ADA Compliency

Curry Kenworthy curry at
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.

Best wishes,

Curry Kenworthy

Custom Software Development
"Better Methods, Better Results"
LiveCode Training and Consulting

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