We are interested in handwritten communications, an art that is increasing being lost to the computer. Why is it still relevant? Do we need to put the written word on paper when it can be sent faster through digital networks? Who are the people and groups that keep penmanship alive? The scope of this site grew from it’s start: we now also cover disabilities suffered by those that may require website accessibility to understand what most of us take for granted as “free”
I couldn’t write legibly until I was 12. I have what was referred to back in the day as dyslexia. Today we know dyslexia is a bucket term for dozens of learning challenges. Illegible handwriting never stopped me from leaning heavily on others to help with my handwriting. It made me all the more appreciative, now and then, of my sister’s incredible calligraphy (she’s an artist).
Today creative writing is one of my greatest strengths. Ok, a keyboard is more practical for me, but I enjoy pen on paper. A lot. When you put your heart and soul into learning how to imprint your thoughts via words, giving it up is not easy, even if the learning process with an old pre-digital tools was painful. I want to bring the pen and paper back to my life, but I also know it may be a bit like a blind person choosing to visit the world he or she lived in before assistive technology.
This site morphed its more narrow scope beyond writing, handwriting, and typing. Websites can’t be accessibility compliant without sacrificing design, interactivity and general user experience for visitors without disabilities (paying 50% more for designers and coders might help, but would still fall short). Those with challenges using traditional or common-place access to the written words on websites require alternative web pages that are made specifically towards an audience requiring accessibility.
Yes, the articles on Dopa are meant to be useful for everyone; they will not, however, have some of the features we would expect from a highly interactive site like the New York Times. Our pieces take 2x longer to finish and publish than “crowd-sourced” pieces on sites like Wikipedia, where contributors are already being asked too much (how many of their writers and editors can add 25% time to their no-pay work-load so they can also learn the proper dos and don’t off accessible webpages)?
Eventually this project will require funding– mostly for ambitious research and writing. We’ll have advertising for those that offer writing aids designed to assist those who find it difficult or tiring to write neatly. Please do spread the word about DOPA.
Updated: March 20, 2018