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Follow Friday: #FF with @Shelly

Posted in General

Good morning! It’s the last Friday of June. Are you ready for the weekend—and 4th of July holiday next week? I know I am.

Now that Friday has arrived, its time for another exciting Follow Friday interview—are you as excited as we are? Our featured guest for this week has championed for accessibility for quite a while now, and with an upcoming book release on the topic, you’re sure to enjoy what she has to say.This week, I sat down to chat with Shelly Brisbin, a writer, editor, podcaster and cocktail enthusiast. Her current project, iOS Access for All, is a comprehensive guide to accessibility for Apple’s iOS devices, such as the iPhone and iPad.

Shelly’s extensive background in writing, editing and working with the latest technology are just a few reasons why Fedora Outlier follows her on Twitter. The team here at Fedora commend Shelly for taking on such a large project so that the blind and visually impaired are able to have as many resources as possible when it comes to learning and using iOS.

Join me as I talk with Shelly Brisbin and learn about her soon to be release book, “iOS Access For All.”

Brie Rumery: Why was it important for you to write a book about iOS Accessibility?

Shelly Brisbin: I have been writing about technology for more than 25 years. In that time, I have seen very little “mainstream” interest in writing about accessibility in tech. As a visually impaired geek, I’ve always found this enormously frustrating. I feel that as someone who has spent my career helping people use and choose technology, I have a unique perspective, and a lot of skills and knowledge to offer. And frankly, I hope this book can both teach users of accessibility how to get the most from their gadgets, and introduce the wide range of iOS accessibility features to a new audience.

BR: Compared to other iOS Accessibility books on the market, how will yours be different?

SB: First and foremost, I love that iOS accessibility is interesting enough that several people have been motivated to write books about it. Each author approaches the topic a little differently, and that gives the reader lots of choice. My book will cover all accessibility features in iOS. VoiceOver is certainly the biggest topic, but certainly not the only one. I also believe my book will be the first to address both the iPhone and iPad.

BR: What are your marketing plans for, “iOS Access For All”?

“This year I attended CSUN, where I received a lot of positive feedback and encouragement. I have also been quite active in social media, and will continue to pursue as many conversations, podcasts, and other promotional opportunities as I can. And I want the process to be interactive. I want people to feel that they can have some impact on how I approach accessibility in iOS.

BR: Is there a release date set for the book, and where will readers be able to purchase it?

SB: I hope to release the book in July. The book will be available in the iBooks Store, and from my Web site. The iBooks Store version will have audio, allowing readers to hear VoiceOver commands being demonstrated. You will also be able to get a tagged PDF or epub version from my Web site. Other formats are possible, too.

BR: Has your experience as an author and editor helped or hindered you in writing your current book?

SB: I hope it has helped. I’ve written 12 books. Structuring a book and deciding how it should be organized and written are second-nature to me. Plus, it’s a lot of fun, besides. I’ve hired a very good copy editor to work with me to make sure the book is error-free, and otherwise awesome, and I have iOS users reading early drafts to get their take on how I’m doing. I love that kind of collaborative process, and it makes me confident that the book will be something useful for people.

BR: Why is it important for you to use Twitter and who do you follow?

SB: Twitter is great. I joined in 2007, and I have really gained a lot from it. Personally, I follow my friends, many of whom are podcasters and writers, like myself. Over time, I have added journalists, news organizations and a whole lot of people in the accessibility and blindness world. Twitter has allowed me to have great conversations with people I have never met, and made a lot of connections that have helped me with projects like this book.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Shelly! We’re so excited for the upcoming release, and can’t wait to get our hands on a copy.

Make sure to follow @Shelly on Twitter, or you can find Shelly and her book on Facebook. Don’t forget to check out the book site by visiting

The Fedora team is committed to showcasing resources, tools and news you can use, and it’s why, every Wednesday, we put together our Wednesday Roundup, which has links to plenty of great info on Apple accessibility, technology and blindness. Follow @Fedora_Outlier on Twitter to find out when next Wednesday’s roundup is ready!