By Elin Williams
In the last few years, blogs have become one of the most popular innovations in the online world with people of different genders, ages, abilities and interests taking to a blog to share their stories, passions and opinions.
This has also been the case for many vision impaired people, myself included, and I receive many questions about how I started my blog as well as how accessible I find the process of blogging and sharing content through social media.
I established my blog, My Blurred World, in April 2015 to share my experience of living with a degenerative eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa by hoping to raise awareness of disability and help others who might be in a similar situation.
My blog started with a focus on accessible beauty and it has now evolved to a much wider range of topics from concert experiences, think pieces and my encounter with a feeling of loneliness and isolation as a result of my vision impairment.
When starting my blog, the accessibility of the process was a slight concern for me and I understand it is for many others as well. There weren’t many blind/VI bloggers who I could turn to for advice and guidance back in 2015 but, four years later, that has all changed and there is now an abundance of visually impaired bloggers who are all willing to share their experiences with up and coming bloggers and writers.
One of the most common questions I receive about blogging is what platform I use and what I’ve found is the most accessible.
I started out by using Blogger/Blogspot which is one of the most popular blogging platforms. The outlay of the site is simple and I’d heard it was many people’s preferred platform because of this and the ease of access it provided them. However, in terms of accessibility, it wasn’t for me and I then switched to WordPress which has been my platform of choice for the past four years.
Of course, everyone’s preferences differ when accessibility is concerned and although it proved to be slightly tricky to navigate at first, WordPress has been the easiest for me to use with my chosen screen reader and it has allowed me to learn a little more about technology and how to use it effectively. However, I do know of a few VI people who use blogger so again, it all comes down to personal preference.
Blogging consists of a lot of work, most of which I do independently as do many other visually impaired people. But something that can prove to be a little hard to master is the imagery and again, it’s something I receive a lot of questions about.
Many of my blog posts have outfit photos within them due to my passion for fashion and these images are taken by my mum which I am very grateful to her for. I then recruit her or any other fully sighted person’s assistance in terms of choosing the best images to include in my posts.
Even though blogging can come with accessibility challenges at times, there is no reason as to why a blind or vision impaired person should be limited as to what content they can create. Everyone has a story, a voice and a message that deserves to be heard so if you’re currently contemplating whether or not to create your own blog, I’d be the first to tell you to go for it, it’s definitely one of the best things I ever decided to do.
I’ve gained some incredible opportunities such as winning two awards at the Teen Blogger Awards last year, being named as one of the most influential disabled people in the UK in Shaw Trust’s Disability Power List and featuring on TV and Radio programmes, as well as meeting some incredible people which is of course the best part about this entire journey.
Blogging provides people with a new way to speak out, share their story and connect with like-minded people and the community of disabled bloggers is growing by the day which is fantastic. To finish off, I wanted to share some of those bloggers with you since there are so many inspiring and motivational individuals out there who are striving to make a positive change. Here are just a few:
Holly is a 23-year-old Assistive technology officer at York St John’s University. She started her blog, Life of a Blind Girl in 2015 with the aim of sharing her experiences of life as a blind person in a predominantly sighted world. Her blog consists of topics such as concert experiences, employment and the common misconceptions surrounding vision impairment, just to name a few. She was named as one of the most influential disabled people in Shaw Trust’s Disability Power 100 List in 2018 and she has written guest blog posts for many charities and magazines.
Another person named in Shaw Trust’s Disability Power 100 list last year was Chloe, a Leeds Trinity student who created her blog back in 2013 when she was just 15-years-old. With a positive and humorous approach, Chloe’s blog highlights the reality of living with Cerebral Palsy and a vision impairment. She works closely with a number of charities to raise awareness of disability and her blog focuses on her own experiences as well as a broader range of disability related topics in order to help people to gain a better understanding of disability.
Maleeka is an up and coming blogger and vlogger who writes about a wide range of topics, from beauty and makeup to her travelling adventures and so much more. Her blog aims to empower and motivate young people and with a refreshing and positive attitude towards life with a vision impairment, her personality shines through in every post.
Amy blogs about her adventures with her cane around London as well as writing about some of her interests including gaming and how she makes the most of this hobby whilst living with sight loss. She launched the #JustAskDontGrab campaign which has taken social media by storm with many blind and visually impaired people using the hashtag to share their experiences and highlight the importance of asking a blind/VI person if they require assistance before assuming they do.
Emily is a master’s degree graduate, writer and YouTuber whose passion for beauty and fashion is reflected in her content. She started her blog back in 2012 with the aim of making beauty and fashion accessible and inclusive for people who are blind or partially sighted by also hoping to tackle the stigmas surrounding sight loss. She has written a number of articles for a variety of publications and she has worked with a number of influential beauty brands in order to highlight how beauty, fashion and style can be appreciated and embraced by those who are living with a vision impairment.
Some other great visually impaired and disability bloggers include:
- Bold Blind Beauty: A blog which aims to empower blind and visually impaired women.
- Girl Gone Blind: A blog by Maria, a group fitness instructor, podcaster, and a radio contributor who lost her sight due to LHON’s disease after growing up fully sighted.
- Well Eye Never: London adventures and discoveries are all noted in this blog by Glen along with his experiences of living with sight loss.
- Luke Sam Sowden: A lifestyle blog by Luke which covers topics from health and beauty to food and drink as well as his perspectives of living with a vision impairment.
- Thinking Out Loud: With a humorous and honest approach, Sassy aims to challenge the stereotypes surrounding sight loss and promote disability confidence through her blog, Thinking Out loud – Sassy Style.
- Amanda Gene: Amanda talks about her own experiences of sight loss on her blog as well as interviews with other bloggers and individuals.
- The Sparkle on Blog: The Sparkle On blog is written for jewellery lovers. Providing detailed descriptions of jewellery styles, components, and design elements so that anyone can make a jewellery purchase with confidence.
- Megan Taylor: A disability and lifestyle blog by Australian writer, Megan.
- Simply Emma: Emma is one of the UK’s leading disability bloggers and her blog consists of reviews and guides to help people gain the best and most accessible travel experiences.
- Shona Louise: A disability and lifestyle blog by Shona which consists of interviews, musical theatre reviews and articles about the latest hot topics in the disability community.
- Life of an ambitious Turtle: Fi is an active disability campaigner and her blog shares her experiences of living with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy as well as writing about her 6-year-old who has Retinitis Pigmentosa in amongst many posts about motherhood.
- From Sarah Lex: Some of Sarah’s passions include beauty, fashion and writing, all of which she expresses on her blog as well as sharing her experiences of living with a disability.
And of course, there are many, many more! Do you have a blog where you share your experiences of living with sight loss or any other disability? Please feel free to share it with us, we’d love to give it a read.
Written by Elin Williams