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BlindGumption is my journey into blindness and accessibility.

Welcome to the home of BlindGumption

Update: 2022-09-14

I've been thinking over the last few years, while working on other stuff, what to do with blindgumption.com. I can't say I've come up with a good answer. Though I have been playing around more with Python and want to make this site less static. And I haven't given up on the idea of building accessible web based applications.

If anyone has looked at the main-blindgumption repo, the might have noticed how much duplicated static HTML there is. That's what I want to address first. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep the articles already writtne, maybe in some archive. Or I might move them to my github pages site. If you're looking for my old notes, they might be at Joel's Static Stuff .

I have started a Python package to generate accessible HTML from classes representing HTML elements. The code is open source (MIT) and can be found at github.com/joeldodson/pymenable. It's very much a work in progress and is very early stage.

My current thought is to build blindgumption.com using pymenable and htmx. Stay tuned....

Oh, yeah, and ignore the comment below about not changing links to my content. Maybe I'll add some redirects to whatever I'm using for routes in the future. No guaranteees.

And who am I? If you look at the blindgumption github repo, or back a few lines in this update, it's pretty obvious I'm Joel Dodson. Nice to meet you :)


What is gumption?

I looked through several search results for a good, brief definition of gumption to provide a link here. I didn't find anything I liked more than the list of words from Alexa (including, "Alexa, give me more definitions for gumption"),

initiative, aggressiveness, resourcefullness, courage, spunk, guts, common sense, shrewdness

Why BlindGumption?

in May, 2017, I lost my sight. Since then, I've met a lot of very strong and determined blind people. It's not easy being blind in a sighted world. And it can be tempting to let it get to you. It takes a good bit of gumption to keep your shoulders back, hold your head up, run into that low hanging tree branch (metaphorically, literally), and persevere.

Okay, but, "gumption"?

Yes, "gumption" isn't a commonly heard word these days. And I have already had feedback that it's a strange word, especially to non native English speakers. Here's where it started...

I was listening to the classic book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. There's a section where the author discuss the idea of gumption. I really liked how he used the term and what it meant to have gumption. It resonated with me and I thought, I wonder if blindgumption.com is available. It was, lucky us.

Also, though this seems to be speculation with general agreement across the sources I searched, gumption has Scottish roots. And really, who doesn't love bagpipe music?

What is BlindGumption?

As a software developer, somewhat advanced in my career, I want to use my experience to do something to promote and benefit the blind community. BlindGumption is part of me figuring out what that will be. I, along with some sighted friends, will be building some web applications. I have at least three goals for these apps.

First, hopefully people will find them useful and enjoyable. Some are intended for a general audience. Some will be targeting software systems design and development, specifically intended to assist blind software engineers.

Second, these applications will be accessible. They can be used as examples of how to build modern web based software using current technologies to build applications that work well with screen readers.

Third, I want to learn how to build accessible web, and maybe mobile, applications. My career has been primarily in building infrastructure to support these applications. It's time I learned front end development. I also want to be able to show others how to build accessible applications. That might be as an accessibility consultant. And hopefully I will be able to teach other blind people to develop software. Time will tell.

Note: I keep using the term accessible and have only referred to the blind. Accessibility applies to more than the blind. There are the deaf, and the blind and deaf. There are the congnatively challenged, those prone to seizures, mobility challenged and many others. My experience is only with blindness. Also, I can't read braille. My goal is any application we build will be accessible to more than just the blind and will work well with a braille display. I'm hoping this comes from being accessible via a screen reader and that there's no audio/video planned in any of these applications. I might be naive, we'll see.

Good Intentions, Taking Notes

As part of the teaching desire I hve for BlindGumption, and for my own place to keep track of thoughts and things I've found useful, I'm planning to create lots of notes.

Becuase I have visions of grandeur, am generally optimistic, and have a high opinion of my own thoughts, I'll try an ensure backward compatibility for any URLs I create in BlindGumption (to not break any of the plethora of links to my content). I also have a dry sense of humor, I hope that was clear.

Who am I?

I'm not ready to say who I am. It's not a big deal and I'm not going out of my way to hide my identity. I'd just rather remain somewhat anonymous for now. If you really want to get in touch with me, I have a gmail account with "blindgumption" as the user name.