Access Technology - Now and Tomorrow

This Blog is my personal view of the development of technology for all. It reflects those technologies available today, and those that we should see in the immediate future.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Second Tasbo www.sketch.com.uk

For those who haven’t come across the concept a while ago I proposed an “Anti award” I guess with a view to naming and shaming, not simply for products or services that were in accessible (there would be too many) but for those vendors, developers, manufacturers etc who seemed to take a deliberate even perverse decision to create something which was more of a crime against accessibility.


Tasbo’s are technology anti-social behavior orders, and the first was given to Amazon and the Authors Guild of America.

This award goes to a single, specific website, and is equally shared between the Site owners and the Site developers. The former should have had the common sense to look at the site and say “what ??? your joking, were not trying to stop people coming to the restaurant” and to the developers who simply should have known better

The site in question is http://www.sketch.uk.com/ it is entirely programmed in Flash but that’s just the start of the problems. First up youd better have broadband, and not an Iphone as it’s a large file to load and Apple mobile OS don’t support flash, we are then greeted with a series of animations that are visually confusing and which successfully animate the text on screen. This means that the text that you are trying to read moves as you read it, which includes becoming a mirror image of itself at times !

Trying to view menus is an experience, having found the link a transparent window opens over the current text and animations meaning that you are trying to read new text with an animation and old text beneath it

The worst thing is the restaurant has some great reviews on the web, it’s clearly well thought of a stylish and innovative place to eat, but based on the website you might well decide that it really is just too much bother.

So having shown the website to a number of a people via networks and twitter we garnered a few judges reviews of the site – these included

“this site is an excellent candidate for a inaccessibility hall of shame”

“I'd say one of the worst websites in any category”

“I'd say one of the worst...”

So come on guys, im sure you can make it a little easier for me to give you my money because the pumpkin soup sounds great – but I only know that because someone else’s site told me !

Friday, 2 July 2010

Apple My Cheri Amour - I hate you

Ok I have to confess Im a little Bi-Polar about Apple, maybe schizophrenic is a better term. They have some great technology and have made great advances in builidng in access technologies that work really well out of the box. Voiceover on the iPhone is all that one Blind Friend needs - no extra costs than anyone else to run a an accessible mobile phone, he even tweets from it ! BUT .... and its a big but (giggles - I said Big But), it would be so wrong to say that Apple have really understood accessibility from top to bottom. Lets take the iPad as a starter - great kit with some wonderful AAC apps developed for it. But unless you have another computer its a bit of an expensive table mat. Apple seem to assume that anyone who buys the iPad is very tech savvy, on startup that first time it just shows a cable and an icon and says Sync with Itunes or some such thing assuming we understand what iTunes is and where we should stick our cables. For the amount of money some simple guidance out of the box would be helpful

Apple are being touted as great computers for the first timer, the touch interface on Iphone and Ipad is ideal for the elderly and those with Learning disabilities, FaceTalk much just be the first video calling application to actually offer lip rading and converstaion signing for the deaf, but this achievement is hugely undermined by lack of empathy with buyers other than the technocracy.

Which brings me onto another thing, apple love the opening weekend ploy, queues of people lining up to get the new gadget first, something Futrama have recently lampooned (see  http://www.viddler.com/explore/engadget/videos/1633/ if you missed it) and again this gives a message that technology is something beyond the everyday. At the same time as Finland  is passing a law saying that broadband access is a legal right, Apple like to suggest that their products are for an elite and who doesnt want to be part of an elite ?

So come on Apple get in sync, get in (i)tune and in the words of the beatles "come together" If you are making a product that is inclusive, that is for the masses, lets get your backroom and marketing in order, if you are serious the concept of access to all needs to pervade all aspects of not only tech design, but marketing and help as well

I know you can do it - but do you really want to ? 

      
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