Driven by the twin spurs of interest and conviction, I have therefore spent some time and energy providing what peer support I could on the eyes-free list and producing material which I hoped would answer some of the more basic, recurring questions new and budding Android users seemed to have. In the process, I have acquired the certainty that the Android platform is mostly accessible and getting better every month, but that its documentation is so scant and often outdated that most potential users might be forgiven for believing otherwise. This perception is unfortunate as it deprives many from one of the most important consumer rights, that of choice.

Volunteering time to marginally improve this situation has truly been one of the most fun and rewarding experiences I have ever had. Unfortunately, producing quality material and ensuring its continued accuracy in this rapidly evolving field takes a great deal of time and effort. For every review, article and demonstration I produced, at least three more have remained at the idea stage or on the draughting table for lack of time, as I needed to focus on finding and executing paying work. Many users, too, have honoured me with private requests for tutorials or demonstrations on specific applications and topics which I simply did not have time to entertain.

So, there is my problem; I have come to a point where I would very much like to pursue the work of documenting, improving, promoting and advocating Accessibility on Android and other mobile platforms at least on a part-time basis, but I need to find a way to make it pay some of the bills before my wife and kids charge me with dereliction of duties. To that end, I am about to launch a website dedicated to that purpose sporting advertisement banners; However, I doubt very much that such banners would yield sufficient revenue to justify the effort and must look to other possible ways to monetise the work. The degree to which I am successful in this will determine whether my contributions to the Android and general mobile accessibility community are to remain a hobby or become something more serious and sustained in the long term.

Some of the possible planned content for the site includes:

  • Initially:
    • General mobile tech news with strong slant on accessibility.
    • Similarly slanted platform-specific news for Android and eventually others, like ChromeOS, Firefox OS, Ubuntu for Phones, Tizen, etc.
    • App reviews with a focus on paid apps which users can't easily try.
    • App recommendations for specific categories.
    • TalkBack basics with an improved and expanded Demystifying Android series of audio demonstrations.
    • Relevant, up-to-date tutorials for basic tasks and apps in text, audio and video formats.
  • Eventually:
    • Complete and up-to-date TalkBack manual with specifics for each version of Android starting at 4.1 and up.
    • Devices and accessories reviews.
    • Expand practical coverage to other open mobile platforms.
    • Expand accessibility coverage beyond blindness and visual impairment with paid guest columns from knowledgeable individuals.

So, before the official launch, I thought I would write this little open letter, asking for ideas. Do you know of individuals, companies or institutions who might be willing to sponsor such an endeavour or donate technology to help it? Do you have a brand new model you think might work? Are you or do you know an employer interested in hiring someone like me in a capacity relating to this topic?

In the unlikely case that you stumbled on this post by complete happenstance, haven't the faintest clue who I am, but are interested nevertheless, you are encouraged to read the content on this site, read my correspondence on the eyes-free list and even peruse my C.V, should you care to.

Please feel free to share any thoughts, ideas or suggestions you might have by sending an e-mail to smassy at gmail.com, tweeting me @SMassy1, or connecting with me on Google+ or LinkedIn.

I await your feedback eagerly... S.M.