01 March 2007

Bravo to WestJet.... New Website for Vision impaired

In the late 1980s when I first started to work at TWA-PARS I worked at a desk inside the Res Center in Kansas City. Space was a problem as I was part of a new group focused on Technology and new systems. Over in one corner of the res center was a small group of people who were working on something I had never heard of before. The small group of people didnt last long but they were just as good as any other res user. Except for one thing - they were all blind. Using a system called a Versa Braille and a cobbled together system using a Lanyon board they were able to take reservations. Whether this ever made it beyond a test stage I never found out. However i have always felt that the one thing we suffer in the Web age is our ability to handle it without sight.

Coincidently this week two events occurred which brought this back into focus for me. My mother (who is 96!!!) told me she can no longer see to read - the one thing she always loved to do. This is very thought provoking especially for people like you and me who spend so much time in front of these screens. The other event was WestJet (Canadian LCC) who launched their website for the site impaired.

More power to Westjet and my Mum has employed someone to read to her.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I'd Googled "Lanyon Board" because I'd heard that there's a company selling second-hand ones - and came across your blog.

The system to enable blind reservations agents to use the TWA res system indeed went live at the res centre somewhere near Madison Square Garden in New York, and we sold at least ten ALC Boards to various organisations supporting blind and visually-impired people. Their productivity was startling abd I remember an impressive and moving demonstration that some TWA people did at one of our user meetings in something like 1988 - I'm afraid I've forgotten names.

Does your mother still live in Cambridge?

With best wishes

Nick (Lanyon)