The Best of the Internets

The Web Is Not Poor Man’s Native

Chris Wilson is dead-on with this post. The web isn’t native, but it can do native-like things really well and with less friction for our users.

The web… excels at just-in-time interaction, as it IS hassle-free. But it’s a natural progression to enable users to move that onto their home screen, and let them get notifications and other engagement features if they so desire. This is still the web, though – I don’t need to have the NYT app open just to read the article at a link I followed. There are also app-like behaviors you may want occasionally too, e.g. a “what’s near me?” app. There’s an assumption that app-like behaviors demand native, and that the web is for documents.

Making Accessible Futures

Sounds like this was an awesome workshop!

George Williams, one of the workshop organizers and author of the chapter “Disability, Universal Design, and the Digital Humanities” in Debates in the Digital Humanities (2012), offered the example of the curb cut, which, as he says in his chapter, was designed to facilitate wheelchair users crossing the street, but “became recognized as useful also to other people such as someone making a delivery with a dolly, a traveler pulling luggage on wheels, a parent pushing a child in a stroller, or a person walking beside their bicycle.” Williams urged us to recognize the broad benefits of accessible design, while also raising questions about the “universal” in universal design.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Everyone has special needs and not all of them revolve around disabilities.

There will be another Accessible Futures workshop this Fall. If you have the opportunity, you should go.

Web vs. Native: Let’s Concede Defeat

I could not agree more with PPK on this: Native apps and websites shouldn’t be in competition. Each has its pros and cons.

If the user doesn’t want your icon on his home screen, if the user wants a just-in-time interaction, it’s the web they want — not because of any inherent technological superiority, but because it’s hassle-free. Go there, read, forget. No junk left on your phone.

Most businesses don’t stand a chance of ending up on the users’ home screens. So they need the web — but not a web that emulates native to no particular purpose.

Even Tiny Updates to Tech Can Be Obstacles for the Disabled

Paul Kotler shares some of his struggles as a technology user with both autism and apraxia, including those you may not have considered:

For me, every step forward in making things lighter and smaller is a new obstacle. Often, the buttons I need to hit are too small, the screen too sensitive, or the glare off the screen too distracting to allow me to make use of my device. Updates to operating systems or apps that create slight changes to the size and position of buttons throw me off for days. While these changes might go unnoticed by a typical user, I endure a relearning process that slows me down and makes it more difficult to communicate.