Jared & Kerry

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The Imperfections of Butler Off the Court
Jared & Kerry
silverstarhawk
We're all happy that Butler made it to the final four. Moving on now though, let us critique the process by which tickets were distributed for one of the most historical events in this campus's history.

Plenty of other people are going to provide plenty of testimonials on the EMail system being screwed up and them not getting a link to purchase tickets in time. I'll leave that to them. I got my EMail at 12:26 PM, activation link and all. No, my issue has to do with the thought that was put into accessibility, or lack thereof, in the ticket acquisition process.

The site that tickets could be purchased through was not by any means completely inaccessible. However, it was cumbersome, coded with few accessibility concerns in mind, and required a certain amount of preparation with all forms of modern screen reading software in order to be properly navigated. This included assessment of the web site's general layout across all pages that would be visited in the ticket purchasing process, figuring out where input fields were positioned, and assessment of javascript elements on the page that might change without full page refreshes and thus the screen reader might not have immediately recognized. Not earth-shattering work, but a few minutes' effort to be sure.

I am one of the most competent and efficient users of screen reading technology I know, particularly in the context of a web browser. I navigate Facebook as seemlessly as all my sighted friends despite most blind people having many well-founded accessibility complaints with it. My screen reader spits exactly the venom I want it to, at 525 words per minute no less. If I couldn't have navigated the site in the short time tickets were available, I don't think there're very many blind people on this planet that could have.

I couldn't. The prep needed to get my barings with the screen reader on the ticket site took about two minutes. The tickets were long gone by then. If we set me as the expected standard of competency with access software, (which is putting the bar pretty high), then Butler basically shut potential blind students out from attending the final four. Even if I got the first EMail that was sent out with an activation link, the tickets would have been gone by the time the ticket purchase site could have been sufficiently assessed for use.

I'm not losing sleep over it. I'm booked Saturday and Monday night for gigs already. Even had I gotten a ticket, I had no intent of going to the final four. But Butler will be taking on two more blind students in the fall, or so I hear. Before those students make their first tuition payments, I hope someone tells them that if a campus-wide event develops rapidly, (as this one has), they can expect to have accessibility overlooked in the tustle. Butler is not alone in this failure, as students from plenty of other schools can probably document. But I'd think ensuring a fair and equal opportunity for all Butler students to gain tickets to a once in a lifetime occurrence like your own school playing the final four in its home town would be the "Butler Way". I guess that creed doesn't go quite that far. A simple but well-designed lottery system would have left a lot more people a lot more content with the proceedings, both blind and sighted.

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