Mask up, Minnesota Stay Safe MN with cartoon person wearing plaid mask from State of MN
Accessibility (#A11y)


A lot has happened since my last post. You all know where we’re at as far as elections so I’m not going there. Today, let’s focus on staying connected with families and friends over the holidays while we all stay safe at home!

I was excited to be asked by the State of Minnesota IT (MNIT) Office of Accessibility what works well for me to stay connected to family over the holidays. Check out their newsletter for great ideas for staying connected in Accessibility and Digital Holiday Cards/Experiences: Connect with all of your loved ones this holiday season. If you haven’t already done so, sign up for the Office of Accessibility newsletter because they always have a ton of great information on digital accessibility and inclusion.

Speaking of online meeting experiences, which was one of my ideas mentioned in the Office of Accessibility newsletter, here are a couple stories of recent online meetings I’ve been part of. I find that online meetings that provide auto-captions work best for me.

Microsoft Teams for meeting

In the past, my county assessment meetings to go over my goals, services, needs, etc. have lasted around two hours and it’s really draining because I have a hard time hearing what’s being said. This year, though, was awesome. The county assessment social worker set up a Microsoft Teams meeting. I downloaded the desktop app which provides auto-captions which were pretty good. My mom was following them, also, so would point out when something was incorrect. I had typed up my answers to questions ahead of time, so my social worker read my responses aloud. There were fewer side conversations that distracted us all (mom!).

I hope Microsoft provides Teams for personal use for those of us who need desktop versions. They’ve recently released it in preview for personal use on Android and iOS, but the Android version I tried on my Android tablet doesn’t have auto-captions.

Zoom with grandparents, aunt and brother

Zoom didn’t work as well for me because there were no auto-captions. The meeting experience itself was nice to be able to see my grandparents because my grandpa had just had a surgery and I was worried about him. I couldn’t hear everything, but seeing the smiles and talking with my grandparents, aunt, and my brother up at college was awesome!

Google Meet with my other grandma and aunt

Since I don’t have a license for Teams, Google Meet is what I’ve been using for online meetings. Google Meet has auto-captions. The only downside is that when I move the mouse, the meeting control bar covers up some of the captions, which is a bit of a problem. Hey Google, don’t have the meeting control bar cover up the captions! Again, it’s awesome to be able to see family when we can’t get together in person. You can see the photo below of my Google Meet with my aunt, and my dad who was helping my grandma get her new computer set up.

Please stay safe, mask up, stay home! See you guys in two weeks. Subscribe to my blog down below.

Google Meet pane with Justin and his mom, Aunt holding a phone, masked dad with grandma, auto-caption bar with meeting control bar
Google Meet with me and my mom, my aunt, dad and grandma showing meeting control bar covering all but the top line of captions

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