to me (or other specific subsets of blindness), or implicit questions about how much vision I have, by using a blindfold throughout
  • avoid geographicallly variant issues like tactile paving, crosswalk indicators, etc.
  • address "elephant in the room" tropes explicitly, with humor (e.g. walking onto stage wearing a rainbow bandanna mask in the Daredevil style before taking it off to reveal the sleep mask)
  • completely disregard computer accessibility, Braille, and other non-sensory / non-navigational topics (since this would already push the time constraint of a 1 hour slot including Q&A)

I believe that this approach is more likely to generate positive outcomes, and I tested for it by a detailed feedback form both pre- and post-talk (and pre/post workshop). The form includes the Social Responsibility about Blindness Scale (SRBS) and Social Desirability Scale (SDS), which have been used in academic research about disability simulations and other interventions.

I am very interested to know what you think of it.

Audio description

Chaos Communication Congress has had volunteers do live translation of its talks for about 8 years now. However, they've never done audio description before.

As a speaker, I specifically requested that my talk be audio-described for a blind audience, since it would be ironic if my talk about blind navigation were itself not accessible to blind people. The live translation team stepped up to the challenge, and as a result, a live audio described version is available as an option (but only in English).

To access it, go to the video player's bottom-right buttons. Fullscreen is the bottom-right-most button. One left of that is a gear button with video and language options. Further left of that are speed, volume, and time control. In the video/language option control, the audio description track is one of the top two choices, both of which are labeled "eng 1080p (mp4)".

The talk itself is live-translated into German (select "deu 1080p (mp4)" in that menu), but the AD is only in English, sorry.

As a warning, the AD is not very good, but it's better than nothing. It was (like the talk itself) highly experimental. The volunteers' native language is German, and they've never done AD before. Please note that I am not male, and use gender-neutral pronouns. (The AD team did not always follow this.)

If you know someone willing to contribute a better AD track, please email me (ccc@s.ai) and Simpel.


... are not available yet, sorry.

If you are or know someone willing to contribute subtitles, go to the @c3subtitles page for it.