First off, the title of this post is obviously link bait. I don’t seriously believe this to be a real “issue.” But if you’ve not read my last post, it might be worth reading for some context, I’ve found an answer as to why I was having issues using VoiceOver. And I thought I’d share.
What I didn’t divulge last post was I was primarily trying to use VoiceOver with my work. Again, as I alluded in my previous post, I’m talking about VoiceOver on OSX. For sometime I’ve been very casually building what I refer to as “an orderly, semantic mark-up centric, un-styled and accessible WordPress starter theme” — for which, as of this writing, it’s technically none of the above. But I’ve named it bA53.
My goals with this personal project are many. But most importantly I’m using this opportunity to push myself to learn about a few different aspects of web development, specifically. Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA), how Screen Readers actually interact with what I build and actively using Git/ Github in my workflow to my advantage — I’m the master of the tiny commits and the much too frequent push’s. Read “The frustrations of VoiceOver” in its entirety
So for quite some time now, much longer than is even remotely justifiable in fact, I’ve been having my share of difficulty both with using and understanding how to use Screen Reader Technology. Or more to the point, I just don’t get how this particular technology is usable to Blind and Low-Vision users.
Just to be crystal clear, I’m not knocking the technology or anyone who uses it, I’m only speaking towards my experience with it. And since my experience is limited, take this for what it’s worth, which isn’t a hellva lot.
Using said technology is an almost maddening endeavour each and every time I try to use it. I cannot wrap my head around making personal, productive use of it — and when I refer to “it,” in the interests of full disclosure, since I design and develop on a Mac, I mean VoiceOver. Read “My life with a Screen Reader” in its entirety
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
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