I’ve thought, for quite sometime honestly, that most of a persons success in using technology, and the internet specifically, is directly related to both a person’s willingness and ability to adapt. And while parts of my thinking still reflect this belief, large parts of those thoughts are not so much changing (in the sense my opinion is flipping), as they are evolving.
Before I proceed I’d like to define what it is that I meant by “success in using technology” above. Just for the record, I’ve never thought a persons perceived (whether it’s an internal or external perception) failure to interact with any given piece of technology was the fault of the user. It’s not. It most definitely is the fault, or better still, a short-sightedness of the creator. Nor do I think the word “failure” is valid in this context either. Failure and it’s implications would suggest this is a black and white issue. And it’s not. Not by any stretch of the imagination. As with anything there are shades of grey. As there are varying degrees of success.
That said, I’d very much like to alter what it is that I meant when using the word “adapt.” How I was using the word wasn’t entirely fair. It placed too much of an expectation on the user. It’s not any users job to adapt to technology. It’s technology’s need to be used by us. Otherwise why was it thought of and built? I’d simply like to swap “adapt” for “learn.” Most of a persons success in using technology is directly related to both a person’s willingness and ability to learn how to use it. The trick is to make that initial learning curve as inviting as possible. Easier said than done. Read “Adaptive web design” in its entirety
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
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
I’ve been away from here for quite sometime attending to a whole host of issues. So in an effort to get back into gear I’ll continue my series of posts describing my computing career. This is the second post in what will be three relating the story of what brought me here. Be sure to see my post the origins of interest for the first bit of my story…
… So by April of ’97, soon after transferring to a third “rehab” hospital (which was everything but a rehabilitation facility, hence the quotes), I was no longer “locked-in” — which as I understand it calls into question my original diagnosis, seeing how it wasn’t permanent (semantics, eh?). I started to regain enough mobility in my right arm and hand to be able to use a keyboard to type and use mouse keys.
Ahhh, mouse keys. I should probably provide you some context. Picture the ways in which any computer pointing device, like a mouse, can move. Limitless, right (speaking 2 dimensionally of course)? Forward, left, right and back. Plus every direction in between. Now imagine the representation of those basic movements on a flat surface, on a keyboard say, and using the numeric keypad to represent 8 directions that device can move. The number “2” key, when pressed, moved the mouse cursor up on the screen. Number “4” moved it left. Number “6” moved it right. And number “8” moved it down. Then the number “1” key moved the cursor up and left diagonally on the screen. Number “3” moved it up and right diagonally. The “7” key down and left diagonally. And “9” down and right diagonally. The number “5” key is the mouse button. Honestly what the rest of the buttons did is pretty fuzzy. Rather than guess I should simply refer you to the Wikipedia entry concerning mouse keys for more accurate context.
And that solution served me remarkably well for probably close to, if not exceeding, two years. Mouse keys are still simple to understand and most importantly easy to use. And it got completely out of the way and let me “master” elements where mouse keys reached their limit and other solutions picked up the slack — keep in mind I’m speaking wholly as a differently-abled creative individual whose primary creative canvas has been a computer monitor for well over a decade. It’s just the nature of the beast. 8 linear directions will only get you so far. It’s much like an Etch A Sketch™, in theory, as it’s movement is rigid and limited. And must like said Etch A Sketch™ there are ways around it’s operation. Read “The gamut of ever changing ability” in its entirety
Inclusivity isn’t anything easy to come by. I’m well aware of the efforts involved. In fact, I feel completely justified in declaring, more than most. And not in the capacity that I assume most might expect — there’s that ugly word “assume” again. Rather I’m coming at inclusion from the other side. Not having to accommodate, but needing to be accommodated.
I needed to be more like the mainstream enough to participate in… well… the mainstream. Meaning I had to adapt the way I behaved in order to make somewhat productive use out of a computer, generally, but the internet, specifically. (Which may sound vague at this point, granted, but Ill be addressing this in much more detail very soon in upcoming blog posts. Please bear with me.)
Don’t get me wrong, there was, and still is, a certain amount of technology needed to be able to interact with the internet — as there most obviously is with any individual. And the onus wasn’t entirely on me. What I’m saying is behavior and technology are never a mutually exclusive means to any end. Neither is to blame. They both are. It’s a fact we need to come to terms with and accept before “we” attempt to improve anything. Nothing is, or ever will be, perfect. Read “A reason for being” in its entirety