OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – A national educational program which helps thousands of people who are visually impaired relaunches its website with the help of an Owensboro woman.

For much of her life, Sheryl Lott sat behind the keys of organs at several area churches.

“It was one of those things I always did as a relief,” she recalled.

She started having problems seeing the keys and notes about five years ago.

“The notes got real fuzzy and I couldn’t tell where the notes were on the staff,” Lott said.

She was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. Her blurred vision caused her to stop playing those hymns she loved to play, and other hobbies.

“All the things I love to do, I can no longer do, which is play the piano or the organ, or we ran a business out of our home, which was an embroidery business,” she said.

But Lott gained other things to do behind the keys of a keyboard, taking online classes on Hadley, which provides online courses for visually impaired adults. School administrators reached out to her to be one of several testers and give feedback for a new website before it launched.

“There’s a million tiny details that go into building something that’s going to be accessible to older adults with vision impairments and we really needed their input,” said Chief Programming Officer Ed Haines. He also says the feedback from her and others led to new features such as contrast, allowing users to choose the color they see text.

“When you go to our websites, one of the first options you have is to change the font size, color, contrast,” said Haines.

He also says they’ve gained more than two thousand new users since the new site started more than a month ago. Lott says she gained more on and off screen.

“It was self-confidence to let me know that I could do something, even though I couldn’t see too much of what was going on. You could still maneuver through it, still learn from it,” Lott said.

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(This story was originally published on August 6, 2020)