A Day in the Life of a Partially Sighted Person

A day in the life of a partially sighted person involves many challenges. Think you know them all? We often have to think ahead, or outside the box to achieve our goals. How would you do? Take our quiz to find out!

It’s breakfast time, and you’ve bought some new microwaveable waffles. You’ve managed to magnify the cooking instructions and feel confident. However, the buttons on the microwave are too small to see.
Do you:
A) Magnify the buttons with your phone, or use tactile dots
B) Practice in advance and memorise the sequence
C) Wish the microwave was sentient so it would know what you need, but worry about it taking over the earth
D) Ask someone to direct you to the buttons you need.

You would like a cup of tea, to go with these waffles. However, you often can’t see how full the mug is and spill your drink.
Do you:
A) Use a liquid indicator for an audio announcement when your drink nears the top of the mug
B) Have extra lighting so you can see the edges
C) Use telekinesis to stop it spilling
D) Ask someone to tell you when the mug is too full.

The postman has arrived with lots of parcels. You think one is for you, and open it, but it was for someone else.
Do you:
A) Use a magnifier to check the envelopes
B) Put it back in the envelope and Sellotape it shut
C) Say the postman is an international man of mystery and has been inserting treasure maps into everyone’s post
D) Admit your mistake and apologise, ask for their help to identify parcels next time.

You’re walking to town when a cyclist swerves into you, swears insults at you for walking into him, when you didn’t see him.
Do you:
A) Try to have a conversation about why ringing a bell is a good idea
B) Apologise, and sing to announce your proximity for next time
C) Wish an apocalypse would wipe out cyclists
D) Ask them to use cycle paths, or a bell.

You’re at a traffic crossing that doesn’t emit a sound. But you can’t see well enough to cross safely without one.
Do you:
A) Squint to find the green man and miss him
B) Listen to traffic, walk across and hope you don’t die
C) Pretend to be a robot and make the sounds yourself
D) Ask someone if it’s on green.

You’re in a shop and can’t read the packaging on something you need to buy.
Do you:
A) Whip out every magnification app you own, and hope they don’t think you’re on Amazon
B) Take every item off the shelf to bring it closer but make a mess putting it all back
C) Use a magical staff to cast a spell and enlarge the font on packaging
D) Throw nerves to the wind and ask for help.

You’ve made it to the queue and need to pay. However, you struggle to see the buttons on card machines, or on self service checkouts.
Do you:
A) Magnify the buttons and hope they don’t mind you need longer
B) Find colour inverted card machines and use those
C) Use telepathy to pay with bitcoin
D) Pay with contactless and worship audio.

You decide to stop for a small something, to eat or drink. There’s lots of options, new places and old, but you know reading menus is almost impossible.
Do you:
A) Try a new restaurant, magnify everything, and hope they don’t rush you
B) Head to your favourite cafe where you know the menu better than your own soul
C) Go for a new place, guess cake flavours, invent sandwiches and hope coffees exist
D) Find somewhere with a touch screen self-service option, to bring the menu closer.

You’ve done your shopping and now need to head home in the dark.
Do you:
A) Use a cane with a light and make it home safely
B) Call or wait for a taxi, or book one in advance
C) Find a spaceship to whizz you round the earth so its light again
D) Trust faith but walk into trees, walls, and more cyclists.

One of the items you needed wasn’t in stock, but you find it online. However, the website has horrid colour contrasts and tiny font.
Do you:
A) Use colour inversion, magnification, Talkback, or other screen reading software
B) Try another website that you know is more accessible but might not have your item
C) Scream into a void and hope whoever designed the website hears you from there
D) Ask someone for help navigating the website.

Your bank sends you a paper statement you can’t read, even though you asked for it to be in large print.
Do you:
A) Use a magnifier or a screen reading app with headphones for privacy
B) Remind the bank of the font size you requested in a strongly worded email
C) Use holographic paper that can transmit the amounts straight to your cerebral cortex
D) Ask someone to read it for you, in a quiet space.

After a long day, you want to try a new quiz show. It sounds great, but it’s made up of images and textboxes which no one describes.
Do you:
A) Find a new magnifier so you can watch the show
B) Try one of your usual quizzes where they read out questions and answers
C) Become a cyborg with eyeballs that can zoom in on images like never before
D) Get a family member to read out items and describe images.

Whilst watching TV, you see a writing retreat in a new city, that sounds fantastic. However, it means using a different station; and you don’t know the layout, which platform you need, or where the bathrooms are.
Do you:
A) Use an accessible app, to find the platform, or an audio guide to the station, and magnify the signs with your phone
B) Research the station beforehand to find out what it’s like and where shops, bathrooms and platforms might be
C) Pretend to be an alien who doesn’t know how stations work, or that you meant to walk the wrong way
D) Ask passenger assistance or train staff to help you find your way.

Before bed, you want to try a new book. However, it’s not in an accessible format.
Do you:
A) Check RNIB’s Library and e-book services for a copy
B) Buy a printed copy, and use a magnifier, even if it takes longer
C) Freeze yourself in time, and defrost when the novel becomes an Audible
D) Find a local bard or skald and ask them to read it for you.

So how did you do?
Mostly As: You’re a whizz with assistive technology and know how it can help.
Mostly Bs: You often think ahead to solve problems.
Mostly Cs: You think creatively, but might need to brush up your knowledge for more practical solutions.
Mostly Ds: You know that sometimes you need help from others to achieve your goals.
Look out for our next quiz, when the partially sighted person tries to find a new job, coming soon.

Sarah Oakes (she/her) is a visually impaired science fiction and fantasy writer who loves music, mythology and plays the clarinet. She has had one short story, one poem and eight flashes published, both in print and online. She is always scribbling something, and is currently working on a novella in flash. Her work can be found in Pure Slush, Wishbone Words, Sixpence Society, FromOneLine and National Flash Fiction Day. You can find her on Twitter at: @SarahOa64492096.