I don’t know about you, but sometime when I sit here to write something in my blog, I either forget my password to get into my web site, or how to get to the right place to add a new entry. So, by the time I get here, I’ve forgotten not only what I’ve wanted to write about, but the excitement about communicating here has faded. So, I ask myself, is it my brain, or my computer playing tricks on me? After polling others, I’ve come to the realization that no one knows everything about most computer software they use except maybe the program’s creator. We learn, especially if we are 50 or more, just what we must learn to keep afloat. Then when the software is upgraded or we must get a new computer, we tear our hair out because of the steepness of the learning curve. If we’re not careful, we want to take a hammer to the computer and forget we ever learned how to use it. How do YOU feel?
Now, add another component to this scenario. Some of us must use adaptive software to enable us to communicate with or operate our computer. I, for example, use a software program that reads my computer screen aloud to me. That software must be able to work hand in hand with each program I am running for me to accomplish each computer task. This means I must learn the commands of both my screen reader plus the commands to run a particular piece of software. I, and other blind persons, use key strokes rather than the mouse. If software creators don’t build their software, or web sites according to accessibility standards, the screen reader can not process the material properly. If you do a google search on “Where can I find accessibility standards?” not only do they show up for software developers but also web site developers. Some web site developers are trying very hard to make their sites accessible, and so are some software companies. For those of us who use adaptive technology, we really appreciate you for going the extra mile to accommodate us. I fear the only way developers will take the needs of persons with disabilities seriously and make “accommodation” a “must” is if companies refuse to buy their software, or patronize their web sites.
So, daily, my computer and I diligently work together to do our best, and with excellence. When I get frustrated because I just can’t figure something out, I pray and reassure myself that countless others are also asking themselves “Is it my brain playing tricks on me, or is it my computer?” Your thoughts?