I was asked for my thoughts surrounding the implications of “sharing” services, like that of Uber, on people with disabilities at a workshop held at the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) today. And since I was unable to attend in person, I was kindly given the opportunity to have my written words represent my interests instead. What follows are those words…
In all honesty, my initial approach toward these thoughts consisted of little more than what I’ve heard/ read about Uber from various sources, namely from the news media. And I’ll admit, that was unfair. But also consider one “source,” a Blind colleague, who was denied service because she was accompanied by a service animal, and charged a cancellation fee on top of everything, was what I drew my impressions from most!
And this wasn’t an isolated incident, for her I mean. It’s happened to her before at least one time previous (turns out it has happened fourteen or fifteen other times). And what happened after – I have no idea what amends, if any, were offered – is of little consequence; it happened. What I’m driving at here is Uber has a public perception problem as a result. However, that’s a separate issue – one potentially solved with training.
But what concerns me more about Uber’s intention to provide its customers an accessible service is what this effort will result in when it comes to Uber’s reliability. Read “Uber must earn trust from all their customers” in its entirety
When I wrote Regaining focus I figured, from my past experience using user defined style sheets, things would be as straight forward as I remembered them being. Why isn’t anything as simple as the utility demands? And for the record, I know relying on memory alone is largely a sloppy move to make. And I hope to correct myself with this post today.
But I didn’t fully realize my error until I went to write up the README for a Github repository I wrote for a solution for such a problem. Using the bit of code I provided in my post I linked to above, I wrote a style sheet (FOCUS.css) that would provide a user the same experience in the same browser from one site to another.
The problem being the ways to implement user defined focus styles vary quite a bit from browser to browser. From easy to complicated. Read “Defining focus” 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
As 2013 quickly approaches I can’t help but wonder where 2012 went. Actually this past year was quite an eventful one. One not so focused on the computer — if you take the regularity in which I have blogged since June as indication. But for the purposes of this post, and its home on this blog, I’ll keep this relevant.
With the first half of this year fully involved with my volunteer gig at the Fluid Project, and building Fluid Studios specifically, I was pretty overwhelmed at times. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Or looking back on it now, it wasn’t. I learned a few valuable lessons. Most important of which was how lacking my CSS skill set was, and in some cases still is, in terms of thoroughness. And testing specifically. Namely with the dreaded IE — precisely with versions 6 to 8.
Anyway, as I said, it wasn’t all bad — albeit very frustrating at times (which comes with the territory). But I really can’t complain. I received a new appreciation and a renewed interest in CSS. I’m all in. With everything. And my approach, especially. It’s all about Object-oriented CSS and writing efficient code now. Gone are the days of writing a selector, then all the rules that apply to that single selector. Make your CSS work for you, not the other way around. (Do me a favour? Don’t look at the CSS for Fluid Studios. Thanks.) I’m still learning but I haven’t been this excited about poking out code in a long time. A really long time. Read “The efficiency of CSS interest” in its entirety
Not that long ago I wrote about my initial experiences with Assistive Technology. And even though those experiences happened quite some years ago and I’ve undergone a lot of healing and a number of behaviour alterations since, I still use a handful of alternative means to access a computer.
But by far the most important one I use, that makes the time I spend on a computer much more productive and enjoyable, is the manner in which I use a keyboard.
As my physical ability has progressively changed, my needs — in the sense the solutions I use — have not. Well that’s not entirely true. I no longer need switch access scanning or mouse keys, but I still heavily rely on the keyboard, and sticky keys especially, to interface a computer. I can use two hands to type, but that can be challenging (working in Photoshop is the exception) so I don’t typically use both hands. But in an effort to speed up my productivity I don’t so much require said solution, as I much prefer to use it.
Which gets to my point, my most productive use of time, in terms of my access, is the keyboard. Most of the solutions I currently use involve these 90 keys that lay before me. Read “Keyboard accessibility” in its entirety