Episode 15 – Unstoppable On Wheels with Josh Basile

 In Podcast

Through social media, the news, and elsewhere we encounter stories of people we say are inspirational to us because they have some sort of disability. We can’t imagine how they do the things they do. No matter how many such stories we find, we still are amazed. On Unstoppable Mindset, my goal, in part, is not just to show you such stories, but to give you a chance to meet the people behind the stories, yes those amazing people.

Meet Josh Basile, a C4-5 quadriplegic. He wasn’t born a quadriplegic, but he grew into the role after an accident. Josh will tell you his story and how he decided to go into the law. He will tell you how his decisions after his accident shapes his life today.

I hope you will not be amazed after this episode. Instead, I hope you will gain greater respect and greater value for people who are different from you. Listen and see how such persons live, love, and enjoy life just as you do. I hope that you will see that we are not as different from you as you think.

Some directories do not show full show notes. For the complete transcription please visit https://michaelhingson.com/podcast

About our Guest:
Meet Josh Basile a C4-5 quadriplegic, power wheelchair user, disability rights advocate, and lawyer. In 2004, at the age of 18, Josh was paralyzed below the shoulders in a beach accident. Soon after he formed a 501(c)3 to empower newly injured families through SPINALpedia.com and its 21,000 paralysis-related videos. As a medical malpractice lawyer and disabilities rights advocate, Josh serves persons with disabilities both in the courtroom and through policy initiatives. As a community leader and change-maker, Josh works tirelessly to improve the quality of life the persons with disabilities and to continuously break down existing barriers to access and inclusion. To improve web accessibility and usability, Josh joined accessiBe and that accessFind initiative as the Community Relations Manager.

About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.

Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.

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Transcription Notes

Michael Hingson 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.

Michael Hingson 01:21
And welcome to another episode of unstoppable mindset, the podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. And it’s always fun if we get to have something unexpected happened on the show, and sometimes unexpected guests and we’ll see how it goes today. We have, I think a very interesting person for you to meet today. He’s someone that I met through accessibly. But he has a fascinating story to tell. And let’s get right to it. So I’d like you to be Josh Bassel. Josh, welcome to unstoppable mindset.

Josh Basile 01:56
Michael, it’s great to be here today.

Michael Hingson 01:58
Thanks for for coming. So you do why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about you.

Josh Basile 02:06
Alright, so my name is Josh Basile. I live outside of Washington, DC and Maryland. My life changed forever. When I was a teenager, I was 18 years old. I went on a family vacation to the beach and a wave picked me up and threw me over my boogie board and slammed me headfirst against the ocean floor. That day, I shattered my neck and became a C for fat quadriplegic.

Michael Hingson 02:37
So, needless to say, you had a life changing event. What What was your reaction? How did you how did you feel? You must have experienced some fear? And lots of uncertainty? How did you how did you work through all of that.

Josh Basile 02:55
So I guess we could start with the initial fear. So like, when I had my injury, I just remember hearing a loud crack. And it like reverberated throughout my entire body. And all of a sudden I couldn’t move at all. And I was facedown in the water, I was unable to like scream for help, I was unable to turn my body and just kind of was just floating in the ocean. And all I could do was try to remain as calm as possible and hope that my friends would see me floating in would come out and grab me in and saved my life. And luckily they did that day. And then when it comes to fear of, of kind of transitioning into a new world of functionality and a new world of kind of dependency on in so many ways. I that was definitely a huge change. I went from a college athlete to someone that couldn’t even brush his teeth anymore. And it was it was a big it was a rude awakening, but so much of it kind of for me to overcome it was about perspective and having a different mindset of, you know, there’s so much with with my injury that I can’t do, but I choose to not focus on that I focus on what I can do. And it’s it’s there’s lots of little things that allow me to really always proactively continue to move forward.

Michael Hingson 04:31
So we talk about the things that you can’t do, I guess, you know, as a as a person who happens to be blind, you know, I hear all the time about how you can’t do this or you can’t do that. How do you how do you react to that? Being in a chair and being a quadriplegic? And I guess what I’m getting at I’ll tell you kind of my thoughts is, are are that is it really so much you can’t do or you have to do in a different way. way.

Josh Basile 05:02
So for me, it’s like before my injury, I did things, 1 million ways. after my injury, I get to do it 1 million new ways. And it’s different. But different, could still be fun different could still be meaningful. It’s just you know, the way I brush my teeth now is not with my hands. I do it through through the hands of a caregiver. I, you know, doing a different sport. Before an injury, I skied on my two feet. Now I ski in a sled with somebody behind me Holding, holding it. And you know, I’ve flying down the mountain. So there’s a million different ways that I get to do new things. And it’s just a matter of having the right creativity. And at the end of the day, it’s really having a willingness to try to put yourself out there, and to experience all that life has to offer.

Michael Hingson 05:54
The founder of the National Federation of the Blind Jacobus timber once wrote an article and Tim Burke was a constitutional law scholar, he wrote an article called a preference for equality. And he talked about equality, I’d be interested in your thoughts on this. And what what he said is that a lot of people say, well, it’s only equal, if I give you a pencil and paper and you write, you know, that’s, that’s equal, we’re giving you the same things we give everyone else. And what he said was that equality doesn’t mean that the equality means that you have the same opportunity, but you may use different techniques, different tools, but that you at least are allowed to, or you are given the opportunity to use those tools to be able to accomplish the same task.

Josh Basile 06:39
Or yeah, with equality without it’s, we all have our own unique experiences on how we do things, how we experience life. So you know, having an equal opportunity to experience and to participate, and to have different options to do it the way that you would like to do it, or the way that you can do it. But being being a part of this world, you know, so much of the internet is about, you know, people talk about accessibility. But you know, for me, it’s almost more important for it to be about usability and usable. And it’s like, there’s different things of that nature that you can kind of talk about kind of equal access and equal this, but it’s, for me, it’s like, is it going to be functional, to my life to my unique world, and there’s so many different types of disabilities, so many different types of functionalities. And it’s, it’s important that it works for the person that is trying to be a part of it.

Michael Hingson 07:35
Which is really the whole point that equality isn’t about doing something exactly the same way with the same stuff. Equality is being able to accomplish the same task. I thought it was interesting years ago, was it Jack Nicklaus, who had a hip replacement or someone and needed to use a golf cart. And so there were some issues about him going on a golf courses with a golf cart when everyone else had to walk. And they had to work through that.

Josh Basile 08:04
It was, it was definitely it was a golfer in the, in the like the, around the 2000s, that that ended up having to do that. And it went to the Supreme Court, and they found that he was able to use the golf cart, and that it was a reasonable accommodation.

Michael Hingson 08:20
Well, for blind people who wanted to take the LSAT and and go into law, there were a lot of challenges because the the testing programs required that you took the test in a certain way. And eventually at least they provided some equipment, but it wasn’t necessarily the equipment that blind people use. And so it really put people taking the test at a disadvantage. And again, it went to the Supreme Court, ironically, lawyers of all people who ought to really be upholding the rights of all people. But it had to go to the Supreme Court before a final ruling came down that said, Well, of course, people can use the screen readers and the technologies that they are used to to take the test.

Josh Basile 09:06
Now and that’s, you know, that’s always kind of kind of boggled my mind. How even within the LSAT, how there’s so many different discriminatory factors that have that have existed over the years. When I graduated college, I decided to go to law school and I took the LSAT myself. And during that time, everybody that had a disability that had an accommodation there so anybody with accommodation, they created a flag on the test. And basically it’s it told every single place that you applied every school that you applied, that this person has a disability. And only after while I was in law school, there was a class action lawsuit that I believe originated in California, that ended up like saying that you can’t do that you can’t that is completely against Ada, you can add, you can add, be able to disclose that a person has a disability during the application process. And there there was, you know, a class action settlement across the United States. But it’s, it’s, it’s kind of crazy how that stuff is, is there and continues to happen?

Michael Hingson 10:21
Well before your accident when you were 18. And of course, you’re you’re not that old now you’re at least 25. Right? So before your I know, before, you’re 36. So before you were, you were put in a chair, you you had your accident, what were your career goals.

Josh Basile 10:41
before my injury, I was a business major and art minor in college. And for me, I’ve always loved the stock market. So I wanted to become an investment banker. And that was the route that I was trying to pursue, or I’d like a dream internship that summer, my injury and I would have loved to continue to work for my boss that summer as a as a career afterwards. But I’m definitely my injury, I flip things upside down, it changed life forever. And I quickly learned that my voice and my mind were my best assets. Physically, I was limited in what I can do. But mentally, and through my, through my advocacy skills, I could do great things. And that’s when I decided to go back to community college, and I went to undergrad, and then graduated magna cum laude through law school, and it was a it was definitely a long adventure with the patient I decided to go through. But in the end, it was totally worthwhile and is open so many doors to an opportunities within the employment world. And I’ve very much enjoyed working for since 2013.

Michael Hingson 12:04
So why did you decide to switch and go from investment banking into law.

Josh Basile 12:11
So basically, just to become as strong of an advocate as I could possibly be, you know, with undergrad, I was a communication major. And so my voice getting really strong and my ability to influence others and change the world around me. And then I just knew law school would give me a unique mindset and approach to really taking it to the next level. And, you know, law school is incredible to it teaches you kind of how to think like a lawyer. And then you have to get in the world and you actually have to kind of have a specialty to take on. And that’s when I took on medical malpractice and catastrophic injuries and help families all across the country, the lawsuits and helping them navigate kind of also how to get the community supports they need for independent living when it comes to caregiving or pursuing vocation through the vocational system. There’s there’s so many different elements to what happens after our college Strophic injury to kind of reenter society and actually have a better quality of life.

Michael Hingson 13:16
But you worked through it, you chose to not give up, you chose to move forward and do something with your life, which is of course the whole point, isn’t it?

Josh Basile 13:27
Absolutely, it’s, um, life is too short not to, to live, love and laugh, and put yourself out there to be the best you and you know, before my injury, you know, our let’s say, after manage Dre like, Yes, I have a different body, but I’m still, I’m still me. I just have, you know, a sexy power wheelchair to get me around. And I’ve got different technology and different caregiving supports that allow me to do things that I would have done before. But it’s, it’s definitely one of those things that like you just, I try to I try to let families know that within this life, like I’ve mentored 1000s of families through my nonprofit determined to heal. And one of the big things is, after an injury, you need to learn how to advocate for yourself, you need to learn how to become your own best advocate, because nobody’s going to fight harder for you than you’re going to fight for yourself in your life. So learning kind of what it is to give you the best opportunities to give you the best supports, and to be able to be that captain of the ship as you’re going along this life journey. It gives you a great power in what direction you’re gonna go. And it gives you the ability to you know, accept help and that accepting help is not it’s not a weakness. A lot of people think of an accommodation school as a weakness. It creates an evil Been playing field just to allow you to show what you have. And being able to get support through friends, family caregivers to help you along your journey is just, it gives you extra boost along your way along your voyage is basically having crewmates instead of sailing ship of one year sailing a ship of the 10. That’s a much easier voyage.

Michael Hingson 15:25
The issue of accepting help is one though, where you need to be the one to decide what help and and when you need help. Which, which is always of course an issue people, a lot of our well most of the time want to help and sometimes help when you don’t need help, which which can be a challenge and of itself.

Josh Basile 15:47
Yeah, no, it’s it’s hard. A lot of a lot of persons with disabilities are very stubborn. You know, I see it a lot within the paralysis community. The difference between a quadriplegic and a paraplegic. So a quadriplegic is somebody that has immobility in all four extremities. a paraplegic, has a mobility in two extremities. And so often paraplegics, in many ways, they, they want to do everything on their on their own and show their independence, which gives them their power. With a quadriplegic, you’ll see somebody is way more open to receiving help, and is accepting of it, and is willing to, like, try and train somebody to help them do different tasks, but it is, it’s the different mindsets of are you it doesn’t really, for me, it’s accepting help, doesn’t matter. Or if you’re paraplegic quadriplegic person without a disability, it’s just a matter of opening your your arms to being able to allow others to be a part of your life and contribute. So many people just want to help because they want to, they want to give it’s it’s a good feeling to give. And it’s, it’s, it’s it’s kind of a different dynamic, depending on the personality of who you’re talking to.

Michael Hingson 17:06
Sure. And about. And then the reality is that, that we all should be more interested in receiving help when we need it. And we should also be willing to give help, and offer help. And I tell people all the time, look, don’t assume I need help, and don’t operate under the assumption that I want help crossing the street. There’s never anything wrong with asking if I want some help, but accept the answer. If I say no, because there are also a lot of times that I don’t want help. For example, when I used to travel around the world trade center, and looked like I was lost, I probably was and the reason I was lost was because I worked to getting lost. So I could figure out more about how to travel around the center and and learn things and there would be times I would ask questions. But it was important to learn the complex, because I wasn’t going to use the same visual cues that you would use.

Josh Basile 18:13
I love that about persons with disabilities that we we are faced with so many barriers on a daily basis. But that allows us to be kind of really fine to problem solvers. Like we’re really able to like figure out, you know how to overcome challenges, how to get to where we need to go, how to complete puzzles, how to complete? Well, you, you name it, and it it’s like the practice that we do every single day gives us a special kind of ability beyond many other people. And it’s I think this is one of our greatest contributions that we can give to the workforce in general is that, you know, you you give us a problem within a company, we’re going to be able to approach it probably a lot differently than than other employees that you have, just because we we do it every day we put our 10,000 hours in to become experts, expert problem solvers.

Michael Hingson 19:14
I know that you have seen this and seen some of the statistics, both before and in your time at accessiBe and we’ll talk about that. But one of the things that we both get to talk about on a regular basis is the fact that when companies decide to make themselves inclusive, whether it be in their advertising, whether it be in their hiring practices and so on, but when they decide to make themselves inclusive to persons with disabilities, the reality is we also tend to be more loyal because we know one it’s harder to find a job when we’re facing a 65 plus percent unemployment rate among employable people with With Disabilities, and to that, it’s harder to, to deal with various aspects of a company, if they don’t make it more inclusive. So when we find companies and organizations that are inclusive, we tend to be more loyal to them.

Josh Basile 20:16
Absolutely, it’s data statistics, you name it, studies have been done, and conducted that have proven that the disability community is, is either the most, most brand loyal community, in the world in the United States. And it’s because, you know, we’re not always taking care of correctly, but when we are, it’s, we don’t forget it. And we advocate and, and share with friends family, we’d let others in the community know that this company, this organization, gets it, they’re doing it, right, they’re welcoming, and those good experiences. We don’t forget it. And we look forward to those moments when somebody gets it. It’s, it’s kind of, I think, it’s amazing that we’re having so many more of these kinds of conversations around inclusion and disability, and that companies are starting to get that this, this needs to be a part of their business, it needs to be a part of their their business culture. And the more that we do that, I think we’re gonna see some major changes coming up in the years to come. But obviously, we’re still a long way away. But it’s, I’ve heard more about this in the last, you know, two years than I did in the last, you know, 17 years of my injury.

Michael Hingson 21:42
Well, it’s true, and we need to be more part of the conversation, how do we get more people to include us in the conversation? It’s all about education, but how do we get people to accept us and include us as, as a class in the conversation, the conversation of life, if you will.

Josh Basile 22:06
For me, it’s always about having a seat at the table. Too often, persons with disabilities are an afterthought, because they never had a seat at the table from the beginning. And they they were just then recognized later on when enough noise was made that there that somebody was like, Alright, now let’s, let’s deal with the disability that are of our business or society of this law, have, you name it, it’s just no, we don’t have enough representation, and all aspects of society, in my opinion, whether it’s within, within the legislature, within the business world within education, transportation, we need to have way more persons with disabilities being employed, being employed in positions of leadership, being able to have people get it from the top down, that that Disability Matters. And that disabilities is something that it’s it’s a way of approaching a system in place of availing inclusion and providing accessibility providing options for all abilities. And it’s it for me, it’s like it’s a win win. If when when organizations get it, when legislators get it, and they incorporated there, they’re actually just making it stronger. Everything they put forward ends up becoming stronger, because it it ends up working for more and more people and giving more options. It’s it’s, you know, people look at curb cuts. And you know, that’s that’s one of those things that it’s made for persons with disabilities. But guess what, everybody that uses it is benefiting from it. And they don’t want to live without it. So being able to put together more kind of inclusive pieces of the puzzle to society. For me, it’s just a win win, but we need to have more people at the table to be able to make sure it gets done. Yeah.

Michael Hingson 24:16
So you went off to law school. Where did you go?

Josh Basile 24:21
David Clark School of Law at the DC Public Interest Law School.

Michael Hingson 24:26
Cool. So you, you went you graduated, then what did you do?

Josh Basile 24:32
So I immediately went to work. So I was in law school, I, I interned for a federal judge. I then worked at a law firm, and then worked at the US Attorney’s office worked on the Health Committee under under Senator Harkin, and then I ended up getting an internship at my current employer. And after finishing law school, I just I continued working with him. And it’s been there since 2013. And I’ve loved every moment of it.

Michael Hingson 25:09
It’s fun, especially when you can blaze a trail.

Josh Basile 25:14
It’s it’s, you know, the thing with lawyers is all lawyers are for the most part nerds. And they’re just very smart. They love, they love, either studying reading or are, you know, are willing to go the extra mile like, anybody that ends up doing law school and taking the bar exam. That’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of time, a lot of energy spent away from friends, family, it’s a commitment. Um, so most of the turn attorneys are nerds. But as a medical malpractice attorney, and catastrophic injury attorney with a significant disability, I love it. Because I get to be an empathetic nerd, I get a B, you know, there for families in ways that most attorneys can’t I get what they’re going through, I understand what they need in place to have a better quality of life, I can communicate with them. And it’s most cases that we take can take anywhere from two to four years to either settle or to go through the legal process of getting a judgment through the courts. And even then, sometimes there’s delays because it gets appealed. It’s a it’s a long process. But as an attorney, with a catastrophic injury myself, it’s, I really enjoy it. Because I get to connect with with my families more than anything,

Michael Hingson 26:32
you must be in a position to help make a more powerful case. Because if you said you have a catastrophic injury yourself, you’ve been through it.

Josh Basile 26:40
Yeah, no, absolutely. There’s, it resonates. I think with the jury, I think it resonates with the judge, and also resonates with the defense, that’s on the other side, when you’re doing depositions, or you’re doing negotiations, and they’re like, this person doesn’t need this. And then you’re like, you know what they actually do, but I, I can have some lived experiences beyond the experts that we bring to the table that are saying what we are arguing, but, you know, so much of when it comes to bringing cases, it comes down to the Battle of experts, and both sides end up getting somebody that argues one angle, and then it’s up to the jury to decide what what is fact and what is fiction.

Michael Hingson 27:26
So you’re working for a private firm today?

Josh Basile 27:29
Yes, it’s a plaintiffs firm. So we only represent families that have been that have been injured,

Michael Hingson 27:35
that have been injured, right? Well, so in addition to doing that kind of work, you’ve you’ve obviously gotten some involvement in doing things like web accessibility, and so on, how did all that come about?

Josh Basile 27:52
So I’m passionate about breaking down barriers for persons with disabilities, whether it’s in the employment, world transportation, independent living, and when I learned that less than 2% of the internet meets Accessibility Guidelines. I wanted to do something about it. And I knew that I could proactively kind of know, I always try to first figure out what is the problem? And what are the best options going forward to come up with a solution, or at least, to be able to have a better approach at at addressing the problem, both in the short term and long term, and so much with the internet is about scalability. You know, we’re talking about hundreds of millions of websites that remain inaccessible. And when I learned about acccessiBe, I did my research, I had different friends in the disability community, do give me their sense of it, and to test different product products that were out there. And what I learned was accessiBe was the real deal. And that this could be a great way of changing the world of the internet, and COVID COVID was happening at the time, which, for me, the internet became that much more important to be able to be to allow persons with disabilities to have access to the products, information and services that as we well know, the internet provides and, you know, having access to that improves quality of life and opportunity and I wanted to do something about it.

Michael Hingson 29:32
How did you discover accessiBe?

Josh Basile 29:35
So A childhood friend of mine ended up moving over to Israel and joined accessiBe’s team in their HR department, and she ended up connecting me with with the founder, the founders of SSP, and I spoke with them. And next thing I know we’re collaborating they wanted they wanted more persons with disabilities to have a seat at the table with an organization, so that they can learn and they can improve, and they can become a better business not only running the company, but also for serving the community that they are on a mission to change lives. And, you know, I, you know, hearing that and seeing that, and being a part of that, since February, I’ve just, I’ve been wowed by by them as a company, and SSB is just doing all the right things. And it’s, um, I know, there’s, it’s been a long way since February. And but it’s always been a forward moving progression. And, and as an advocate, I love I love moving forward,

Michael Hingson 30:45
what are some of the specific problems that you face in accessing the internet.

Josh Basile 30:50
So it’s basically navigating a page is one thing, you know, being able to go from start to finish and checking out fully. Now I’ve been on a website where I’m using my Dragon Naturally Speaking, and I can’t jump to a different forum, to be able to fill out my contact information, my address, or do a drop down to be able to see what’s there. I guess, you know, if I’m only able to access specific parts of a website, I’m missing out on all the other parts that everybody else is afforded. without a disability, I use my mouse controller. To control my mouse, I also use an onscreen keyboard to navigate a webpage, I use voice dictation to type. And I also use a screen reader for reading. So I have multiple different technologies that I’m using at once. And if a website has accessiBe built in access, accessibility built into it, or usability built into it, I’m able to navigate it so much better and gain from it the way that it was meant to be gained, that people put information on the website for a purpose. And you know, it’s just a matter of are you going to be able to access it or only be able to see or experience half of what the websites truly trying to show.

Michael Hingson 32:15
I know for me, using a screen reader exclusively to hear what’s on a web page. When we deal with images where there are no descriptions, or we deal with an element that requires you to use a mouse or it expects you to use a mouse. So as you scroll through items, the screen refreshes, which means you really can’t get to see what all the options are without the screen refreshing and it takes you forever to go through it over just two examples of some of the access that we we face that I face and other people who are blind face and you face some of those things, things as well. And the reality is, and I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it, we live in such a marvelous technological world, where it is so easy to make all of this stuff fully inclusive. And it’s in some ways becoming less inclusive, because we make it more visual, or we want to make it more automatic to diffuse that little mouse to scroll around the screen. And we forget that that doesn’t make the website inclusive for everyone.

Josh Basile 33:24
It doesn’t. And you know, we make internet work for everyone has not been easy over the past 25 years really of the internet, being you know, more mainstream, but it’s, you know, keep working towards it. And the thing I love about accessiBe is that there’s many different profiles for many different disabilities and abilities, and then being able to use those profiles, but then also to be able to have customized options below that to even further make it accessible or usable or making it work on how you personally want to navigate a website. And so many people with disabilities, you know, have multiple disabilities. So like being able to, like have usability options for for that is you know, through accessories AI powered solution. It’s like there’s nothing else out there that exists that I’ve been able to use that I have a physical disability. I’ve ADA HD and I have a reading disability. So incorporating all three of those things sometimes makes websites a little difficult to navigate. But then when you have the AI powered solution, I’m then able to customize with the mobility profile and be able to customize with other options with ADHD as well. I guess it’s incredible what you can do when you give people choice and power and how they want to navigate. Tell.

Michael Hingson 34:58
Tell me about the ADHD profile.

Josh Basile 35:01
So the ADHD profile, basically, you know, allows you to have a better, I’d say, it blocks out kind of the top and bottom of the of, of your eye is so that it’s kind of blurred out a little bit, but it’s darkened. But then as a focus area where you can go up and down the screen, so that your eyes focus on one particular area, without having distractions from all over the page. So many websites, they try to grab you here and there, and everywhere. And you’re with ADHD, the littlest thing can like, can pull your attention away and distract it. Yeah, I always like to, you know, there’s a great Disney Pixar movie called up, and there’s a dog and every time the dog sees a squirrel, because squirrel, and like I that’s too often on a website, if I see something, my mind goes away, and then it’s hard to get my mind back to where it needs to go to get the most out of the website or what my task at hand.

Michael Hingson 36:05
So does it prevent pop ups, for example?

Josh Basile 36:09
Well, I’m not I’m not sure. I don’t think it prevents Papa fits in. Right? I gotta,

Michael Hingson 36:17
it may be the way that the visual stuff. Yeah,

Josh Basile 36:21
yeah, it creates kind of that, that perfect kind of line of sight of where to focus on and direct. I know that epilepsy profile for the pop ups in progress that is blinking or as motion.

Michael Hingson 36:37
But but the point is that, that there are a number of different profiles, and it’s, it doesn’t necessarily deal with all disabilities within the artificial intelligence system. For example, there’s not a lot for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. But the other aspects of accessiBe do address that dealing with the ability to have video captioning, and so on. So there are other things that accessiBe now does and we both have talked about the fact that it’s a growth issue that accessiBe has grown to recognize and put in place the procedures to deal with that. I

Josh Basile 37:19
love that they have, accessiBe now as remediation services for PDFs, they have remediation for, for video captioning, it’s like, all of these different pieces of the puzzle is what it takes to make a website accessible. And they’re also doing manual remediation. And going in and making necessary changes either from the beginning or later after like it’s, there’s there’s so many different ways of making a website accessible. Obviously, the best way is to always do it right from the beginning. Yeah, and you know, I even say even having a website that was perfectly done from the beginning, but then adding the AI, the AI powered solution thing gives you that much more power and choice, and how a person with a disability or multiple disabilities can experience a website. And it’s, it feels very welcoming when it’s when it’s done like that.

Michael Hingson 38:13
So what do you do for accessiBe Since you’re busy with a, with a job in a law firm, and so on, but you do work with SSP? What do you do?

Josh Basile 38:22
I’m the community relations manager. So I bring in persons with disabilities, disability focused organizations, to be able to work with us on our different projects and initiatives. One of my favorites is called Access Find where we are, right now if you go to Google, and you type in a website, you have no idea if that website that comes out of the 10 websites do the search are going to be accessible, more likely than not, it’s based just on statistics of 2% of Internet being accessible, it’s not going to be and that’s a frustrating experience of not having confidence in knowing whether or not you’re going to be able to navigate that website fully. So what access find is going to do, it’s only going to house accessible websites through its database. So you go you go there and you’re going to be able to know that all of the search results are accessible. And we’re building it out. We have over 40 family member organizations that we’re working with, to make sure that we do right with and all of these organizations have a seat at the table as we’re building out the beta website. So it’s gonna be very exciting. But come 20 22x is fine is going to go Live for the world. And it’s just I just can’t wait for it to to be a resource and a service for persons with disabilities.

Michael Hingson 39:49
How do you think that the world will react to access find?

Josh Basile 39:53
I think I think it’s gonna be one of those things that everything around web accessibility, we We need to provide education for I think X is fine in its own right, is an incredible educational tool acknowledges the fact that so much of it is inaccessible. And that, you know, the Googles of the world had an opportunity to do something to make it easier. And they never took, they never took the opportunity or they they made a business decision that, you know, it is not worth addressing this. And the fact that exists, we took the time spent hundreds of 1000s of dollars to make this this in existence, I think it’s just says a lot about accessiBe as a company, that they care that they want to do something for actively about making the internet more accessible. And they wanted to create a product, by the name of with the community for the community. And that I think that’s just, I think I think it’s just going to be a powerful message to share with the disability community and nonprofits that access find is, is going to be a great tool for them.

Michael Hingson 41:06
It will be the first time that it will truly be possible for people to expect when they’re searching for something, they’re searching for a website, or a company or an organization, it’ll be the first time where people with disabilities can truly expect that they will be searching among companies that are inclusive or are accessible. What happens if we find one that isn’t an access Find, what happens with that?

Josh Basile 41:37
So are you saying a website is put on the X spine and it’s not accessible,

Michael Hingson 41:42
or becomes inaccessible.

Josh Basile 41:45
So that’s just an opportunity right there for for the community, to be able to voice and to be able to share with that website, you know, that, you know, something happened over time, that yes, maybe your website was accessible at a moment. But then over time, it became inaccessible to the point where it needs to be addressed, you know, that the the thing with with web accessibility is not something that it’s like you do it once and it’s forever, like web accessibility is, is is a moving a growing evolving project, where you, you, you have to, you have to have things in place to address it consistently. Because websites are consistently changing, you know, with accessories, AI powered solution, every 24 hours, it does a scan of a website, to be able to, to fix different holes and, and things that are that might be broken or that change or that are new to it and to address those things. So it’s when when a website does come up on accessory that was once accessible, but then becomes inaccessible, it’s an opportunity for the community to speak up. And then we can reach out to that company or that website, and let them know that they need to address it, and give them an opportunity to address it, which is we’re on this journey together. We want to make the internet more accessible. That’s kind of how it has to be done.

Michael Hingson 43:17
How will websites be able to become a part of access find.

Josh Basile 43:22
So that’s still we’re still figuring out all the details on that. But they’re going to have to pass a particular audit test, or multiple audit tests. And those audit tests, be able to basically use the WCAG guidelines to find out if you meet accessibility guidelines. And then once that once that is so it’s accessiBe or access find is 1% not going to just be accessiBe the websites, it’s going to be all any and all websites that meet accessibility guidelines will be welcomed. And we’re excited to have as many websites as possible. You know, if we can have all 2% of websites on the internet that meet accessibility guidelines, a part of access find that for me, that’d be a dream come true. And obviously, we want to get that 2% a lot higher in the years to come.

Michael Hingson 44:20
I think he just made a very important point that needs to be emphasized, again, that this is not just to be a platform for websites that use accessiBe. There are a variety of audit systems that one can use to see how accessible their website is accessiBe has one called ACE and if you go to ace.accessibe.com you can test your website you can plug your website into that and you can you can put the web address in and you can get an audit report and have it even emailed to you it’s free. There are other places Do it as well, they all do basically the same thing. They look for the accessibility features that come under the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, what the World Wide Web Consortium suggests are the things that need to be an inaccessible website. But some do a better job of explaining what they discover than others, I’ve seen a couple that aren’t very easy to read, whereas ace tends to be pretty easy to read, but they are looking for the same thing. It isn’t biased in that sense. But at the same time, the websites are dynamic. And that was kind of what I was asking about that if, if a website goes up into access find, because it is found to be accessible. But then later, someone goes and tries to use that website, because they found it through access find. And it isn’t accessible anymore. I gather, you’re saying there’s going to be a way that that they can notify someone of the lack of access, and it can be addressed.

Josh Basile 46:09
There. There’s absolutely there’s a report feature. And we’re still we’re still testing out all those things within the the beta surveys we’re doing with our founding members. But yes, they’re they’re 100% is a component of reporting when a website goes from accessible to inaccessible, or a lot of times with a count when it comes to accessibility. A person reports an accessibility issue, but it ends up becoming an issue on their end with their technology, or things of that nature, which is always interesting to be able to provide learning opportunities, both through the website or to the user of the website.

Michael Hingson 46:48
You Yeah, I have I’ve found instances where people say that accessiBe or other systems that make websites accessible aren’t working, when in reality, it isn’t the the accessibility aspect of it. It’s the way they’re using it this user error or user problems or user something. And and it is important to recognize that there terror are ways for the system to break down at both ends. If someone wants to explore getting their website into access find, how do they do that?

Josh Basile 47:25
So on access find, even if you go there, right now, there’s a way to list your website, there’s an absent

Michael Hingson 47:33
what’s the web address for access find,

Josh Basile 47:35
accessfind.com

Michael Hingson 47:37
Okay,

Josh Basile 47:38
and then you go there. And there’s, you can kind of learn more about what access finds about, there’s a promotional video. But then there’s also a way to join as a founding member, but also add to list your website. So we’re actually getting those every every single day, Sara charge for that. Zero charge, it’s completely free. Access find, is not going to be like Google or Yahoo, there’ll be zero advertisements, it’s just all about making an easier search and more confidence search for users with disabilities to access accessible and usable websites.

Michael Hingson 48:18
It’s going to be pretty exciting. And I’m really anxious to see it go live and to see people start to use it. And, and it’ll be a lot of fun. And it’s been it’s been a long time coming. And so it will be great to have a way to do web searches and have pretty good confidence that you’re looking at websites that are accessible. You and I know full? Well. I’m sure a lot of our listeners don’t how much of a challenge it is to go deal with websites, especially when you find in accessibility. I had a survey that was sent to me by our health provider two weeks ago and and I’ve seen this happen many times. So the survey they wanted to know my perceptions of things regarding Kaiser at least I assume that’s what the survey wanted. And I the reason I say it’s, I assume is because it started out by saying Did you feel positive about Kaiser, I think it was or negative. And I clicked positive. And then it took me to a web page. So that was in the email. So it took me to a webpage. And the first thing on the webpage was I had to accept the terms and conditions or click on some something and that something wasn’t a link. It was in no way labeled. There was no way to click on it with my keyboard or any of the features that I had. And I couldn’t go any further with the survey. And I see that all the time. It’s frustrating. Yeah, and and it is so unnecessary because it would be so easy to address. And I mentioned it because I did send an email back to the survey people. And I’ve heard nothing. That’s why I keep asking about how we get more into the conversation, because the reality is that to make websites usable for all of us is not that complicated to do today.

Josh Basile 50:26
It isn’t, but it’s one of those things, we, we have to do educational awareness campaigns, not only for persons with disabilities, but for small businesses to let them know that this is an option. It’s an it’s a, it’s a it’s an option that can allow them to, to get and better serve all all of their visitors. And it’s that excites me. I know, I know, where we we’ve got a lot to do around education around awareness. And I mean, this conversation today is one of those things that, you know, it’s got to start somewhere.

Michael Hingson 51:06
It does in and it has to continue, and I think it will, it’s a matter of continuing the conversation and becoming visible. And and we will continue to do that. Look, do you have any? I’m sorry.

Josh Basile 51:21
I very much look forward to doing it with you, Michael?

Michael Hingson 51:25
Well, I as well, I think we’re we are making a difference. And we’re going to continue to do that. Do you have a way of people want to reach out to you and ask you questions about access find or anything like that, that they can do that?

Josh Basile 51:38
Yeah, the you can email me at Josh. Dot basil. That’s B as in boy, A S as in Sam, I l e@gmail.com. That’s my email address. Feel free to message me.

Michael Hingson 51:57
Great. Well, I want to thank you again for being here. And I want you to come back as as often as you want. When you have things you want to talk about, let me know. Because that’s the only way we’re going to have the conversation continue. And we’re going to make it happen. accessiBe has this goal still of making the internet fully accessible by 2025. That’s a pretty ambitious goal, but we have a few years yet to go. So if we do it by the end of 2025, we got four years in a month. So let’s see what we can do. But we have to start somewhere, as you said,

Josh Basile 52:37
Mike, what’s always a pleasure. Everything that you do and the hard work you do and it’s just it’s It’s fun being on this journey with you.

Michael Hingson 52:48
And it’s got to be fun. Otherwise, why do it? You know, life’s an adventure. And so it is it’s a lot of fun,

Josh Basile 52:55
fun and meaningful is what it’s all about.

Michael Hingson 52:57
Indeed. Absolutely. Well, Josh, thank you for being with us on unstoppable mindset. And, again, for anyone listening, we hope that you’ll go to the website MichaelHingson.com/podcast M I C H A E L H I N G S O N .com/podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast. You can do it through any podcast hosts that you normally go to. And wherever you found this podcast, we hope that you will at least give us a five star rating. And reach out to us and let us know if there’s anything that you’re interested in. In hearing or knowing more about or any comments that you have about our podcast today. You can reach out to me, Michael H I M I C H A E L H I at accessiBe A C C E S S I B E.com. I will respond to emails. So we’d love to hear from you. We’d love to hear your thoughts. If you know anyone who should be a guest on our show, please let us know. Let them know have them reach out. And we hope that you’ll join us in future episodes of unstoppable mindset

Michael Hingson 54:16
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.

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