I am top posting my response to the below, because I find Paul's
statement wll articulated. I don't want to break the flow, but I do have
a commnt or two.
I, for one, would not deny that vision, or the gui/mouse UI provide
advantages not easily replicated through other senses and modalities.
However, it is also most true that all of us, each and every one, have
disability ahead of us in our lives if we live long enough. I am
thankful that J.S. Bach simply dictated Art of the Fugue would he could
no longer see to write it himself. Similarly, I know we are all thankful
that Beethoven kept writing it down when he could no longer hear it
The point of accessibility is more than just providing something to do
for persons with disabilities, however. It's about exploring and
refining human abilities--those abilities we all share (mostly). When
one fasts one gains an enhanced and refined taste--at least for
sometime. When one experiences Eric Satie's Vexations (as I did at my
college in the 1960's), one might find one's hearing amazingly enhanced
and refined for nuance.
In the case of user interfaces, exploring adapted presentation and input
modalities similarly enhances and refines our options with computers.
One needn't use a wheelchair to appreciate the curb ramp at the street
corner. Good disability design is really human potential
facilitation--and always will be. Making something work for someone who
is blind is never about vision, it's always about the remaining senses
that the person shares with other human beings.
Paul Davis writes:
as soon as you move away from a visual UI, you have to
find some way to
avoid requiring the user to remember everything about the session.
when i try to remember a poem my brain creates images and i walk trough
them, when i reproduce it. when i learn a piece of music it does other
stuff (i'm a pianist and singer) but in the end i have a very complex
thing in my mind, just think of a bach fugue. i have the fugue also in
"the fingers". different areas of the brain work together. i have the
same oppinion as you, we are very good in using a visual UI. we trained
it for a long time. but there could be other combinations that work
nearly as good as "mouse-to-eye".
i don't agree, but i would be happy to be proved wrong. i believe,
taking a cue from Donald Norman, that interfaces have certain kinds of
inherent (often unexpected) properties that we end up using efficiently.
in the case of visual UI's i don't believe that our skill is the
dominant factor, rather its their ability to represent vast amounts of
information very efficiently. you can get very good with a table saw and
a router, but you will never be manipulating as much information. and
with all due respect to js bach, as complex as his fugues are, the task
of playing them from memory is made much easier by the fact that its a
*flow*: you deterministically move from one part of the fugue to
another, from one bar to the next bar, from one note to another. you are
*not* composing when you do that; if you are, you are probably
improvising a piece in which the final result doesn't "matter" in the
sense that there is no correct answer. but trying to find the right
arrangement for a multitrack piece during editing and mixing is
potentially a much more complex task, requiring a whole different skill
set, and the management of lots of information.
of course, if your music is mostly recorded in single takes, then a lot
of these issues fade away. i am thinking of more complex compositions.
i think it's all a matter of training. you do
"display-keyboard-mouse-combination" for long years and you became
professional in speed and precision. watch a pro-gamer gaming with
mouse.. what's about data-gloves? whats with feet-controlers and other
as a counter argument, why don't gamers use the keyboard? i suggest that
its because the keyboard's own particular properties are *never* as good
as the controllers they prefer, and so even though it would be cheaper
(and maybe offer more possibilities), they don't do it.
Janina Sajka Phone: +1.202.595.7777
Partner, Capital Accessibility LLC http://CapitalAccessibility.Com
Marketing the Owasys 22C talking screenless cell phone in the U.S. and Canada--Go to
to learn more.
Chair, Accessibility Workgroup Free Standards Group (FSG)