The Blank Paper
June 26, 2017

Hi, I’m Marg.

I have been part of the OutofBox Solutions Team since November 2015 working as an Accessibility Tester.

I was born with Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, one of the many forms of retinal dystrophy. I had a small amount of vision out of the corner of one eye as a child, but it wasn’t very useful, so I have functioned as a person who is totally blind all my life, but this doesn’t mean I’m not independent.

It is common for people to assume I need help and sometimes I do, but a lot of the time I don’t.

I had arranged to meet a colleague on a corner in town one day and three people stopped to ask if I needed help. This is not necessarily a bad thing because there is the occasion when help may be appreciated


Here’s an example of what can happen when people make assumptions.

My internet wasn’t working, so I called my provider for help. The first thing the technician says to me is, “How many lights are on and what colours are they?”.

Hmmm! Interesting question for a person with no sight. I told him I couldn’t tell him because I’m totally blind. His response to this was, “Can you ask your Carer to have a look?” and when I said I don’t have a Carer here, he wanted me to call back when my Carer arrived. It took five minutes to convince him I don’t have a Carer at all.

A big part of the reason I can live alone without much outside help can be attributed to the technology available today. Some of the things I use are bar code scanner, talking scales, talking measuring jug, mini guide, iPhone with VoiceOver and laptop computer with JAWS.

I have been employed in various roles including Receptionist, Information Line Coordinator, Call Centre Operator and Braille Transcriber/Proofreader. Technology has changed over the years, but without it I would not have been up to the task of being a fully functional member of the workplace.

Over the coming weeks I will be posting information on how I use some of my technology.

I look forward to your comments and questions. Remember, the only silly question is the one you don’t ask. I prefer people ask questions rather than make their own assumptions because often these assumptions are wrong.

Watch this space for more from my world.

Marg Shanahan is part of Accessibility Assurance Team. Marg has been user of assistive technologies for past 30 years & has witnessed a whole era of Digital Disruption.