Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Accessibility - the Ariadne GPS Experiment

This past fall, the Mobility Guru and I were chatting at his cube. I was telling him about my accessibility experiments and my Dad.

You know, Wendy, we should probably add Disability Support to the Mobility Roadmap. Actually, we probably should have done that in the first place. We could use this stuff you are working on professionally - though I know why you are doing it. Have you heard of Ariadne GPS?

Ariadne GPS is an app for iPhone that allows the blind to navigate.
If the worst case scenario comes to pass - I want Dad to be as independent as possible. Maybe the iPad is the wrong form factor? Plus - Dad has an old-style clamshell phone that he only uses for emergencies. None of us have his cell number. Hmmm.....
One of the other things I am learning is that I too am inclined to lean on my eyesight when testing. When testing apps for the newly (and somewhat suddenly) blind - this is not the best way to go. I need to figure out how to teach someone who is blind. Which means I need to reduce the reliance on my OWN eyesight. Get in the student's shoes....

It was humbling how frightening it was to close my eyes and follow.

Even more interesting to learn how the emotional charge of the situation (I'm doing this for my Dad!) impacted my ability to focus and learn. (Hint: it made it harder). 
As of this writing - the necessity for this tool isn't immediate.  Dad is doing well. 
Not seeing great (imagine Vaseline on your glasses with some clear spots), but still seeing.
Still, it's good to know these resources are out there.

To those of you developing for the blind and who keep us all focused on accessibility and Section 508 compliance when we develop our materials...

Thank you.

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