Tag Archives: sweepstakes websites

Sweepstaking with Vision Impairment

not_true

I am severely visually impaired.  In fact, I have only about 10% of my sight remaining.  Fortunately for me, that 10% is central vision, so I still manage to get around and to use a computer. Recently I was attending a support group for the blind and visually impaired in my city.  When some of the attendees found out I entered sweepstakes, they were very interested in learning how they could also enter and whether someone with visual impairments was able to pursue this hobby.  They invited me to speak about this at their next meeting in May.  This lead me to do a little research, so I decided to write this post to encourage those with visual impairments to give sweepstaking a shot!

People in my support group have varying degrees of blindness from total blindness, to some peripheral vision, to blurred vision, and like me, a small bit of central vision.  These conditions are not correctible by wearing glasses. This means that, depending on the extent of the disability, different people would have different options available to them for entering sweepstakes.

The first thing I researched was website accessibility.  According to Wikipedia, “Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.” Do all websites currently comply with web accessibility?  Not yet.  Are they supposed to under to the ADA?

According to www.computercourage.com:

“Over time, the ADA legislation has evolved to include access to spaces in the digital world. And there have been serious consequences imposed by the courts for sites that fail to do so.

Since the intent of the ADA is to provide “full and equal enjoyment” for people with varying disabilities, this has wide-ranging implications on websites. These digital spaces must be accessible to individuals using assistive devices such as screen readers and speech recognition software for vision impairments. Users must also have the ability to interact with a website without using a mouse or touchscreen.”

If you find it difficult to navigate online sweeping — for instance if your screen reader software has difficulty with forms — sometimes sweepstakes have entry options other than online entry. There are a good amount of contests that you can enter via telephone.  These include both national contests and local radio call-in contests.  You might also try to enter some local giveaways in person. A friend or store associate can help you fill out a ballot and put it in the draw box.  If you use speech recognition software and are the creative type, you may try to enter some essay and writing contests. There are also a number of contests specifically geared toward the blind.  For instance, in the past there was a “Blind Sight” Photography Contest (https://www.oh-i-see.com/blog/2013/02/07/see-differently-blind-sight-photography-contest/).

So, as time moves forward, sweepstaking is becoming a hobby that any sighted or visually impaired person can participate in.  I think progress is being made in web accessibility compliance, and hopefully in the near future, it will not even be an issue.

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Sweeping: A Solitary Hobby or a Chance to Make Friends?

girl in chair at computer

I’ve tried twice to start a local sweepstakes club.  The first time was in California.  I had about a dozen people sign up on our website to join the group.  But when it came down to attending a meeting, the only one that showed up was my mother-in-law.  She was not a sweeper but showed interest in learning and wanted to support me.  I kept the club going a few months, but never had anyone attend one of our meetings at a local coffee shop.

The second time I tried to start a local sweepstakes club was in Idaho.  I had about half dozen people sign up, 3 of which included friends of mine who wanted to learn but were mostly there to support me.  Others wrote on the website that they wanted to learn and wanted to attend meetings, but no one else ever showed up in person.

People have pointed out to me that it is a solitary hobby – for the most part you sit in front of your computer, alone at your desk at home.  Others have said it’s probably because people do not want to share promotions they know about or their methods because they want less competition.  But I do not think either of these statements are true.

First of all, while entering online sweepstakes is a hobby pursued from your personal computer, people do indeed seek out fellow sweepers to socialize with.  Contest Queen keeps a list of successful clubs around the nation.  Also there is a large annual National Sweepstakes Convention.  This year they are limiting attendance to 700 people.  That’s a lot of sweepers who want to come together and meet, learn, socialize, and win!

Second, sweepers share their methods and the promotions that they enter all the time!  That is why there are sweepstakes websites (by hobby sweepers) set up to share information.  Plus there are books and pamphlets on Amazon geared at teaching people how to begin this hobby.  And there are blogs, like this very one, to share links, ideas, and more!  I even post interesting promotions on a Facebook page called Boise Sweepstakes Club.

That definitely doesn’t make sweepers seem like secretive loners!  So it’s a mystery to me why in some areas it is harder to start a sweepstakes club or find fellow sweepers to socialize with.  Any ideas?