For a long time I thought about whether I would offer an „About me“ page, and finally decided on a format that I found suitable. So, here’s a little background information about me, and the perspective I bring to my craft.
I was born near Karlsruhe in Germany in September 1966.
I studied Business Administration and specialized in trade marketing. One of my marketing concepts was awarded in the Federal Chancellery at Berlin in 2001: Among more than 2,000 competitors, my concept was one of the top 5 – I’m very proud of that. If you’re interested in more detail, feel free to ask.
As a spokesperson, I was active as a marketing and PR consultant for a company that manufactures aids for blind and visually impaired people, and for the reestablishment of a trade fair for them. If you’re interested in more details, I’m again happy to share upon request.
I supported this fair for the first four years in terms of press technology and web design. Then my career took me in a different direction, but I can proudly say that 15 years after its founding, this fair is still very popular today (2018), and can be described as the largest European fair for blind and visually impaired people.
I have been involved with web design since 1996. I’m still one of those who hand wrote html and css code and were happy to see a webpage appear from it.
Initially I was graphically oriented, and thought that appealing images made for the most important element of a website.
From 2001 to 2007, I was fortunate enough to work as a marketing and PR consultant for one of the largest manufacturers of aids for the blind in Germany.
Among other things, I was responsible for the website and the creation (production and text) of electronic advertising media (newsletters, audio contributions, pdf magazines, podcasts, …). I learned that blind and visually impaired people naturally deal with the medium PC and Internet – and for me it is a matter of course today.
But again and again I meet those who can see, who ask me how a blind person can work on a PC. I am happy to explain that, and their astonishment remarkable.
I’ve learned a lot from my blind programming colleagues; that a search engine perceives the Internet as a blind person. Images recognize the search engine as image files. Even if the picture contains text, the search engine cannot read the text in the picture.
What the search engine recognizes is in this context is the file name e.g. photo.jpg. Since colors are written as hexadecimal code and background is called „background“ and color „color“, the search engine also recognizes when someone tries to outsmart them by using, for instance, white text on a white background. The search engine can only read text. If there is meaningful text, the search engine can thematize and assign; without meaningful text, a website cannot be categorized and positioned.
The well-worn phrase „content is king“ is more relevant today than ever before. Unfortunately, time and again I notice that most website operators lose sight of this.
Long story short: I’ve learned from my blind colleagues how search engines tick, with insights that only they could bring. I therefore work extensively to ensure that websites I design are optimized for search engine indexes.
In summary, I’ve learned much from my blind programming colleagues – for instance, a search engine perceives the Internet as a blind person; images recognize the search engine as image files – even if the picture contains text, the search engine cannot read the text in the picture, but contextualizes by the file name.
One final thing I learned was that the father of the computer was a German engineer named Konrad Zuse, born in 1910. Interestingly, the programmer who led him to the invention of the computer was a blind mathematician.