curry at pair.com
Fri May 29 19:21:54 EDT 2020
Rick, I thanked you for your concern. I'll thank you once again. Your
questions were just a little bit off target, just like some of my
clicks; but that's OK. I heard you, and I responded to your actual
points. Here are my points again:
Ability is not all-or-nothing. We need to look at the middle too.
Good UI can help many people function better and bad UI can hinder them.
For every person missing a hand or completely paralyzed, there's someone
else in-between. Having body parts, and able to move them, able to see,
but with real legally and medically recognized moderate to severe
limitations in mobility, agility and so on.
Folks love the extreme examples at the ends, just like those you
mentioned, and I'm so glad there are more solutions these days. BTW eye
tracking is another good tech. I've worked on adaptive tech. But looking
at the very ends doesn't erase the full range of handicaps.
With my hands and arms I couldn't open a food package without scissors
to save my life. I have many limits. But luckily I can use mouse and
keyboard proficiently usually, with just a few caveats like what I
mentioned, and a gradual progression of the impairments.
I'm in wheelchair 95% of waking time (versus 90% last year) but that's
OK with a computer; tech is wonderful! Energy has become the bigger
problem, and when you have serious limitations you spend a lot of that
energy doing the silly mundane things like trips to the bathroom, or
meals, and having to really rest after those. Today had another feature
- my throat muscles decided to take the day off, so I couldn't swallow
much at all. Had to skip a meal and drink less! But as you see, I could
still type well today, so I consider it a good day.
People greatly benefit from special adaptive tech. I'm an enthusiast
there too. But often the real adaptive tech is going overboard for
people with moderate ability; not efficient in that case. I require
adaptive equipment for mobility, but use standard computer laptop with
mouse. Many people with impairments can benefit from standard tech (BTW
that means the bigger audience, and more money that you mentioned) with
SMART DESIGN. That's what I keep saying, and I'm not sure you noticed
it. It's not theory or opinion, but real life experience.
Trends and schools of thought come and go, but that reality is going
nowhere. Until of course robotics and medical advances erase the
handicaps themselves. But even then - good UI will still matter. And
best of all it's a twofer; it helps the sound as well as the lame. :)
Sometimes just a matter of avoiding really lousy/stupid design choices.
It's literally that simple. Sometimes the more accessible product is
already there, and the company spends money to make it much worse! I
gave two real-world examples that impacted me, one for UI and one for a
physical product. I could give others. It's common, easily avoidable.
But that takes certain resources that sometimes no amount of money can
buy when a company is locked into what I consider a self-imposed
mentally handicapped mindset. Similar to what Dilbert always covered so
well. Good software and OS require a smart approach and sensible
decisions for UI. Without that, even with ADA compliance, many impaired
users will remain poorly served! (And normal users too, although less
impacted.) That is the point. It doesn't take a fortune, because the
money is being spent either way. The difference is making good choices,
which are surprisingly rare! Hopefully that'll change soon.
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