Diego Kusnir is a licensed clinical psychologist, performance artist, and writer in San Francisco. He began performing spoken word in 2008 about his experiences being partially blind. He performs stories and comedy and provides trainings on disability across the country. He researches the use of art and personal narrative about disability to reduce stigma toward people with disabilities. He is completing a collection of autobiographical short stories about being partially blind and maintains a blog on the Huffington Post. He has a private psychotherapy practice in San Francisco, where he works with teens, adults, and couples, often working with issues of gender, race, disability, and marginalization. To learn more about any of his work visit this page: Articles in the Huffington Post or email him at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
How I met Diego
I met Diego after he raised his interest in my company, Inclusight. We offer website testing opportunities to people with disabilities. He shared with me his passion for writing and doing videos about disability. Diego is very good at making people realize how complicated our lives could be if we had access needs. I asked him to write an article about web accessibility and I am very proud to share his amazing work. Well done Diego!
Screenshot of a video conversation between Juliette living in London and Diego living in San Francisco.
Can you imagine your life if you didn’t have access to the Internet?
A bigger screen really makes a difference in the lives of partially blind people
After a 35-pound weight fell on my phone, it was time for a new phone.
A hallmark of being partially blind, or having any special need with technology, is the anxiety and excitement whenever any new technology or update comes out. The anxiety is that our cobbled-together existence of how we make the world accessible could crumble if the new phone decides to discontinue our precious features that make our phone accessible, coupled with the excitement that the new phone will finally resolve all our accessibility needs.
I’m waiting for the phone as big as my iPad, with the virtual responsiveness of Google Home and Amazon Echo, with a keyboard, that could somehow fit in the pocket of my skinny jeans.
With the Note 5, I was more independent. It had opened my eyes to food delivery, grocery delivery, and pods on pods on pods. I had tons of apps. To be clear, I was still a very dumb smart phone user, but I felt pretty genius. And my mouth was drooling thinking of the new Note 7. But unfortunately, they were exploding. The country was more scared of the Note 7 than ISIS! But I thought Sharia law was coming down on me! I desperately wanted one, but they kept on saying no. It’s my American right to risk exploding my hand or my house to have an accessible phone! I just can’t go back to my pre-smart phone, inaccessible days, where I felt so blind.
The 5.5” LG phone immediately gave me headaches that invaded my whole body. I was dizzy and felt like my head was moving in slow motion. I don’t know if it’s the brightness of the screen searing my eyes because my phone has to be so close to my face it touches my eyelashes, or it’s that the pixilation density is too weak to accommodate an increased magnification.
I remember when ZoomText, an enlarging software, had this same problem. Back at version 6.0 or 7.0, the screen would get all blurry as I magnified it to 8x and 10x. My screen was so blurry, it was blinder than me! Finding a Microsoft Word icon was like watching scrambled porn. But the prize was not unscrambling the porn, but being able to start my homework. Eventually, ZoomText released an update and I could blow it up bigger than I even needed. I felt like I was swimming in zooming riches.
My biggest fear and anger is that the designers of LG just thought, “Ehhh… this is big enough” and they didn’t make the effort of testing their product on a wide range of blind people.
A slightly bigger screen, increasing the magnification, or having a resolution that can support this magnification, can make all the difference to how much I can use the phone. And the 5.5” screen is so close, but so far. But I do keep fantasizing, not just of the new Note 8, but from out of nowhere, a monster of a smart phone rains down from the heavens and incinerates the world into accessibility.
Find more about Diego by liking his Facebook page: Pieces of vision