The Premise

In this first episode of the fifth season Jeniffer and Chad welcome Belo Cipriani for his second interview with them. This episode was timed to air on Global Accessibility Awareness Day because Belo is not only an author and advocate but a digital inclusion strategist. 
This conversation will expose you to just how much the lack of accessibility is hidden from those that don’t require it. You’ll learn a lot! 
Belo also talks about all the ways the world is becoming more accessible and what he’s doing to help with that.

Creators & Guests

Jeniffer Thompson
Writer. Reader. Interviewer. Cohost of The Premise Podcast. I help authors build brands + websites. Cofounder of the San Diego Writers Festival. Chicken-mama.
Belo Miguel Cipriani
Digital Inclusion Strategist, Author, and Teacher
Chad Thompson
Chad Thompson, co-founder of Monkey C Media, offers professional photography and videography services. He has an eye for detail and a command of lighting that gives him the ability to show his subjects at their very best. You can count on seeing Chad around South Park on his bicycle with a camera slung over his shoulder. If he has never taken a picture of you, chances are good you have never met him.

What is The Premise?

Here on The Premise Jeniffer and Chad Thompson talk to storytellers of all types. From authors to musicians, poets, screenwriters, and comedians we get down to the tiny grain of sand that becomes a pearl—getting to the story behind the storyteller.

Jeniffer: Hello and welcome back to the premise.

Hey, Chad.

Chad: Hello. It's been a while.

Jeniffer: It's been a while. What season are we in?

Chad: I don't know. Five, six, seven? Not sure.

Jeniffer: We are in our fifth season. It's pretty awesome. And I

am really excited to be kicking. Kicking off

this season with Bello miguel

Cipriani on this day, global

accessible awareness day.

Bello, welcome to the premise.

Belo: Hello. Hello. Thanks for having me.

Jeniffer: So good to have you. So I'm going to read your bio.

we'll start there and then we'll jump into the conversation. But some of

our listeners might remember that we interviewed Bello back

in season one, episode seven.

So this is kind. Kind of a follow up. We're going to be talking about

accessibility and publishing in books

and storytelling.

But let's start with your bio, Bello. Miguel

Cipriani is a digital inclusion

strategist who became passionate about making

online spaces accessible after being blinded by a

group of men in 2007. His books

and articles on disability issues have received

numerous awards and international recognition.

He has guest lectured at Yale, and

in 2020 he was appointed by Governor Tim

Walts to the Minnesota Council on

Disability. Through his digital access consulting

firm, Olab Media, he has helped countless

organizations build inclusive websites and

apps. HuffPost referred to him as an agent

of change, and SF Weekly named him one of

the best disability advocates. Tony

Coelho, the primary author and sponsor of the

Americans with Disabilities act, called Bello an

important voice in disability writing. You can

follow Olap media on Instagram and

Facebook. Bella, what are your handles so people can follow


Belo: They could, look me up through media

for both Instagram,

LinkedIn, and, Facebook.

Jeniffer: Okay. And while we're at

it, your, website.

Belo: Yes. Bello, comma, also, awesome.

Jeniffer: Well, Bello, it is so awesome

to have you back. We've known each other for

15 m years, maybe.

Belo: Yeah, that's about right.

Jeniffer: It's been a while. We got to work with Bello on his

first book, a memoir, which was published back

in, Was it

2008? I forget what

year that book was published.

Belo: 2011.

Jeniffer: Okay. Okay. So 2011. And

here you are, you're publishing other books. You're doing so

many amazing things. But let's.

Let's start with why we're here today. Today

is global accessible awareness day.

Can you tell our listeners a little bit about what that means

and why we're here to talk about it today?

Belo: Yes. you know, global accessibility awareness

day falls, always, in May, in

the middle of the month, it floats around a little bit.

It's like a Thursday.

Jeniffer: Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you, but I think it's the third Thursday

of May every year.

Belo: Yeah, correct. And so, you

know, this is a day that was, you know, that

where people, focus and, bring attention

to the need for, digital inclusion and digital accessibility

as it comes to digital spaces.

And there's a foundation behind it now, but it

was a long time in the making. People were, you know, at least

advocates, in various, different communities.

You know, the deaf community, the blind community, the

neurodivergent community were coming together and, you know, wanted

to, just bring some attention around

inclusion in digital spaces.

Jeniffer: Ironically, today, when we tried to get on to

do this podcast, the platform we were using was

completely not accessible and we had to switch


Belo: That happens to me a lot, you know,

especially because there's, you know, I think people were using Zoom a

lot. Zoom is the most accessible, platform

out there, 100% accessible. You know,

I could use it. my friends who have other disabilities

could use it. I have a friend who doesn't have hands, and he's

able to use it because he has a foot pedal, and it connects with his foot

pedal really well. It's just, you know, some

people, there's other platforms now, and it happens to me a lot.

That actually, happened to me earlier today. I was in

this, event, and I, had to switch to

zoom because of, you know, there was nothing labeled on the

page. So it's something that happens a lot. you know,

I feel that sometimes, you know, organizations kind

of overlook accessibility. And I think that is the

point of, you know, of, global accessibility awareness

day is to make accessibility a core part

of anything you do.

Jeniffer: Absolutely. Well, looking at you.

Chad: Riverside FM yeah, and us,

Jeniffer: I mean, we didn't even look to see. We just, you know, we just

grabbed it. And that's. I think that's the point. People need to be more

aware. And how embarrassing. When you, when

you came on, you called me and you said, well, I just, you know, none of these

buttons are labeled. And, you know, I'm just not able to. And I

thought, oh, well, maybe I can tell you where to look on the page. And it's like, okay,

no, that's not the answer. Let's just go to zoom.

And you were saying earlier that zoom is 100%


Belo: It didn't start out that way. they had a couple bugs,

but during the pandemic, they really got their stuff

together and they have an accessibility team

and they're making updates. And,

and when it comes to accessibility,

let me just say that

there's different levels of accessibility. I think that, some

organizations just do provide the very basic.

Other organizations go beyond and above, and

Zoom is definitely an organization that goes above and

beyond. And there's other organizations like Apple

is phenomenal with accessibility. I could buy any

product off the shelf and I can make it work for

me. and, you know, Microsoft is pretty

good too. Google's great. They all tend to be large

organizations that have the resources to have big

teams of accessibility experts like myself, where,

it becomes more challenging, for organizations that are

small to mid sized companies where they don't have the,

resources to hire a full time accessibility

person. And then they're often having to make these

choices on their own and they don't know what to

look for, you know. And so that's what, you know, I kind of start

off with, you know, saying, you know, first of all, be

aware that accessibility is important. It's not

just about, you know, helping people with disabilities. It's

about making your, providing all users

with a more inclusive experience.

Jeniffer: Speaking of experiences, talk to us about the

experience today and just, you know, how you

use the Internet and what that is like for you.

You don't necessarily have to use today as an example, but it might be

a good one.

Belo: Yeah. so I am completely blind, which

means I, see no color, no light

perception, everything's pitch black. And I use a screen

reader and it's a device, it's a software that

I, it's available through my laptop. I also have one

on my phone and it reads what's on the screen to

me in a phonics voice, kind of like

Alexa. And that's how I

do my day to day work. I've had different, you

know, jobs. You've seen me go through all these jobs

where, you know, I've been a college professor, I've been a

journalist, now I'm a small business owner.

and, you know, I've done all those things with, with

my, screen reading software. And so I

often, you know, I don't use a mouse.

That's important to bring up

because a lot of the times, and this is just like

an FYI, if you have to use a

mouse to process something

on a website or on a website

or with a tool, then it's not accessible because that

means it's not keyboard accessible.

Jeniffer: So how do you click things? How does that work?

Belo: Keyboard, accessible

means that

someone can access the,

fully access the product service through

their keyboard. And so for example, with,

zoom, I hit the

tab key and it reads the buttons to me. It says,

join, zoom, meeting button. Then I hit enter.

And then it says, then I tab around, it says, you know, test

your audio, turn, on your camera, you

know, I don't know what else it says. It reads everything to me as I tap

around. I could also use the arrow keys to move around and

just read the elements because everything's labeled

correctly and I hit enter.

that's, you know, what keyboard accessible

means that anyone could access it with a

keyboard, have, the full experience with the keyboard. They're

not, you know, they don't have to have a mouse because not everyone could use

a mouse.

Jeniffer: So is it like it's reading to you and you tap

one, it tells you what it is, tap twice,

you've clicked it or you wait for the

next prompt. I'm just curious how

it actually works from the perspective

of tapping.

Belo: Sure. No. So you tap, you hit the

tab key, which is on the top left of your keyboard.

Most people don't really use the tab key much,

but it's one that for anyone who is

using any type of assistive software, it's very

popular. So you tab around, the different elements on

a website or on a tool, or use the arrows

and it reads what's on there. And if the things are not labeled

correctly, it'll read that too. It would say graphic. Graphic.

Graphic or unlabeled element like you were hearing

with the, other tool we were using.

Jeniffer: So you don't know if you should hit enter or what you should do.

Belo: Exactly. Sometimes I have to count

the unlabeled buttons to see what makes sense.

to hit, like, I was able to get into the, you know, use

that as an example, get into the application.

But I couldn't unmute myself because I didn't know how to do

that. I think I kept getting a message that was saying, hit the

microphone icon. I'm like, okay, how

you need site to do that? Yeah, you

know, and if you're gonna. It probably, there's

probably other things wrong with it too, because when I was

tabbing, I heard other elements popping

up, but there was, nothing related to

settings. So

again, talking about, major

components or accessibility as you're

looking for the tools that you're using,

if they're keyboard accessible, that is

a very good sign.

Jeniffer: Nice. Thank you for that. Yeah, that makes sense.

It kind of like, it reminds me of using a spreadsheet, tabbing

through and hitting enter and choosing your,

your spaces that way.

It, I think I read somewhere that there are 1

billion people alive today with some

form of disability or impairment.

Belo: Absolutely. You know, the

you know, there's different organizations that have

different statistics. You know, some say four and

five. Some say, I'm sorry, One in four people is

one statistic that I've heard have a disability. Let's, say,

I think it's a four ah to. Out of

ten people have a disability.

You know, these are different organizations assessing different

regions and groups. You know, it fluctuates.

And something that you have to take into consideration that there's people

with chronic illness, so they move into

disability, you know, and then they move back out of it,

you know, it's temporary. Right. And an example

of that is, you know, someone who gets a lot

of migraines when, when they have

an episode, they're not able to read for as long.

Right, sure. Or, or some, for some, some of

my, I have a friend who when she gets migrate, she actually can't see

color that well because she's in so much pain.

Jeniffer: Sure. Yeah.

Belo: But even, even when you're in pain and you're doing

these things, you still, you still have to, you know, buy groceries online and

do get stuff done and order your medications and

so, it's something that's, you

know, it's something to keep in mind.

Jeniffer: I actually have a friend who's a writer, very prolific writer,

and she recently has been going through issues with her

eyes and she couldn't see for, I think,

three months. they were giving her different medications

and, you know, she could see a little bit of light. It wasn't completely black,

but, you know, for all intents and purposes, she was

blind for three months and she was considering, what am I going to do? How

am I going to keep writing? You know, what's available to me if this is

a permanent situation for me. So

you're right. Like, it just, there's so

many people who need this

important day and who can continue

living their life right. In the way that they

know it anyway.

Belo: Yeah. And, you know, people, I mean,

there's Siri, right. And like on the

Apple platform. And, and Siri was,

you know, was really, you know,

as used as an accessibility feature, but not everyone

uses, you know, Siri.

Jeniffer: Right.

Belo: You don't have to be blind to. To use Siri. Everyone uses

Siri. another example of that is, you know, the automatic

doors at grocery stores. Right? Like, they

were really designed for people who are

wheelchair users, but, you know, I benefit from

them. I love it when the doors just open on their own.

Right. So there's, you know, tools that have,

offer, like a universal design.

And that's another principle of accessibility. It's

universal design for learning or universal design

where you make it

accessible to a point where everyone


Jeniffer: I like this concept, this idea of universal

design, that it is for

everyone, not just those who have sight or

those who can hear. That's kind of a beautiful way to look at it, as

opposed to make it accessible. Make it

universal to everyone, definitely.

Belo: And there, you know, there is a lot

of, you know, universal design

is really used a lot in the classroom,

course design. and it's a

principle that I use all the time. Right.

but I think that, you know, because of

policy and, and law

and, you know, especially because there are some businesses

that get sued for having inaccessible products. Right.

you know, accessibility is sort of like the

foundational term.

Jeniffer: Yeah.

I would like to know how much has changed since you

first found yourself rendered

blind and had to completely change your life and relearn

everything. How much has changed and gotten

better for you since that time?

Belo: I think that there's a lot

more awareness. I think, you know, technology

improved, oh, my God, like

a thousand times. And so, you know, when I,

when I first became blind, I

had a BlackBerry. I couldn't use

my BlackBerry anymore. M and I

could only use a phone that I could feel the

buttons, which left me to this little old

fashioned flip phone, and that's all I could

do. I had to give that up for a

while. There was a company in

Spain, that

developed the software where if you have a Windows

mobile phone and you bought the software, you

could have access to your phone and email.

And I was so excited about that. I bought

my Windows mobile phone, paid $1,000 for

that, and then the software was another $600.

Wow. The experience was,

like, not that great. It was just barely

accessible, you know? So again,

it's all about, you know, giving the people the bare minimum.

Right. now we have, you know,

iPhone. I have an iPhone that has Siri, and

even the Android phones now it has talkback,

you know. and so, and those are built in. You have to pay

extra. So I feel like there's a lot, a lot of

organizations with built in accessibility into their

devices and their services, which has been

wonderful. where I feel there's a big gap

is if I stay within the. With big

companies, I could always find accessibility. It's

when I venture into the small

business, mid sized companies where I run into trouble.

And that's problematic because, you know,

70% of businesses, of the economy,

at least in the US, are small businesses.

So an example for that is, you know, making

restaurant reservations are hard for me,

reserving concert tickets, things that are

local. Anytime people say, let's do something local, I

cringe because I know that they don't have the resource

to make things accessible and it's not going to be easy.

Jeniffer: So what are you doing to change that?

Belo: I'm launching my online learning academy

and it's called Olip Academy and it's through my

consulting firm, Olap Media. And we're

launching our, image course, today,

May 16. And it's called, the course is called

image accessibility. And, you know,

accessibility is a field in its own right.

You know, I have my doctorate in accessibility.

Jeniffer: so you have several

doctorates, though, let's be clear. Don't you have more than one


Belo: No, I just have a couple masters.

Jeniffer: Okay. That's what it is. I'm like, I know you have a lot of education,

so go on. You have a doctorate in accessibility, which. Who knew?

I had no idea that was a doctorate.

Belo: Yeah. And so whenever, whenever someone could get a

doctorate in something, that means that there's a lot of

information there, you know, and so, when

it comes to, you know, accessibility

and it being a field in its own right, it's

humongous. I mean, there's so many things. There's plain language, that's

color accessibility, there's design. I mean,

whenever I talk to, you know, small business

owners, which is, you know, my,

most of my clients or course creators, they get overwhelmed. They don't

know, they know it's important. But just having

to learn all these new skits is scary. And I always tell them, you know,

start with your images on anything you make,

start adding alt text and then the rest will come naturally.

So that's what this, this course focuses on, is how

to write effective alt text. And,

you know, something that people may not be aware of. But when you

have, alt text on your images, on your

website that are well written, they make your

website rank higher.

Jeniffer: Mm

Belo: And then they, they pop up in image searches on,

on Google.

Jeniffer: Absolutely.

Belo: So you get more traffic and so what my clients have seen,

you know, and I'll just, you know, say the sidestep for

a second, that a lot of my clients are coming to me because

they've had a judgment letter, which means so that

someone complain about them, and they have, you know, three

months, sometimes six months to make the changes, or, you

know, wow.

Jeniffer: Wow.

Belo: Yeah.

Jeniffer: And so, so it's a reactionary thing.

Belo: Yeah. So they're not very happy often when they're talking to


Jeniffer: Right.

Belo: But as, they're doing, making all these changes, they're seeing how their

businesses are improving. And something that they've seen a lot is they say,

like, wow, our traffic has almost doubled because we

added alt text.

Jeniffer: You know, it's funny that you say that is, I used to. I mean,

just all of our listeners, if they remember, Chad and I have a company

called monkey see media, and we built websites for

authors. And I remember when we were using

alts tags, and no one else was for

SEO reasons. And you pointed out to me,

gosh, must have been 2011. You know, it's important

because people don't know what that image is. It's not just book

cover. What does the book cover look like?

Walk us through how to write an alt

tag. Alt tag text for

a book cover on a website. What would you do

for a book cover?

Belo: you know, you don't want to overwhelm

the, you know, the reader, the screen

reader, user with too much information. I would

say, you know, keep it to, two

sentences and highlight what's most

important. I, you know, something that I've

seen, I've seen where it's the opposite. Or

like, I almost feel bad doing this, but, saying, this, but

the NASA, writes the worst

old text.

Jeniffer: Well, maybe they should hire you. You.

Belo: And, and I, and I know that,

you know, those pictures that they take in space are just

gorgeous, and there's so much to tell. Right,

right. But I sometimes, when I've, I've heard one

of their descriptions, I, like, walk away, go get coffee and

come back and it's still reading the description.

Jeniffer: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. That's too much.

Chad: The crazy thing to me is that, the screen reader that you're using, because I've

heard you using it while we've done, I think, training.

It is amazing how

quickly that's flying by, all that information.

Belo: Yeah, no, there's a

lot that. It's reading really quickly.

Jeniffer: M that's interesting.

Yeah. Okay, so really long

descriptions aren't necessarily good for the user because that's what we're

talking about here. So when we first started using alt tags,

it was for SEO purposes and it worked 100%.

But people need to think about who's listening and is this a good

experience for them? Is it serving their needs?

Belo: Absolutely. And something that

really people are starting to do now is

there's alt text, that's a

label on the image, but then people are adding sometimes

visual descriptions to describe the, and

that's really for individuals who are


And I encourage my, and I had

some of my clients say, well, I have to do alt text and

the visual description, that's so much.

And they're like, no, listen, they serve different

purposes. We're going to make the visual description slightly

different. Just go with it, trust me,

because I know the experience. And so what

ended up happening is they were saying they had the alt text, which

only blind people could hear through their software. But then on the bottom they

have visual description and they just had two sentences describing the

picture. And then they went into their story. And these are, you know,

people, small businesses, you know, mostly

retailers, right? They started getting a lot

more engagement in social media because people who are in mobile

devices could understand the picture better.

Jeniffer: Right. And I think for us it's an, image

description. That's the same thing, right? Visual description. And

are those two different things?

Belo: You know, I think

that for a visual description,

you're looking at different things. So for example, alt

text might say, you know, I'm gonna use

your name, you know, book cover of

Jennifer, black book

cover with Jennifer's name written in silver,

in cursive with butterflies around

it, right?

Belo: the visual description wouldn't need

the cursive because they could see that it's cursive,

right. The visual description would be more like

the book cover of Jennifer, which has her

name and

flowers and butterflies around

it, just because people may not be able to see

that detail.

Chad: And then there's audio, description

in video. So it's like you've got all these

things. Yeah, because we used to do some work for the federal

government for national park Service, and I had to do

videos for them that had audio

description in them.

Belo: Yes, yes. That's, you know,

audio, description is whenever you, there's a secondary

audio track that describes any non

spoken scenes to the blind person. And so for

example, if you know,

Jennifer, and I are in a coffee shop, right? And we sit

down like the descriptive body would say,

you know, Jennifer and bellow, or, you know, right before

it happens, is Bella, bellow and Jennifer sitting at a coffee

shop, dress dressed with smart clothes or something like

that, you know? And, you know,

descriptive audio has become such a big staple. Like, you know,

Netflix is great about descriptive audio, and

Hulu and Amazon M Prime are

picking up, again, you know, when you ask me

how things change, I feel like when I first became

blind in 2007, and you know what? I did

meet you in 2009 because it took me so long to

get my book stuff ready. So we worked for a while

before I actually got the book published. But, I

felt like back in those days, I was like,

begging for

an ounce, for a grain of accessibility

versus now I have options.

Jeniffer: Well, you used to rely on friends and people to help you,

and that's just not, that's

just not tenable. You know, not everyone has people who can

help them, and not everyone wants to ask for help either.

You shouldn't have.

Belo: It's all of those things. Yeah, for sure.

Chad: Has there been anything that has gotten worse over

that amount of time.

Belo: Or.

Chad: Has it just all been better?

Belo: Accessibility has become a hot topic

for a lot of, you know,

states. You know, some states, and especially

states in the south, a lot of, you

know, small business owners are saying, you know, you can't tell me what

to do with my website. This is my business, my website.

If you don't, if you can access them, you're not my

client. And a

lot of the states in the south are actually, you know,

when. When accessibility, cases come into the

courts, they get thrown out.

And there's, almost

like, you know, accessibility, which was making such a good

wave up until, you know, very recently now

is. It's almost seen that it's becoming segmented

where, you know, states like California

or Minnesota or Massachusetts, you know, the northern states, the

west, the states are really behind

accessibility versus, places like

Texas. It's not.

Jeniffer: Interesting. Wow.

Chad: Why am I not surprised?

Jeniffer: Yeah. Wow. That's a whole other podcast right


I want to bring it back to audio if we can. not

that we can't get political here. We can, but we

were talking the other day about audiobooks and how one

would just assume that audiobooks are just 100%

accessible. But that's not the case.

Belo: Absolutely. it all depends on the

platform that you're using. and, ensuring that

your books are labeled

correctly, that the tracks have

names, is not just track five or

track zero. Five. How my screen reader would read

it. and small

details that make a big difference. I think

that, I don't know,

again, whenever I get anything from

Penguin or, Simon and

Schuster, their audiobooks are pretty

accessible. everything's labeled correctly.

But whenever I, you know, I've gotten books

from other presses, I've,

you know, the, ebooks are not accessible

and the audiobooks have, I'm not able to pick the

chapter that I want to listen to. I have

to listen to the whole thing through.

Jeniffer: Oh, wow. Yeah.

Belo: So it makes it going back and forth

challenging, especially if it's a book that's

a resource book where you want to jump around. It's just not

possible. So I feel that there's

some work to be done there. I, will be

teaching, an accessibility publishing

class. I'm working on it now. And

I'm going to be teaching that how to make sure that your

audiobooks, ebooks and hardcover books are accessible.

Jeniffer: I think the publishing world really needs to come on

board with this.

Chad: Yeah. If for the only reason that it expands their audience.

Jeniffer: Totally, totally.

Chad: That's an easy one, I think, to justify. Right.

Jeniffer: And I wonder, like, you know, because what we're talking about,

like, it isn't necessarily expensive, it

doesn't cost you any more to label your tracks

properly. It just takes some knowledge to know that you need to do


Belo: Yeah. It's like the alt text. The field is there. Just add a

few words. Right.

Jeniffer: Yeah, exactly. And people still don't know what, alt text is.

And then so our listeners know it's

alternative text is really where that came from,

alternative to being able to see

it. Right, correct.

So tell us about your learning platform that you're


Belo: Well, I, you know, I'm, I'm

a coach, you know, so I'm coaching, you know,

my clients through making their spaces more accessible. And I'm

hoping to be able to work with more people and reach more people. And

so I'm releasing this image,

accessibility course today, and I'm hoping to

release more in, the summer and in the fall. And

I just want to give people a clear

guidance on how to make things accessible. you

know, I'll be the first to say that


guidelines are not very accessible.

They're hard to understand. They're very technical.

Jeniffer: Wow. Now that's irony.

Belo: It really is. And, you know, the, the disability

movement was really. The access digital accessibility movement

was really, you know, brought by, you know, a lot of attorneys

and a lot of engineers and, you

know, some of.

Chad: The most opaque people on the planet.

Belo: Right, exactly. And

so you have these guidelines, these WCAG

guidelines that are, you know, great, but not very

accessible. You know, they do all, you know,

my, I have a, you know, my doctor is in education and

my emphasis is in accessibility, learning

accessibility. And so they do all the

typical pitfalls of teaching where you define

something with the same word.

Yellow is yellow. You know,

there's a lot of that in the, in the WCAG, you know,

criteria, where like, you know, understanding

criteria one. Well, you have to understand criteria two and it's a

hyperlink and you go somewhere else and then before you know

it, 20 minutes went by. You still don't know, you know, the answer that,

you know, you're still only not closer to knowing what

you wanted to know. And so, I really I use

that as a foundation, but I break it up

and you know, and make it more, more

digestible for people.

Jeniffer: How can people find this?

Belo: They could go to dot.

Jeniffer: Okay, let's talk about AI and how AI

is going to affect and is affecting accessibility.

Belo: It is affecting accessibility a big

time. And there's, you know, some, some good wins and some things that

are just not not ideal.

So I mean, there's automatic

captions for videos, that are AI

generated. And for someone on a budget

doing a live event.

If that's all the best you can do, that's the best you can do.

I wouldn't use AI for

a film or anything like that. I would hire a professional

to do it. they just make so many

mistakes. I

feel that whatever AI renders, it's usually a starting point.

It's not the end all, be all that

also carries on to accessibility.

Unfortunately, there's all these

AI tools, accessibility, AI tools that over

promise. And you could just, even

if you type in WCAG accessibility, you get all

the ads and they say stuff like

download our AI, accessibility solution and become

508 compliant or 508

compliant immediately. And

that is not true because for 508

compliancy you need to have your PDF's

accessible. And how can an automated tool

on your website format a PDF

that's a file attachment? M do you know what I


Jeniffer: Well, and tell us what. Yeah, yeah. And explain to

our listeners what it means for a PDF to be accessible.

Belo: Yeah, so an accessible PDF has all

text, it has headers, it

has you know, the attributes that allow screen readers to

use it. It has the focus order correctly.

you know, I would say that

accessible PDF's, it's its own,

it's its own beast. It sounds like it takes

time to learn, but once you learn it, you

know, you are able to produce something of high, high

value for sure.

Jeniffer: Can you do all of this through Adobe?

Belo: yeah, you could use Adobe. You could use, you know, and, you know,

and that's what m most, if you're using Adobe, you know, you're

going to be using the, you know, the different layers and you

have to pay attention to the articles. Layers need to make sure the

articles and, you know, and the objects are all

reading correctly. Probably,

again, I might be getting too

technical here, but PDF's are its own

beast. I always tell people, start with alt

text, move on to plain language, then

move on to doing

some color, and design, and

then tackle PDF. Because by the time you get

PDF, you already have some of those components, so

those things will be easier. So when a

PDF, when you format a PDF, you already know how to do alt text, you

already know how to write in plain language, you already know how to, you know,

lay things out in color.

Jeniffer: Right, right.

Belo: You'll just, you'll just be dealing with the layers and focus

reader, focus order and the objects on the

page. So it's definitely,

it's not, you know, it's something that

I wouldn't, I wouldn't recommend that. That's the first class someone


Jeniffer: Good to know. Yeah.

You know, I also want to talk about like the importance of

fonts and spacing and colors and, you know, you

mentioned neurodivergent earlier. Can you tell

us, our listeners, what that means to

be neurodivergent?

Belo: Well, you know, neurodivergent is, you know,

it encompasses a lot of different communities. You know, someone who

is autistic would be considered neurodivergent.

Someone who has a learning disability is

neurodivergent. you know, I, lost

my sight from an assault and I have a traumatic brain injury,

so I'm neurodivergent. how it affects

me is I cannot track time. I have to

have timers and, you know, on me all the time. I

can't tell how much time goes by. I'm like a cat or a dog, you know,

they can't tell time either, the passing of time.

And so, you know, for me, how it works, for how

it affects me is studying, you know, I literally have to have

a timer, otherwise I lose track. And,

and when you have

yeah, exactly. When you have activities that are being

timed, that's super stressful for me. So

all these different, conditions and

diagnoses will be considered neurodivergent and

dyslexia as well? Absolutely.

Jeniffer: So the fonts we choose when we're putting together a book

or an ebook, a website,

all of these things really matter. And

I've taught design for many, many years in our business,

and it's not just

about creating something that's pretty. And people need to look beyond

a pretty package. Is it accessible? Is this

font easy to read? Like an example that I used to tell

people, is

typically when you're reading a book on

paper, you're going to use serif fonts because the serifs

lead one digit to another one, you know, integer

to another. And online, you

actually have a screen that's like jiggling. Even though your

brain may be refreshing the screen faster, it's

actually moving. So sans serif fonts

work better online. So these are just like little things that people

just don't know about. And all of these things matter

when it comes to accessible type, right?

Belo: Yes. Color fonts,

book size, contrast,

contrast. People who

are neurodivergent are using a lot of apps to

highlight, their books, whatever

they're reading. and your book needs to

be optimized to allow those features to work correctly.

Jeniffer: I'm impressed to hear that Simon and Schuster and some of the big, the

big five publishers are actually creating

accessible books. Almost,

a little surprised, honestly.

Belo: You know, I was surprised when I first found

one that was successful. Maybe a couple years. Again,

it's still pretty new. It's two, three years ago,

you know, they, you know, just the biggest. Organize the

big organizations, just have more resources.

Chad: The threat of a lawsuit is a hell of a motivator.

Jeniffer: That's a good point, yeah.

Okay, so let's talk about colorblindness. How do people

create a website that the colorblind can

actually see?

Belo: So I do something that's very

different. So most people who do what I do, accessibility,

they really stick to the WCAG, the

different criteria, and they treat it like

it's, the different standards,

1.11.2, and follow those criteria

really closely. I found that not to be effective when I teach

accessibility. So I kind of break it into three groups.

And if, you know, if you could keep, remember these three groups

and make things accessible for a three, you will create

something accessible. So the three groups that I have is

neurodivergent mobility

and sensory m. And the

sensory community encompasses deaf,

visually, impaired, blind, and

colorblind. And because

it's a sensory thing that's rendering the

color the way it is. And something, you know, I've

been working with different, you know, research,

institutes on getting more research on color blindness.

And the statistics just really kind of, you

know, surprised me because it's something like, you

know, three out of ten people, have color

blindness, some form of color blindness.

but the people that have color blindness, like, half of them don't know that

they're colorblind.

Jeniffer: M you know, Chad and I used to have this argument about this, this duffel

bag that I was convinced

was gray, and Chad said was green.

And then we brought it out into, like, the light in the sunlight, and I was

like, okay, yeah, I guess it is green, and it

has green tones, but still in a dark room, it looks great to


Belo: And that's very, you know, green is one of the hardest

colors for most, people

with any form of, color blindness to detect

green and red. And, you know, this

doesn't mean that your designs can't, you know, have green or

red. They just can't be the primary colors.

They could be background colors, you know, not

anything that needs attention. I, you

know, with some of my clients that, ah,

you know, they're e commerce, you know, clients selling products

online. They were so used to the red, you know,

the call to action red button.

Jeniffer: Yeah.

Belo: You know, and they were just horrified that I said, most people can't

see that.

Jeniffer: And you're like, what? Yeah, exactly.

Belo: And then they're like, and then they, then

they change it. And I would, you know,

I actually suggested blue, and, you know,

and they were not having it. And they're like, we changed

it to green.

Chad: Oh, the other one. Awesome.

Belo: Add a lot of yellow to this green, and they turned

into a neon green. And m.

It was not pretty. And I just said, let's test

it out. No, this is accessibility. Like, there. This is

the one thing, again, accessibility. It's a field of study, just

like anything else. You have to test things out. you can't just

rely on theory and let's just test it out.

And their sales went through the roof.

Jeniffer: Nice.

Belo: They had, well, specifically, they had a

42% increase.

Jeniffer: That's incredible. Bellow. Yeah,

that's incredible.

Belo: So, yeah, neon green. And so then I actually took that to my

other client, and I said, you know what? My other client tried

this neon green button thing. It's not

pretty, but he got really good results.

And she's a different client, and she

says, I'll try anything. You know,

she was also very sad to give up her red button.

And she went to the neon green and she had success.

Jeniffer: Wow. What about yellow? Can we go yellow instead of neon


Belo: You know, you could do yellow if you have some border


Chad: Oh, thank God. I don't

know if I can. I can do neon green.

Belo: Yeah. Yeah. You know, Well, here's

change. Right. So. But I think that,

I don't know, these are just results that I've had. Right.

Jeniffer: You know, so we are

balancing between, you know, good design

and accessible design, what's actually

working. So it's a really good

conversation. Can we have both?

Belo: I think so.

Jeniffer: I think so. Chad's like, I don't know.

Chad: I don't know. I've seen, I only say this because

I spend a lot of time in adobe products.

Chad: And they've got one product called color.

And they have accessibility. Like, you

can choose what, you're aiming for, whether it's color

blindness or various

settings within color palettes. And some

of them are just, oh, so bad.

Jeniffer: M well, I mean, there's got to be a way to do both. Oh,


Chad: It's a balancing act, right?

Jeniffer: Is, is what we consider good design going to


Chad: And that's the thing.

Jeniffer: Yeah.

Chad: Certainly did in the eighties, didn't it?

Jeniffer: Sure. Yeah. Neon was the thing, right? I wore

neon, I have to admit it. Although I'd rather

not. yeah. Yeah.

Belo: And I'll say this, that, you know, I didn't use the

neon green on, you know, my,

website. My buttons are blue. And the

reason that I choose blue is because I know that,

that, by far, is, you know, the

color that's easiest for anyone to see.

Jeniffer: M it's also a very common

color. So from a psychological perspective,

you know, I've always thought of blue, as a pretty bad

color for a call to action because it makes,

it's while

it's trusted, you know, banks, universities all use

blue. It's just not the color your eyes are going to see first. If, of

course, you're not neurodivergent or

having, you know, any kind of color blindness,

but it's like the kind of color that makes you, like, stop and like,

well, maybe I'll think about taking action. Right.

So now we've got two different

fields of thought called with

regard to a call to action button. So I'll be interested to see

how this plays out.

Belo: You know, I look at organizations,

that have done, have adopted accessibility

and good design and are doing really well. And I look at


Belo: You know, their products are 100% accessible and

their products are pretty.

Jeniffer: Absolutely. Well, that's a really good example to point

to someone who's doing it well. That's great.

So there's other things to consider. Okay. There's color,

there's, you know, font choice really matters. But, you

know, I mentioned earlier spacing, the amount of

spacing between the letters or the leading. The

spacing between the lines. also how wide

paragraphs are, if people can actually read them.

Belo: There's, you know, there's also a part of

accessibility that, you know, that, that's, around plain

language. and plain language is, you know,

making your writing more accessible and,

you know, how long should

paragraphs be? And, you know, that

sort of, stuff. And, you know, with plain language,

I use plain language in my writing and,

you know, I teach creative writing, you know, and a lot of my

m students have said like, oh, I can't use this. I. You're

stifling my creativity. but then

they do it, they use it and they see how, you know,

it makes it, makes it easier to read certain

sections, break up, you know, bigger scenes and so

on. so, yeah, no, all those things, you

know. You know what?

I'm going to say something really bold, but I think that, you know,

people who make things are artists.

And there's this almost this unwritten rule about

art where it's like you can't filter it or move it or shape

it, you know? And I feel like

sometimes as artists, and I've been a part of this too, we

forget that we're also providing a, user experience

through your art, you know? And, you

know, and if you are an artist that really wants

to reach a wide audience, then you make sure that your

experience is as inclusive as possible.

Chad: And also, there's not an artist on the planet that wouldn't tell you

that limitations, breed

creativity, right?

Jeniffer: Mm.

Chad: So if you limit yourself to simple language

or you limit yourself to color palettes that are

accessible, you

then learn to use those to your benefit.

Jeniffer: I like that idea. Some sort of a

contest, like putting these parameters out, like, okay, what do you

got? Yeah. Yeah, that's true. That's


Belo: Yeah, that's great, Chad. It, reminds me

of, I had this neighborhood

that gave me like five sacks of


Chad: You learn what to do with potatoes.

Belo: What am I gonna do with it? And I started making

all these things with potatoes and cooking them different way, potato

soup and wedges. And I just learned all

these things and I was like, wow. You know, like if I really push

myself, I made it work.

Jeniffer: You took the challenge.

Belo: I did.

Jeniffer: And now you eat potatoes.

Belo: I do.

Chad: So take the potato challenge, people.

Jeniffer: That's exactly right.

There is something else you mentioned to me that I found really

interesting. M this idea of the type of

paper. Like, for example, if it has any kind of a

glossy sheen to it, there

are people who use, like, take a photograph of it. So explain to

me what you were talking about and why this is important in the

publishing world.

Belo: You know, certain, certain types of,

pages and specifically glossy are hard for some newer,

divergent people to read because, the lighting bounces off

the page and affects the

reading. specifically for people who may have

dysgraphia as a condition that affects a lot, but

also, for people who are visually impaired or might be light

sensitive. you know, for example, for me, I remember

very clearly where I, you know, I use my phone

to take pictures of, you know, books and papers and

it turns into a PDF on my book. on my, on my phone

and it reads it to me. And there was

some, a book that I was taking a picture of and every

other, like five, fifth or 6th word was

missing and I couldn't figure out why. And

it wasn't until I asked somebody who said, what's up with this book? And it's

like, well, it's kind of glossy. And I realized that it was

the lighting, the flash from, you know, my camera

when I was taking the picture.

And so, yeah. And so I just ended

up not using that book. you know, I

couldn't work with that book.

Jeniffer: Yeah. Wow. And that's too bad, right? A simple

design choice made that book, completely

inaccessible to you.

Belo: Correct.

Jeniffer: Yeah. Wow.

Chad: Well, so now we have to produce both matte and gloss


Jeniffer: Well, that's a good point. Yeah.

Chad: With glossy books, I cannot stand a mat cover. I m

have this tactile response to it that does not

work with my hands. And I will not read a

book that has this

particular matte finish on it.

Jeniffer: I think he's. I always laugh about it, but then

we have a new team member here at Monkey C media

and he was talking to me and he said this matte, I just can't

stand touching it. And I was like, oh my gosh, Chad's not

alone. Okay. But that's totally different, right?

I assume your emotional response to the COVID

treatment, your hand's emotional

response, bringing it

back, you

know, today being global accessible

awareness day.

Bello, is there, like, one

piece of advice, like, you want to give our listeners?

Because, I mean, we're really. Most of our listeners are either authors

or readers, you know, but they're enmeshed or want to

be enmeshed in the publishing industry. Is there something you want people to take

away from this podcast?

Belo: You know, I hear this a lot from other

writers. So, like I said, I teach

a lot of creative writing classes, and so I have a lot of students who, you know,

ask me about making their websites or, you know, how to

make a good author website or, you know, what to do

with their social media. And, you

know, and, a lot of the time is, you know,

you don't have to become an accessibility expert to

practice digital accessibility. I would

say that, you know, making sure that your, you know, your author

websites accessible, making sure that your books are

accessible. You know, if you're, if you

have an agent, your agent can negotiate that, you know,

that your publisher ensure that, you know, your.

Your book is made in accessible formats.

there are, there's one non profit

called bookshare, and the

website's And,

they're a nonprofit that support people with print disabilities, people

who, for whatever reason, cannot read print books.

and, you know, authors could donate their

manuscript to that and becomes part of that library.

And every time I say that, you know, authors cringe. Like,

I'm not giving my work for free. And yada, yada,

yada. And I said, no, it's a good thing. It's.

It's not free to the world. It's just people who are members of

this nonprofit. And, you know, you could

actually get some publicity through those. Through those channels,

too. And, I had this one

author friend who ended up doing that, and

she said that, she started seeing more people posting

reviews because it was on that


Jeniffer: Oh, wow. Yeah. That's a great piece of advice, especially for

our audience.

Belo: And it's true, you know, for me, whenever I look

at, you know, someone's book, I go look at it there to

see if it's there, if it's accessible.

Belo: And then I go buy. I still go buy it, though.

Jeniffer: Oh, nice. Yeah. And I think that's true.

Right. I want to support, and I like having actual physical

books. So you buy. When you say you buy it. Do

you buy it digitally or do you buy a print copy?

Belo: About 98% of the time, I

buy the cheapest version because I know it's not going to be

accessible. You know, I'm not going to buy a paperback that's, you know, 20 something

dollars. I buy that ebook that's like, you know, $12.

Jeniffer: Yeah.

Belo: And I open it and it's like, image, image, blah, blah, blah. You

know, what you heard earlier?

Jeniffer: Yeah.

Belo: It's not accessible. But then I go to bookshare and I download it, and I

access that that way.

Jeniffer: Oh, wow. So you still want to support them, but

you get to experience it through dot.

Belo: Because I say to myself, if they took the time to

donate to the library, then they did think

about me. Maybe they don't have that as a priority. I

was, you know, at least a thought in the process.

Chad: Right.

Jeniffer: Are books still being published in braille?

Belo: You know, braille literacy is very

low within the blind community. I think

last report that I saw, I think it's like only

7% of the blind community reads

braille. I, don't read in braille. I just

use it to label my devices, like I

braille, like on my, my kitchen equipment.

And, you know, my spices have braille,

but I would not use it to read, you know, anything

long at 7%.

Jeniffer: I mean, that's shockingly low.

So that means, you know, ultimately, a blind person

walking around their house is unable to. Well, Spice is a great

example if you want to cook. how do you know which spice you're

using if you can't read braille?

Belo: You know, I think most blind people, I'm not. I can't speak for

most blind people, but at least, like, you know, part of a lot of

different blind communities. Like, they're using a

lot of apps. They take pictures of their devices, and it

reads a text to them.

Jeniffer: unless it's glossy.

Belo: Yeah, they're using, you know, different, there's

devices that you could scan barcodes and that, you know, and

then that tells you what the product is, too, through the

barcode. so there's a lot of different tools out there,

but braille literacy is pretty


Jeniffer: Hm. I've always found it

just incredible to think about reading through your

fingers and reading through bumps.

That's just such for

me, a mind boggling feat to learn a whole new

language. And how old were you when you became blind?

Belo: I was 26. So I was in my mid

twenties learning braille. And it was hard.

I had a really hard time with it, but, you know, I did it and

I keep up with it. And I would say that I still keep

in touch with the people who I. Who are in my braille class, and I would

say about half of them tell me I lost it. I stopped

using it and I lost it.

Jeniffer: M it's going to be a lost language at

this rate.

Belo: I don't think it'll be a lost language. I think there's always going to be people

who use it. but I, you

know, I mean, I

still use it. If I, you know, if I go to a restaurant and they

offer me the braille menu, I'll take it. I'll read. I'll read a restaurant menu with

braille. I'm not going to read a novel in braille, though.

Jeniffer: How often does a restaurant have a braille menu,

you know?

Belo: not very often. If I were to quantify my experience, I'd be,

like, maybe 30% of the time.

Jeniffer: No, I think that's quite a bit, actually. I'm surprised.

Belo: Yeah, I'm going to start asking.

Jeniffer: I'm curious. And Chaz, like, why? I don't know. I

find that fascinating and good on him. Right. That's very.

That's very cool. I feel proud of

those 30 percenters.

I want to talk about your books. unless there's something else you want to

talk about, you know, that you want people to know.

I think my takeaway, actually, is

that it's not as hard as you think to make your products

accessible and to make them available

and universal, as we.

Belo: Started out, saying, I agree, you know,

and, I'll admit I'll put

myself out there, you know, raise my hand and say that, you

know, because accessibility is such

a large field, you know,

when it came to alt text and image accessibility, I was like,

yeah, we need this and this. But then when it came down to plain language, I

was like, oh, my goodness, I'm a writer. Can I really? You know,

that was the one part that was hard for me, and I realized

that, you know, I'm uncomfortable with this and

why. And I had to really sit down and figure out why, you

know, and I practice and I teach it, but I feel like

there's things that. Aspects of accessibility

that are always hard for some. For some people.

Jeniffer: Well, tell. Give us an example of what. Why was plain language hard

for you? Because you like to use colorful language

or, What do you mean?

Belo: Well, you know, plain language, you know, it's.

There's, you know, if there's

reading level, there's a lot of different components to it. And I didn't want

to start writing with any of these things in mind. You know, I want

to just. And you don't, you know, that was one of my

misconceptions. I was like, yeah, I'm just gonna. You don't

actually apply the plain language until you go into the editing phase. Right?

So it wasn't, I had all these fears, I had made

up all these rules, and it wasn't, I really sat down

and studied it and took, you know, and by the way, by means

study it, because there isn't, there weren't any classes. There were just people

writing articles about it. And it wasn't until

I was like, you know, I was afraid of this. And there is, there really

isn't much I could actually

create my own model and teach it to

others because the way it's being presented to people, it's

scary. And I think that's something that, you

know, you know, as a. I went to

seminary school, right. I don't know if you knew that.

Jeniffer: But I went to seminary school, and.

Belo: You know, I have my master's in theology and religion. And

so when you're talking to

people, people really

get this uncomfortable when they're presented

with change, any type of change.

That's one very common thing, right. The other one

is when they are,

not given any options. When people are denied

choice, they get upset.

And I was studying with this buddhist

monk where he said, life is all about choices.

That's why we're here. We have the option to choose

always. You know that when you're on the right

path, when you always have choices. If you have no choices,

then there's something wrong with your path. And I really feel

that that applies a lot to accessibility because,

you know, I get. I

always get some type of pushback from people in different spaces. You

know, people are on board with this, all the great. Yeah. Captions. Yeah,

yeah. Plain language. Oh, I don't. My writer

friends, you know, scoff at the plain language,

and I did, too. You know, and there's

always, you know, people have hiccups or, you know,

hang ups or some of these things, and it's that not, you know, being taken

away, the option to choose. And it wasn't

until I started taking these, you know, designing my

courses that I realized, like, no, there's still choices.

And even with plain language, like, there's different levels of plain

language, right. And, you know, I think

that the type of books that I write are, you

know, memoir and, literary fiction. Like,

I could handle that. I don't need to,

add graphics or do these other things that are part of plain

language, or be mindful of the,

adjectives or my expression.

I could still do this.

Jeniffer: Within this confinement,

give me an example of plain language. Because you just

said there's levels. So

maybe give an example of two options.

Choose whatever you want.

Belo: Sure. So I would say that,

with plain language, you want to be mindful of

adjectives, you want to be mindful

of adverbs.

Those are one to be mindful of. And you just want

to, Here's an example. So I

would say Jennifer sat alone in her

kitchen. That's plain language, right?

a creative writer might say Jennifer was playing with her

and popping her gum, wearing her pink sweater

in her kitchen, laughing when the phone rang.

Belo: You know, that's what most creative writer people would

say. And

I would just, I think the first one,

you know, works too. It all depends

of what it is. You know, the second one

example, that would not be a good intro


Jeniffer: So, I mean, are you talking about using plain language, like in

stories, or are we just talking about like, alt

text and image descriptions?


Now that I have, I gotta say, I feel a little

pushed back on that myself. And then what's, and then

what's the point of it? Like, it's just easier to


Belo: for readability.

Jeniffer: Okay.

Belo: And there's a lot of information online on readability

and writing, making sure that your work is

readable to your audience.

Jeniffer: So, like, if I'm writing an article about, you know,

design or even podcasting or, you know, whatever,

because I, I write in my blog marketing tips once a

week. So using plain language there would really

behoove me because it would be more accessible to

all and universal to more


Belo: I think plain language is absolutely

necessary if you're teaching.

Belo: Because you're teaching just the core. Right. I think that

in fiction and more creative spaces, you have more

creative license to admit. And here's an example

of plain language. I'm working on,

graphic memoir. And in the

graphic memoir, I used the term,

you know, my m home. My home,

flashback to its edwardian period time.

And what I was trying to say is that my

home, like, the electricity was,

like, it was. All these things were falling apart, like it was going back to its

original time when it was built.

Jeniffer: Right, right. And you could have said just


Belo: Exactly.

Jeniffer: okay, so you're currently writing a graphic


Belo: I am.

Jeniffer: I find that really interesting. What made

that. What made you decide to do that?

Belo: So, back in 2021, the, institute

in literature in Germany flew me to Germany for

a book festival. Frankfurt. no, it

was, at the institute. The institute on


Jeniffer: Oh, okay. Gotcha. Gotcha.

Belo: Munster, Germany. And so I got to stay, you

know, I got to read at this castle,

you know, and it was such an amazing experience.

And, you know, I'm not sure if I ever shared this with you, but,

after the US, my best.

My biggest sales come from Germany.

Jeniffer: Wow, that's pretty cool.

Belo: Yeah. The US, Germany, and France.

and so when I was in Germany, I was sitting in this,

you know, like, this little,

small, little group of people that were all independent

publishers and small, small

presses, and they were asking about, you know, graphic

memoirs, because apparently that's, like, really popular. And

they were kind of doing, like, a round robin, and they said, oh, you so and so

what do you think about, you know, graphic memoirs? Oh, I think

they're popular, and we're doing two next year, and they're

walking around, you know, kind of going around, and when they got to me, they said,

oh, I'm sorry, bello. Yeah. We realized you could never

have a graphic memoir.

Jeniffer: That sounds like a challenge.

Chad: The hell I can't.

Belo: And I was like, I remember waking up the next

morning, like, my jaw.

Jeniffer: Hurt, because I was like, do not tell

me no.

Belo: Yeah, exactly. Right? So I was thinking.

So I was. And I connected with this local artist here in

Minneapolis, and, you know, I had. I had this essay

that I put together, and,

it's a piece that's, 20,000 words,

which is, you know, too short for, like, an essay in an

anthology, but not long enough for, like, a memoir book.

And so I, you know, and it's just the way the piece

ended up to be. It just couldn't, you

know, make it shorter

or do anything else with it. And I just

decided that with 27,000 words, what

if we had some pictures and make it a graphic


Jeniffer: That's cool.

Belo: And so that's what we're doing.

And in making the whole process

accessible, we started touching my manuscript, and we're like, hey,

hey, hey.

But through a lot of deep breathing and

contemplation, I realized that it only made

my language more accessible, and m more

people could understand it. And I remember testing, you

know, working with, you know, people who are neurodivergent,

you know, who were autistic or, you know, who would. I

would play different excerpts of

the book, and they would literally say, I don't know what that

means. And the second time with the plain language, like, oh,

that's beautiful.

Jeniffer: Oh, wow. Wow. Are

you publishing this through ola books?

Belo: I, Yes, but I applied for a

grant, and so that's, what I'm kind of

hoping comes through, and then I'll. And then I'll release it.

This is how, you know, Oled books. We're a small press, and

everything we do is through grants.

Jeniffer: Yeah. And you have a book coming out in, I think,

early June, is that right?

Belo: July. Yeah. We have an anthology.

Jeniffer: Tell us more about that.

Belo: the anthology is called accessing parenthood,

and it is, a collection of stories

by individuals, who

identify as having a disability and are also


Jeniffer: Right? Yeah. And I've read, actually, quite

a few of the stories. It's a really good

book. I, hope a lot of people read it.

We helped design the COVID on this book, and it was a

really interesting experience working with you and your team and making sure the

colors were right, working with all these things, with the

fonts. and, yeah,

I, you know, starting with

let's design a pretty book cover, too.

Let's make sure this is accessible across

the board. And one of the things that happened is the grass is sort of

a pinkish. We kind of did this interesting

color study, I guess,

where, we use all these different colors, and it's

really pretty. It looks very painterly. It looks kind of like

a, like a degas or

something. But I really appreciated the process.

And working with your team.

Belo: No, we. We love the COVID And, you know,

I printed a, I printed the COVID out, and

I have it on my desk here. And I love

it when people, you know, anyone who

comes by and looks at it, they're like, oh, that's so pretty.

Jeniffer: That's awesome.

Well, okay, so let's come. What's the pub date on that


Belo: July. we are waiting for a couple things. this week,

we'll be setting the pub date probably in the next week or so.

Jeniffer: Okay. Okay. And people can look to for


Belo: Yes.

Jeniffer: And I just want to tell our readers that bellow has several books out blind.

A memoir. Fantastic. you also

wrote midday, dreams,

which I guess falls under literary fiction. It's

a short novella.

And, your first book with Ola books was

firsts coming of age stories by people with

disabilities. So there's a lot of great stuff that

you've put out there. Bellow. I hope people will check it out.

thank you for joining us today on this global

accessible awareness day. It's been a real pleasure.

Belo: Thanks for having me.

Jeniffer: Yeah, well, until next time, because, you know,

I can't not have you back. We're definitely going to find

more things to talk about when we bellow.

Chad: I, hope so, considering the rate of your


Jeniffer: Yeah, exactly. You just never cease

to amaze and impress and, Delight. That's

it. Amaze and impress and delight me with everything

you're doing for the community, both in books and

the accessibility community. So thank you.

Belo: Thank you.

Jeniffer: You can learn more about Bello Cipriani

and his books, his projects, his


Until next time, please like us. And

I haven't done this in so long, I don't have a script in front of me.

Chad: Please like and subscribe.

Jeniffer: Please like us and subscribe to the

premise everywhere you get your podcasts. And, we'll probably

rerecord that ending and that's it. Thanks a lot.