Category Archives: Usability

Using technology, especially in efforts towards accessibility (read: my accessibility), can be one of two things. Remarkably liberating or incredibly frustrating. Read some stories of my adventures…

The Applicability of Keyboard Access

Back in December of 2011 I wrote (which is almost impossible for me to believe);

“[I]n searching for alternative methods of access — which essentially means [the] ways [in which] I input my intentions into a computer, and I’ve also begun to experiment with a trackpad, too — I discovered the keyboard is my ideal method of access. I had to change a few [Operating System] OS specific key commands, for usability’s sake, but using the keyboard to control a computer cut way down on the time I used to fumble with the mouse.”

Habit is powerful thing. I’ve spent virtually the entire time on my computer “fumbling” around with various input devices. Specialty mice (specifically programmable mice), not so special mice (the Apple hockey puck comes to mind), trackballs (I hated using a trackball), Wacom tablets and most recently an Apple Track Pad. All had their pro’s but each had a lot of con’s. Mainly in terms of my ability to use them. More often than not, the trackball especially, they were just awkward for me to use in any productive fashion.

The irony of it all is the most productive means of access was sitting right there in front of my face, the whole time. The keyboard. And as time lapsed I was gravitating my use increasingly away from those various input devices I was trying to use to the keyboard without realizing it. Not because it was more natural feeling, rather it was just easier for me. Read “The Applicability of Keyboard Access” in its entirety

Some things will never change

This is my long overdue third and final post in the series of “describing my computing career.” Please refer to The origins of interest and The gamut of ever changing ability for the first two parts in this series. However I think we need to back track a little from where we left off, especially considering certain events that I was alerted of this past week, which are largely responsible for me writing this post today.

As I’ve discussed previously (again in The gamut of ever changing ability), I started school in the fall of ’98 with the intent of pursuing a certificate in Web Publishing. But by the summer of ’99 something changed. The web no longer had the same allure as it once did for me anymore. Honestly as I was starting to consider enrolling in college I had my eye on two prizes. Web Development specifically and Digital Publishing more broadly.

There was no denying it, Photoshop had it’s claws in me. It was that summer when I began my slow transition away from the web towards a focus on digital imaging. And just prior to my graduating college, which was actually December of ’01 (I missed commencement for that year so I had to wait until the next October), I attended my first of 4 PhotoshopWorld’s in September of 2001.

It’s a damn good thing I have more to talk about today than my Photoshop work. Aside from a bunch (is that 4?) very exciting trips to Florida and the amazing experience I was able to glean from being part of the most recognized gathering of Photoshop talent in the world (that may not be true, but it sounds great), keeping busy with Photoshop, at least, proved very tricky. I couldn’t find a market for what I spent a good 4, probably more like 7, years learning and doing. Fortunately I kept my other eye on the web. And my feet just barely wet enough to return to it should I ever wish (read: need) to. Read “Some things will never change” in its entirety

Sometimes it serves “us” to be selfish

It’s been a somewhat surreal year! Both for me and the planet, more broadly. Whether it was my getting involved with the IDRC or the global reawakening concerning exclusion/ inequality and the subsequent Occupation Movements. 2011 was a rager! Exciting, indeed. But for the sake of this post and it’s home on this blog I’ll concentrate on the former.

I was recently involved in a conversation with a colleague about my computer accessibility. The conversation didn’t start that way, focused on me I mean, but it ended on me. I don’t recall exactly how the conversation started, or more specifically how I was able to shift the focus on to me, but immediately following said discussion I found myself writing that colleague an email clarifying what I’d said. That email serves as the basis for this post. Read “Sometimes it serves “us” to be selfish” in its entirety

My behaviour is the problem?

Last week I was asked for my advice concerning input devices, the keyboard mainly, and image applications, specifically the HTML5 Canvas attribute. It was an interesting conversation. One that mainly had me focused on a few aspects of what I find most useable. Nothing that I’d say was incredibly stunning or necessarily revealing, again speaking exclusively about what I wrote, but yesterday something happened that made that conversation ever more relevant.

One part of said conversation, my part, brought up OSX Lion, and it’s gestures. And how I wasn’t in any hurry to upgrade. You see I haven’t the most precise control of my fingers — spacially speaking — and I find the trackpad on my computer incredibly awkward to use, a lot of the time. I can use it to move to any spot on the screen and click, once, but as for most of the advertized gestures in Lion, or at least my impression of them, having witnessed demonstrations both on the internet and in person, I was left with the strong impression those gestures would remain largely unusable to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t hostile to the idea of Lion’s capabilities, as gestures are just one of many new features, or upgrading for that matter — I was planning on upgrading, eventually — but I said that on Thursday or Friday of last week, and by 8 o’clock Sunday night Lion was installed and running on my machine. I guess I should have defined what I meant by “not in a hurry.”

But I wasn’t incorrect. Lion’s gestures, for the most part, won’t work for me. At least in any consistent manner that would, even remotely, be productive. But I’m still trying. And I remain optimistic. Read “My behaviour is the problem?” in its entirety