The Importance of Accessibility

Recently I had surgery on my left elbow (non-dominant) and was unable to use my arm to type for roughly a week. The experience drove home the importance of developers focusing on Accessibility. It also proved just how difficult it was to understand, in advance, the needs people have. I have been involved with the accessibility team for about two years and discussed a great many accessibility issues with various team members, yet I was unprepared for my troubles while trying to type with just one arm.

The first struggle I had was simply logging in due to having difficulty with pressing shift+<key> for some of the characters in my password. The same issue presented me with problems when trying to use proper case while writing blog posts or communicating on IRC. Interestingly enough I also found out that when you press and hold down your left shift key in a certain way you will get a ‘>’ character… this really causes issues with logging in when you have one hand that is not fully functional. (see movie below) I was unable to replicate this issue in Windows, but I am unsure if Microsoft just handles the issue via software or if it is a software issue itself.

video of left shift key

Accessibility is important and I hope all developer realize that without having to go through actual surgery.

For those developers that would like to include accessibility as a feature in their applications I recommend contacting the Ubuntu Accessibility Team for assistance with how to complete accessibility testing. If you are a person with accessibility needs please consider contributing to the team as well; we need your input so we can build a much better knowledge base in reference to accessibility.

For those interested; my arm is doing fine and I will be getting the stitches out early next week. Below is a picture of the incision.

elbow picture

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3 Responses to The Importance of Accessibility

  1. Nice post, well wriiten! Glad to know you are on the mend. Hmmm, make devs spend a week with one arm tied behind their back…. you could be onto something there.

  2. Diego says:

    Yeah, I’m interestood on that too, incluiding services for old people like my dear grandma ^-^

    Glad to read you arm is fine, besides, chicks loves some scars lol

    Thanks for your post.

  3. xxx says:

    I watched your video about the shift key. Take a look at the German keyboard layout. Next to the shift key, there is the greater-than-sign key: Maybe your problem is hardware related?

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