Your holiday guide to holiday gift guides

Recursive as it may be,, consider this your holiday guide to holiday gift guides. At this time of year, gift guides are plentiful, as every retailer is vying for your gift-buying dollars. this guide, though, is a bit different, in that these businesses offer fantastic products that are inclusive of everyone, and in some cases, are even offered by resellers with disabilities. Some are also connected to charitable organizations, and your gifts can be a “two-fer,” as it benefits the charity as well as your gift recipient. So, please check out the list of gift guides below, and shop til you drop this holiday season!

Patti and Ricky:

This is a one-stop shop for all things fashion, apparel, and accessories for people with disabilities. Here you’ll find clever ideas disguised as hot fashion. From kids to adults, you’ll discover great gifts you won’t find anywhere else.

This is the link to Patti and Ricky

Holiday gift guide by Emily Ladau:

Emily is one of my favorite disability advocates. Each year for the past few years, she has created a holiday gift guide featuring entrepreneurs with disabilities. You can find it at:

Go here for Words I Wheel By

Love that Max:

This gift guide is specifically for teens and tweens with disabilities. You’ll find some great items sure to please any young person, with or without a disability.

This is the link for Love That Max

Gifts for the guys by Luke Sam Sowden:

Luke is a visually impaired luxury and lifestyle blogger who reviews tons of products from fabulous food to posh scented candles to bath and body products. This year, he posted a gift guide for gentlemen.

Get to Luke’s site here

Elegant Insights:

No holiday gift guide would be complete without my mention of my own enterprise, Elegant Insights. And, since this is my blog, if I can’t shill for my own business, what’s the point? Anyway, if you have struggled to find a gift for a loved one with vision loss, you’ll find great gifts of braille jewelry and accessories at Elegant Insights. Sure, tech gadgets and daily living aids are nice, but when you want a gift that’s beautiful, fashionable, personal, or romantic, you’ll find the perfect present at Elegant Insights Braille Creations. We have items from stocking-stuffers to full jewelry suites for that “wow” gift.

Find my Elegant Insights Jewelry and Accessories here!

The Fashionability Channel podcast:

While I’m at it, I may as well remind you about the podcast that I co-founded with UK fashion blogger, Emily Davison. This holiday season, Emily, our contributors and I are posting a non-stop series of style programs that will take you from desk to dinner to holiday office party to rocking in the New Year. Subscribe via itunes, Google Play, listen on Tune In Radio, or enable the AnyPod skill on your amazon Echo and tell Alexa to ask AnyPod to play the Fashionability Channel. We’re your guide to accessible style!

Please subscribe to the Fashionability Channel podcast here

Need more ideas? On December 7, I hosted my own holiday gift ideas program on my radio show, Legendary Insights, which airs on ACB Radio Mainstream. the show focused mainly on monthly subscription boxes, and I had several guests on the program who shared their experiences with their own subscriptions. Want to know whether or not a subscription box would make a great gift? Check out the show, and get the scoop on FabFitFun, GlossyBox, Play by Sephora, Love With Food, Degusta Box, and Stitch Fix.

Here is how you get to the ACB Radio Mainstream channel

Here are links to the boxes mentioned during the show:

Glossy Box
Here’s a referral link for GlossyBox

FabFitFun
Use this referral link for FabFitFun

Play by Sephora
This link gets you to the Sephora main page

Love with Food:
Get yummy Love with Food snacks by going here

Degusta:
This is the link for the Degusta Box site in the US

Stitch Fix:
Get your Stitch Fix by heading here

In addition to those mentioned during the show, listed above, here are a few more that my guest Caitlin recommended. I didn’t hyperlink these because they are not US-based sites, and for safety, I thought you might prefer to cut and paste the URL’s into your browser:

Japan Crate
Website: http://www.japancrate.com
Types of Crates:
PREMIUM JAPAN CRATE
$30/mo.
A care package of 15 full-size Japanese candy & snacks, collectible bonus item, a Japan-exclusive drink, and a custom manga-zine with translations, contests
and more.
FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE

DOKI DOKI CRATE
$30/mo.

Bring more cuteness to your month with a crate full of kawaii goodies you can use everyday, plus plushies, exclusive wearables, household items and more.
FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE

KIRA KIRA CRATE
$29/mo.
Explore the world of Japanese beauty through 6-8 full size items from cosmetics to daily care and more.

umai
FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE
UMAI CRATE
$25/mo.
Your monthly supply of rare & delicious instant noodles from ramen to udon. Try 7-8 premium quality noodles + a collectible bonus item.

Tokyo Treat
Website: http://www.tokyotreat.com
Types of Crates:
Premium for $31.50
Classic: $22.50
Ships free worldwide.

Wishing you happy shopping, joyful holidays, and your heart’s desire this season. As always, thank you for your readership, your kind words, and your support and encouragement throughout the year as we persevere together.

LL

Now, online shopping is as easy as chatting with a friend. Introducing Say Shopping.

If you are a screen reader or other assistive technology user, and have ever felt overwhelmed navigating an online shopping destination, then you may have turned to a smartphone app instead. Often, the main retail shopping sites are visually cluttered and can lack some useful markup that allows for screen reader users to quickly identify and navigate to necessary links and buttons. Many smartphone apps provided by retailers offer a user experience that is more streamlined, and therefore more efficient, due to the limited number of options available as compared to their huge web sites. Unfortunately, some of these same retailers have app’s that can be as confusing as their full site counterparts, since the limits imposed by app size and scope can leave little room for ubiquitous help, thereby reducing intuitive functionality.

Now, thanks to a new technology developed by Conversant Labs, using your smartphone to shop online is as easy as chatting with a friend. Say Shopping is an iOS app that enables users to interact with a retail establishment, in this case, Target Stores, by using natural language. Chris Maury, founder of Conversant Labs, sat down with me for a fascinating discussion of the Say Shopping app, algorithms, and natural language processing technology. Be sure to click on the link at the end of the article to listen to the audio interview with Chris that I posted for the Fashionability Channel.

LL: What is meant by “natural language processing,” and how have you furthered this technology in the Say Shopping app?
CM: Natural Language Processing or NLP allows a computer to understand the meaning behind the words people use. NLP has a wide range of uses from understanding whether someone is happy or sad or understanding that when they say “I ran out of toilet paper” they’re probably looking to buy more.
With Say Shopping we’ve taken NLP and applied it to the realm of shopping, and by doing so made it really easy for people to shop using their voice (something that’s never been possible before).

LL: Your technology will allow eyes-free, and eventually, hands-free interaction with other apps and devices. Where do you see the future of the technology headed?
CM: In the next year or so, we are finally going to see voice interaction move beyond simple virtual assistants like Siri and Google Now. With new products and services like Apple’s Carplay and the Amazon Echo, we are finally seeing devices where it is much easier to interact with them using voice than it is using touch. With these new products we’ll start to see more exciting features for voice-based services; Say Shopping and being able to shop online is just one example. Soon we’ll be able to read and follow recipes while we cook, order an Uber, and manage our email all from a voice client. And we’re building the tools that developers are going to need to create these new, voice-driven experiences.

LL: What can users expect from this first release of Say Shopping? Will there eventually be other retailers or use cases for your technology?
CM: You can search through Target’s entire product catalog, hear about product details and customer reviews, and order any products that Target will deliver to your house. We’re working to add the ability to order for in-store pickup as well which will open up shopping for groceries as well.
We want to make the best shopping experience possible for our users, so we want to make sure they have options in what they are shopping for and where they are buying from. We also want to bring Say Shopping to as many people as possible, so we are looking at supporting other platforms besides the iPhone such as Apple’s Carplay.

LL: How can other developers or potential licensees get involved in creating new platforms for the technology?
CM: We are finishing up work on our Say Kit Software Development Kit (SDK) which we used to build Say Shopping. We want as many people as possible building voice based experiences into their apps. We will be releasing the first version of the SDK in the coming months, but if developers are interested in getting early access they can reach me at chris@conversantlabs.com.

LL: Is Say Shopping available now? Where can readers find it?
CM: Say Shopping is available now from the Apple App Store. Download the app by following this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sayshopping/id969106932?ls=1&mt=8

You can learn more about the app at sayapps.com

LL: Anything else you’d like Accessible Insights readers to know?
CM: Say Shopping is still early in it’s development. We wanted to get it out there as soon as we could while providing something that people would find useful. There is still a lot we want to do with the app, and there is still a lot we can do to make it better. So if you have any ideas on how to make the app better, please let us know.

LL: I also want readers to know that Chris will be attending the National Federation of the Blind 75th annual convention the week of July 6th, 2015. You can find him bouncing between the booth for Target Stores, B43-44, and the Elegant Insights Braille Creations booth C6. You can try out the app, ask questions, and learn more about the technology. To hear a demo of the Say Shopping app, check out the interview I conducted with Chris for the Fashionability Channel podcast at http://fashionabilitychannel.wordpress.com/.

More about Chris Maury:
Chris was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Macular Degeneration in 2011 and has been working in the accessibility community ever since. He is also the
co-organizer of the Pittsburgh Accessibility Meetup a group with 200
members discusses how to make the world around us more accessible to people across disabilities. This group has met monthly since it’s founding in 2013 and covers topics from accessible sports to emerging accessibly technologies from universities and companies alike.

Get in touch with Chris:
Website: Sayapps.com
Twitter: twitter.com/@cmaury
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Conversant-Labs/438191096263041

See you in Orlando, everyone.

LL