The modern world is mediated by words, numbers and other symbols, both spoken and written. Access to everyday documentation of events and processes in the world and to the collected and steadily expanding knowledge of our world is facilitated by access to both forms of media, but especially to written and graphic information. This is because the collected knowledge of our world ― which is the knowledge that is used to run the world ― is literally inscribed in writing and in graphics. This is the case for things as mundane as bus schedules and museum materials, and as elaborate and detailed as legal, medical, technical, and artistic materials.
This means the ability to independently access, experience, and participate in the world ― whether as a dedicated student, an active private citizen, or an engaged member of society ― requires continuous access to these forms of information. However, access to these materials for the visually-impaired is often severely limited. In order to reduce these limitations, active advocacy and engagement with organizations that produce these materials, and services ensuring provision of accessible media, consulting and research is necessary.
Handid Media Systems works toward fulfillment of a vision of the world where all individuals ― regardless how they consume media ― have equal access to the content they require in order to be active, engaged and independent members of society.
Handid Media Systems aims to provide accurate and timely delivery of media (including braille transcriptions, tactile graphics, large print, and online resources) in soft or hard-copy, proofreading, consulting and research facilitating creation, preparation and production of media for visually-impaired readers, with a focus on public-facing organizations and institutions.
Handid Media Systems is a non-profit organization. Funding of the organization is accomplished largely through contracts, donations and grants. Handid focuses its efforts toward the provision of materials and services for public-facing organizations and institutions.
Don Winiecki, Principal at Handid, holds Library of Congress Certification in braille transcription (UEB, including UEB for technical content). Don is also a member of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the Treasure Valley chapter of NFB-Idaho, and National Braille Association (NBA). He is a member of the Tactile Graphics Skills committee of the National Braille Association and maintainer of the NBA "Ask An Expert" forum for tactile graphics.
With the idea that participation in the everyday world and pursuit of literature, art, and science requires ready access to written and graphic material, Don was motivated to learn braille transcription as a way to support others in their day-to-day, avocational and intellectual pursuits, regardless how they read.
Products and Services
- Braille and large print materials including instructional, technical and legal documents, books, signage, brochures, theater programs, exhibition pamphlets, menus, greeting cards, and other materials;
- Proofreading of braille materials produced by others;
- Tactile graphics and captioning of graphical materials for use in brailled instructional materials, displays, and exhibits;
- Consulting on ADA compliant displays and signage for museums, hotels, schools and other public buildings;
- Partnering with similarly-focused organizations to help achieve our shared goals, and
- Evaluation of the impact of products and services provided (through established partnerships with affiliated organizations).
Currently focused on provision of materials in Unified English Braille (UEB) literary and maths, and tactile graphics, Handid Media Systems will expand its product offerings to include Nemeth (U.S. maths and science) and music braille in the future.
- Have you ever gone to the slopes and seen a skier with some disability getting skiing lessons? They often start with an instructor who has special training, and have to sign special waiver forms. It is common for these waivers to be available only in print, so that someone has to read it to learners who are blind or low vision. But after February 2020, learners in Idaho will have a braille version of the waiver so they can read and sign independently! Thanks to some connections in the "Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired" for getting this small job to me! Contributing to a world where everyone can live their lives more independently is one of my goals as a braille transcriber!
- My webinar “When To Produce A Tactile Graphic!” to @NationalBraille on Feb 18 2020 tied for the highest attendance ever. Happy to have the chance to provide new knowledge and skills to #braille transcribers and producers of #tactilegraphics.
- I’m beginning supervision and training of undergrad work-study students at Boise State University, who are converting print graphics into #tactilegraphics for an Electrical and Computer #Engineering #student who is #blind. Excited to have another opportunity to be part of the solution!
- In early February 2020 I delivered custom made print and #braille postcards to the Idaho Commission for Libraries. The cards promote the Talking Book Service (TBS). TBS provides near-universal access to a huge range & number of titles. Chuffed to be part of the effort to put more books in the hands of readers who are blind and low vision!
- Follow Handid's activity on Twitter at @HandidMedia.
- Handid's principal, Don Winiecki, is pursuing certification in braille music transcription.
- Handid Media Systems opens for service in January 2018.
The Braillist's Code of Ethics
I pledge to:
- prepare braille materials in an accurate, timely manner, without personal interjection,
- refrain from using any information obtained in the performance of my duties in a manner that would be detrimental to the agency or person for whom the material was transcribed,
- treat all material transcribed as confidential unless the material is publicly available or an agreement has been obtained in writing that the information may be disclosed,
- conduct business in a professional manner with dignity, respect and courtesy,
- accept assignments as dictated by my knowledge of the subject matter, braille skill competency level, and ability to complete the assignment on a mutually agreed upon date, and
- continuously develop the highest levels of knowledge and skills through professional development in my chosen specialty.
-- Adopted by the National Braille Association, November 2003
-- Adopted by the Braille Authority of North America , April 2005
For more information about the Braille Authority of North America, visit www.brailleauthority.org.
When considering names for the organization, I decided that it should be called something that relates to both (a) the product and service provided and (b) what it is that I'm actually doing when I'm producing things. First, because our first focus was on tactile media, what we produce enables reading things with one's hands. Second, I (as the principal member of the organization) do these things with my hands as I use tools to do the work.
Both things focus on one's hands.
However, the conventional spellings of 'hands,' 'handful,' 'handed,' etc. were all taken by existing companies, and domain names for websites and E-mail. So I started tweaking the spelling of these words, but most of them were still already taken! The only one of these tweaks that wasn't already used was 'handid'.
As I rolled the name around in my head, it prompted me to reflect on some academic philosophy that has come to anchor just about everything I do. (The academic philosophy comes from Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, both of whom focused on how our physical experience in the world serves as an anchor for everything we are as humans, and then from David Sudnow, a sociologist and piano player who produced some very interesting studies of how one's hands effectively become independent of one's mind when playing improvisational jazz with fluency.)
I became fixed on the idea that our hands ― as an extension of our selves, and as a mechanism for doing, manipulating, sensing, and more ― are still incredibly important in an increasingly computerized world. This idea turned into a metaphor for deeper and deeper ideas, and I decided to go ahead with 'handid'.
Some friends suggested that 'handid' could also be an acronym for, among other things:
- Helping All Navigate Different Individual Destinies
- Haptic Accessibility Necessitates Displaying Irrepressible Dots
What are your ideas?