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Interview with Michael Sack

Michael Sack playing power soccer

Each month, Accessible360 showcases a digital superuser with personal insights into the digital landscape and assistive technology. By getting to know them, we learn more about the importance of digital accessibility, borrow their knowledge, and gain insights into important personal preferences.

Michael Sack, Blogger & Data Entry Specialist

Would you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Minneapolis and work at Rise Incorporated in Bloomington. I am a co-writer of the “Two Men On” blog, am on a power soccer [team], and I follow most Minnesota sports teams.
What are a couple of your favorite websites or mobile apps and why?
CNN.com and StarTribune.com to follow national and local breaking news. I found those to be the neatest, cleaner sites for news. I regularly use the Facebook and Twitter apps to catch up on what’s going. I feel that those apps are easier to use than the website because their applications look more orderly and less congested. As far as accessibility apps, I’m curious to see how the new Ability app works when it debuts (http://www.abilityapp.org).
How is digital technology critical to your daily life? Or how does technology improve your life experience on a regular basis?
I have trouble reading [a] regular newspaper, so technology makes it easier for me to follow sports and news. Having things digitized and organized also makes tasks go faster! It is also easier scrolling though articles than turning pages and trying to find things.
What assistive technology do you use when visiting websites or mobile apps?
There [are] just two [pieces of assistive technology] that I use. When a person does not understand me, I use the Proloquo2go app on my iPad. As far as browsing the web, I use either a tracking ball or a mouse pad as I can’t use a normal mouse. I don’t need special equipment for reading on-line.
Can you name some companies or non-profits that have given you the technology support you wanted, either supplying tools or training when you needed?
I haven’t really talked to someone about assistive technology, but I have been in contact with Fraser and Courage Kenny Institute in the past. Also my speech therapist at Transition Plus suggested that I used Proloquo2go.
What are the most important accessible elements you look for in each website or app you use? Or what are the most common accessibility blockers you find when using websites or apps?
I like when websites look neat. For example, when drop-downs don’t merge with other teat. Also, if a website has too much information on a single page, that could cause confusion.
If you could change one thing about the way all websites and apps behave or operate, what would it be? And how would that one change affect the way you use them?
I guess having all websites look neat and organized would be great. It would make for an easier experience for browsing and looking things up.
Can you imagine an assistive technology that you would find useful but does not exist today?
Yes. Future laptops should have a scanner in it so people can easily digitize paper documents. A person would just need to put a paper on a mechanism and push a button, and the document would be on the computer without having to deal with a detached scanner. Also, I would like to see a phone app where I can use a communication device to make calls. Proloquo2go doesn’t let me do that. When you open the phone app, Proloquo2go closes..
Lastly, are there any websites or apps you avoid, have a particularly difficult time using, or just want to call out as being inaccessible?
Yes. Twinscards.com

Thanks so much, Michael! We really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions!

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