Creating Content Through A Different Lens

By Ashley Nemeth on November 27, 2023

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A close-up of a Black person's hands reading a braille book.

As I have entered a career that is new for me in many ways, I am reflecting on the question that I get so many times in my life when it comes to my ability, “But how if you are blind or deafblind?”

So many times, I can say I figured it out. People with disabilities are fantastic problem solvers; we are constantly overcoming barriers. However, I will admit in this new journey in my career I have faced some situations where I have had to say, “OK, I can’t do this.”

When I entered a communications role, I had been creating content professionally and personally for many years. Still, I had never been in an official communications role, and I have had a rocky journey so far. This role has shown me how much the world relies on visuals, graphics, and eye-catching materials that are not so much the written word as it once was.

I rely so heavily on the written word; it is how I get almost all of my information: reading books, going through a transcript of a meeting as people are speaking, reading through a transcript of my favourite podcast (PR & Lattes is No. 1), communicating is easier for me through the written word, there is not a time in my day that I am looking for information in a quick visual or graphic. The reality of this hit me quite quickly in this role.

My ability to create graphics and help with that design process to ensure that I am communicating to my audience in a way that will connect with them and get the information that they need in a way that they will engage with it has been a hurdle, to say the least.

How do I solve this problem? I will be honest I am still working on it, but it has meant that I need to be OK with saying sometimes that I cannot make this content what it needs to be to connect with our audience. At first, this felt like defeat, but now I have realized that it is not defeat; it is just not my strength. I can write and engage people, tell a story, and engage people in other ways, and I can work as part of a team to make sure what we are creating is valuable for everyone. Communication is a team effort and takes many hands to create the right content in many situations.

Working through this new chapter and challenge has also sparked the need to advocate for continuing to provide the written word for our content. The reality is that graphics, eye-catching visuals, GIFs, and all the other visual ways we engage our audiences today are not reaching the broadest range of people. I am not the only one who cannot engage in content this way; millions worldwide are in the same boat as I am.

The ability to engage with a wide range of people being deafblind and in communications allows me to bring a view to the profession that many never think of and it has been a wild ride that I am excited to be on.

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