Earlier this week Aaron Gustafson turned me onto an accessibility feature in Google+. In your “Settings” Goggle+ gives you the option to turn on “Accessibility,” to “change the presentation of some pages to work better with screen readers and other assistive tools.”
A noble goal towards inclusivity. But one thing unfortunately sticks out for me, why is this even an option? And an option a user must opt into?
Turns out the reason wasn’t as misguided as I first thought. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still totally counterproductive — accommodating what they’ve already implemented to meet a goal that would be better served if Google strove for this goal up front? 1 But, I guess, effort is being made to provide people the support they might need to better their experience. My “complaint” should be taken with a grain of salt. It could be worse. But at the same time, it it should be much better. Read “Some shortcomings in Assistive Technology?” in its entirety
In my last post, The frustrations of VoiceOver, I alluded to “actively using Git/ Github in my workflow to my advantage” in the process of building a WordPress theme, bA53. And I’m still on it. But I’d very much like to flesh out a few idea’s concerning how I use Git towards my web development efforts.
What is Git? While one couldn’t be blamed for thinking I’m referring to the British noun “git” — and no, I’ve never heard of it either prior to tripping over it on Google — which apparently means an “unpleasant or contemptible person,” I’m not.
Rather Git, I’m speaking about the software now, “is a distributed revision control and source code management (SCM) system with an emphasis on speed.” I’ve mentioned my use of Git previously, as far back as my first post on this blog, in fact.
But I’ll save you from the pain of having me actually explain something I (still) barely understand, so I’ll simply recommend watching these 4 video’s that do a far better job of explaining Git than I could ever do. And it’s done. Read “Some more meanderings on Git” 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
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