The Best of the Internets





EyeControl

Very interesting eye-tracking interaction device for folks with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or who are otherwise “locked in” by a lack of speech or upper body motor control. As I post this, they’ve already raised 50% of their goal (in a mere three days no less).


ARIA and DPUB Published a First Public Working Draft

DAISY and ARIA, sitting in a tree… I’ve been thinking a bit about eBook accessibility in light of the forthcoming second edition of Adaptive Web Design. It’s good to see progress being made. I’d love to see some of this come back into web-based (as opposed to ePub-based) HTML as well.


UI Fail: How Our User Interfaces Help to Ruin Lives

This post is full of gold! Here’s a peek:

While some of the users had indeed never had much computer experience, a vast number of responses involved highly skilled, technologically-savvy individuals—often engineers themselves—who had helped build the information age but now felt themselves being left behind by Web designers who simply don’t seem to care about them at all.

While issues of privacy and security were frequently mentioned in responses, as were matters relating to fundamental service capabilities, issues and problems relating to user interfaces themselves were by far the dominant theme.

Some of these were obvious.

There is enormous, widespread frustration with the trend toward low-contrast interfaces and fonts, gray fonts on gray backgrounds and all the rest. Pretty, but unreadable to many with aging eyes (and keep in mind, visual acuity usually begins to drop by the time we’ve started our 20s).

Many respondents noted that screen magnifiers can’t help in such situations—they just end up with a big low-contrast blob rather than a small low-contrast blob.

But then we really get into the deeper nitty-gritty of UI concerns. It’s a long and painful list.

Hidden menus. Obscure interface elements (e.g., tiny upside-down arrows). Interface and menu elements that only appear if you’ve moused over a particular location on the display. Interface elements that are so small or ephemeral that they can be a challenge to click even if you still have the motor skills of youth. The list goes on and on.