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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] libreplanet-discuss Digest, Vol 70, Issue 14 F

From: Daniel Pocock
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] libreplanet-discuss Digest, Vol 70, Issue 14 FS & Disabilities
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2015 09:00:04 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Icedove/31.8.0

On 15/12/15 03:28, wrote:
> Speaking as a person with a disability, though fortunately not one that 
> affects my ability to use software, it seems to me that this is a prime area 
> where the classic Unix mantra of "don't do all things, instead do individual 
> things well and string them together" is really the way to go...  
> While disabilities vary greatly in their effects on people's ability to use 
> software / computers, it is a pretty safe assumption that a problem with one 
> sort of software is going to apply to all of it, and that there are some 
> relatively broad categories of issues that almost ALL fall into the category 
> of Input / Output...  (IMHO it is not really practical to address cognitive 
> issues....)
> People with visual impairments will need some form of display modification, 
> be it larger images, different color schemes, screen readers, etc...
> Similarly people with motor function issues need alternative input methods - 
> replacements for mice, keyboard alternatives, possibly gaze-tracking, and so 
> on...
> In each case, what the developer of a software program really needs is NOT to 
> address any of the above, but simply to provide a (hopefully standardized) 
> way of supporting alternative I/O methods.

This is where people run astray.  There are a lot of developers who want
to "innovate" or be different in their UI.  That is the beginning of the
end for disability support (and sometimes bad for i18n and other reasons

I've seen some striking examples of this from web / JavaScript
developers, many seem to have an urge to do visual things even when it
is not necessary.  In every company that I've worked in there has been
some horrendously overcomplicated JavaScript page just for querying the
company phone book.  It continues to amaze me that people don't simply
place the data in LDAP and allow users to choose the most suitable
client software for their device, disability or whatever.

Many traditional UNIX programs can work the way you describe (think of
how different UI programs can control a command line utility like sox). 
The problems can be in the politics of the projects or companies and not
hurting the feelings of people who already decided to spend time on
their own UI.



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