The Seattle Sluggers, a beep baseball team, started playing last year. One of the local TV stations just ran a story on the team. I thought the reporter did a good job at explaining the sport and not making people who are blind sound either helpless or like super freaks, the two ends of the spectrum that can often happen with this kind of story. I am part of the team and find it a nice change from the world of computer accessibility.
The story is at http://www.king5.com/on-tv/evening-magazine/A-Ball-And-A-Bat-And-A-Blindfold-Equals-A-Challenging-Dare-Dever-261174181.html. The direct link to the video is http://www.king5.com/video?id=261174181&sec=583387&ref=rcvidmod. You can learn more about the sport of beep baseball on the National Beep Baseball Association’s home page.
With baseball’s opening day just a couple days away, a friendly note for anyone who might not have purchased a Gameday Audio subscription yet. MLB is advertising this year that if you subscribe to Gameday audio on a device such as an iPhone, one subscription will work on the device as well as the MLB.com web site.
While this is true, the reverse is not. That is, if you subscribe to the web site version of Gameday audio, that account will not work to listen to audio on a device such as an iPhone. If you go the iPhone purchase route, use app settings to add your subscription to the MLB.com web site and avoid paying for two subscriptions.
Every March I do an annual hunt for an online site to complete an NCAA basketball tournament bracket in an accessible fashion. I’ve yet to see one of the major sports sites figure out how to make this experience accessible. Terrill Thompson’s
accessible bracket work does deserve to be called out though as a positive example of what can be done. And of course if you know of other examples of good web accessibility here please let me know.
This year I opted to give Yahoo’s Tourney Pick’em for the iPhone app a try. Measuring accessibility by the fact that I was able to submit my bracket with relative ease, I have to say this app is worth trying.
The app is relatively straight forward to use. Game selections are made from a multitabbed and multipage interface. Each region (East, South, Midwest and west) as well as the final four are a separate tab when making selections. Rounds within a division are separate pages within that tab. Teams are selected by activating buttons named “pickemcheckmark blank” to the right of the team name.
If you prefer to use VoiceOver’s sweep right and left gestures to explore an app, it takes a couple explorations to figure out the pattern of what button is associated with each team. For example in the East region, once you get to the team area, sweep right gestures read items in this order for the first game with Syracuse selected to win.
Selected, pickemcheckmark blank
North Carolina Asheville
The app is by no means perfect. Starting with the fact that “pickemcheckmark blank” leaves room for improvement in terms of button naming for accessibility purposes, you can easily find other instances of oddly named or completely missing names on buttons as you use the app. Live game action views for example have numerous nameless buttons.
Still this app is definitely a positive step. I’ve been able to successfully complete more than one bracket and better yet quickly compare my bracket with family and friends as talk of the NCAA tournament and The Wisconsin Badgers in particular has gone on this week. For the record I have Wisconsin losing to Ohio State as part of the Elite Eight and Michigan State tapped to win it all. But then again I can quickly submit another bracket with this app, at least for a few more minutes this morning.
To fully appreciate the humor here, being a reader of the Packers blog on the JS Online web site helps but I found this little tune kind of funny. The lyrics are filled with references to excuses for the poor Packer play this year taken from press conferences after most of the losses. Listen after the song ends for “Osseo”, a Wisconsinized version of the Beach Boys’ tune “Kokomo”.
Sports journalism is an interesting arena. Where else does new grass make headline news. I read ESPN reporting about a new playing surface for Lambeau Field.
Then too I still have a box of packaged dirt from a previous resod of Lambeau back when the Packers were playing in Super Bowls. The team sold boxes of the dirt at $10 a pop and donated the money to charity. What won’t sell when a team’s doing well?
Here’s a cool tune about Brett Favre someone pointed out to me in e-mail. Favre certainly has become a legend and here’s hoping he chooses to add a bit more to the history he’s creating.