[Irl-dean] Blind inventor makes web accessible

Mark Magennis Mark.magennis at ncbi.ie
Wed Jun 7 23:04:51 IST 2006

> I especially like his comment on how the visual model of computer/ 
> GUI interface design is essentially completely "wrong"
> for a blind user, as they view/interact with these interfaces more  
> as a "one-dimensional audio stream".

Only if they are using an entirely audio (mono) interface though. But  
why use only one dimension? Why shouldn't the interface exploit two  
or even three dimensions which is a model closer to the real world,  
which we all, including blind people, operate in? No blind person I  
know has too much trouble walking across a room or organising objects  
on a desk because they are having to work in two dimensions. If they  
had to line everything on their desk up in a long row it would be  
dreadfully difficult. His interface seems to make extensive use of  
navigating up and down through tree structures, but these are in  
essence two dimensional aren't they? Isn't the concept of moving up  
or down the hierarchy between parent and children nodes more or less  
at right angles to the movement between sibling nodes across a given  
level of the hierarchy?

I'm not sure about this guy's reasoning. Earlier in the article he  
says "To use a screenreader you have to understand the visual  
paradigm - what dialogue boxes are, radio buttons and all the rest".  
Dialogue boxes being a visual paradigm I can understand, since  
"checking" a box is really mimicking ticking it with a pen. But radio  
buttons? Since when are they visual? In fact, one of the problems  
with the metaphor is that real life "radio buttons" (pop out buttons  
in "one at a time only" sets) very rarely exist now, so almost nobody  
below thirty years old will have used them.

It all sounds a little half baked to me.


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