How to Use Blindline


The Basics

The online version of the Blindline database allows you to look for organizations and businesses that provide services and/or products designed for, or made accessible to, persons who are visually impaired. When you first log on to our web site, the Basic Search form appears on the home page. You may look up an organization or business by using any of three search categories individually or in combination. The three categories are "Services," "Zip Code," and "Keywords."

The results of your search are presented alphabetically when using the Services and Keywords searches. When using the Zip Code search, the results are presented in ascending distance order starting with those organizations located in the area covered by the zip code entered in the edit field and ranging up to the distance, in miles, entered in the "Distance" edit field. The default range is 15 miles from the entered zip code.

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Searching by Services Offered

The Basic Search form, which appears on the home page screen, allows you to search for organizations offering any one of 39 services. The desired service is selected from a drop-down menu (combo box). To learn more about the services offered by a particular organization, look at the organization's complete data profile. The full profile of an organization will provide a detailed description of all the services offered by the organization. For an explanation of service types, go to "Description of Services."

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Searching by Zip Code

To search for an organization by zip code, enter the zip code in the zip code edit field. The default search results will list all organizations in our database located within that zip code and the surrounding 15 miles. If you wish to extend the range beyond this default, enter the desired distance, in miles, in the distance edit field. The results will be displayed in ascending distance order and then by alphabetical order within a given range.

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Searching by Selected Key Words

You can use the selected key word function to simultaneously search all of the following information fields: organization acronym, city, state, or organization summary. In addition, this feature can be used to search for individuals by last name. You may also search by certain key terms commonly used in the visual impairment field.

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Commenting on Organizations

A central piece of the Blindline project has been to enable our users to comment on the organizations and services found in the database. Registered users can select an organization's record, read comments made by other users, and if they wish, add their own. Comments may be broad, referring to the organization as a whole, or may pertain to specific services.

A search of the database generates a results page, listing each organization by name and the number of comments which have been posted. Users can click on the name of each organization to open its profile page, which offers two options for reading comments. The "Comment" heading leads to the most recent comments. The "Read More Comments" link leads to the remaining feedback.

Comments may list specific services each organization provides and a numerical rating of their quality. Scores range from one through five, five being the highest rating. If the service type is listed as "General," then the evaluation pertains to the organization as a whole, rather than its services. All comments include a text narrative section, where reviewers may have added personal explanations. Lastly, the reviewer's screen name and entry date are displayed.

To add feedback, users select the "Add Comments" link. This brings up a login screen requesting a User Name and Password. All web site users must register before being able to post their comments. They can begin the process by selecting the "Sign up" link and following the on-screen instructions.

Most of the fields in the registration form are required (first and last names, password, zip code, birth year, and visual status) . Users can leave either the screen name or email address blank, but not both. A response must be given for at least 1 of these 2 fields. To learn why we need this information and understand how it will be used, please read our privacy policy. After completing the form, users press the "submit" button. They receive an immediate, on-screen acknowledgement of their registration status and are returned to the login screen.

After logging in, users are redirected to the "Add a Comment" screen for their chosen organization. They may select a "Service Type" from the combo box or choose "General" to reflect on the entire organization. The next field is an "edit" text area where users can comment in their own words. The "Service Rating" combo box provides the forum for scoring. Users may press the "Submit" button to save their comments or the "Clear form" button to discard their entry and begin anew.

Once a comment is saved, it is submitted to Blindline for review. Blindline screens and edits all postings for appropriate language and length. Blindline reserves the right to delete comments that it considers inappropriate. Blindline assumes no responsibility or liability for the accuracy or content of user comments. After a comment has been approved, Blindline sends the user a confirmation e-mail, including a copy of their posted text.

Posted comments include the user's screen name.  If the user did not enter a screen name on the registration form, his/her first and last name will be displayed with the comment. All other information is considered confidential and treated in accordance with the Blindline Legal Policy statement. Blindline encourages web site visitors to read this document before registering. Related questions may be sent by e-mail to info@blindline.info.

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