It may bring #accessibility issues into clearer focus if we call "inaccessible" what it really is: Disabling.

People tend to think a disability means not being able to see, hear, walk etc., and sure, physical or mental conditions are disabling in some or many situations. And you know what? We can CHANGE situations.

Follow

@ljwrites this blew my mind when I read about it from a design perspective. "Disability" is not a binary state but a mismatch between a person and the thing they are interacting with.

@Argus yup, it's a problem because one particular configuration of abilities (sighted, mobile, and often also hearing people) is considered "the norm" and everyone else is expected to just live with the mismatch because they are considered lesser and not as valuable.

@ljwrites @Argus Yep!! We run into this with our autistic stuff a lot. 'S'not that we're somehow inherently worse off than everyone else, but that the /environment/ is kinda hostile to us because no one thought about it.

@IceWolf @Argus and this is why I am somewhat critical of some autistic people (keeping in mind I'm allistic, so take it with a grain of salt) refusing the label "disabled," at least when it's used to distance themselves from disabled people in general. Yes autistic people are not inherently less capable, they live in a hostile environment that disables them... like welcome to the social model of disability, sounds to me like they're disabled??

@ljwrites @Argus Huh.

Makes sense. Honestly I think disability needs a reframing (this social-model stuff) in wider society so it's about the mismatch instead of about being Inherently Lesser.

But as it is, with society's Inherently Lesser categorization, I can totally see distancing yourself from it. In this context it's an identity label, and those are kinda tautological and definitions aren't everything.

@IceWolf Like I say, I only have a problem with it if it's like "We're not like Those disableds, we're not blind or deaf or mentally ill!" Not accepting a lesser category is one thing, throwing others under the bus is another. (Not saying that's what you're doing necessarily)

@ljwrites Oh that makes sense, yeah.

(Tangent but hah, hi we're plural, probably pretty much the /definition/ of Mentally Ill. :3 (fuck psychs))

@IceWolf oh nice! Some of my closest online friends are plurals :plural_heart: If I may ask, are all of you autistic, or some/one of you?

@IceWolf awesome, must make intrasystem communication slightly easier at least lol

@ljwrites Absolutely, people get the wrong idea when they hear "disabled people" sometimes because they think "I am not disabled / that person is not disabled," either gatekeeping or thinking they are being nice thanks to internalized ableism.

But I'm not disabled by my impairment, I'm disabled /by society/. It does me no harm and actually a lot of good to say that. @IceWolf @Argus

@bright_helpings @ljwrites @IceWolf @Argus We think there's a clear cut category of disableds and ableds, but instead if we think of it as, we're all situationally abled, that changes the perspective completely.

Thinking of my experience as an abled person, low contrast text is a fairly disabling thing for my heavily astigmatic eyes (e.g. every art exhibit is a guaranteed headache). Or, overpasses over highways scare me to death, maybe even that can be seen from that angle.

@cadadr @bright_helpings @IceWolf @Argus astigmatism is a good example of a condition that could be disabling, but society (capitalism) has seen to it that we're not in most situations with mass-produced, broadly available eyeglasses. Compare that to the pricing and treatment of, say, wheelchairs in many places and you can see how situational and societal disability is. Who to disable and who to accommodate is a societal choice.

@ljwrites @cadadr @bright_helpings @IceWolf @Argus I have a friend who developed low dexterity in their hands. MS Office Ribbon has these teeny tiny squares at the bottom right of an element that open up a menu. No way that person can click on that. I installed the last pre-ribbon version. LibreOffice would be better, but that would mean learning a new software, which is also very difficult. That person is smart, but no computer affinity at all - needs to write down every mouse click & practice.

@gunchleoc @cadadr omg those clicky square thingies are hell! Good thing you could do that for your friend. Office should really offer both the ribbon and classic options for interface.

@IceWolf @ljwrites @cadadr @bright_helpings @Argus OK, other pet peeves of mine:
- Why don't touchpads have buttons any more? I need a sledgehammer to bend the lower right edge for the right-click. Good thing I'm on Linux, where the driver allows me to simulate with 2-finger-click. This meand no right-click-and-drag. If I was on Windows, I'd be screwed.
- 2-finger scroll and 2-finger zoom at the same time? Seriously? This is not a phone touchscreen. My dexterity is good, but no thanks.

@IceWolf @ljwrites @cadadr @bright_helpings @Argus Of course, 2-finger scroll also interferes with the 2-finger right-click simulation, but the Linux driver let me switch to good old edge-scrolling which has always worked just fine. And with sidewas scrolling on the bottom too :)

Now imagine if my friend that I just mentioned had to find out how to configure that nightmare without help!

@gunchleoc @IceWolf @ljwrites @bright_helpings @Argus (by the way, maybe your friend already knows/uses one, but maybe a trackball mouse could be helpful to them. With these, you can move the pointer with the ball, and then click without even touching the ball, so the cursor is guaranteed to not move. I got this because the vertical mouse I had always moved when clicking, giving me lots of trouble.)

@cadadr @IceWolf @ljwrites @bright_helpings @Argus Yes, they do have a trackball, which helps a lot. Eyesight has also become a problem though.

@ljwrites @cadadr @bright_helpings @IceWolf @Argus fun thing about glasses and capitalism that i, a poor but ignorant immigrant child never cared about, but my partner who grew up poor in Ireland did (or at least her mother did):

if you're piss poor, you can get prescription glasses, but they (further) mark you as poor.

my partner's mother opted to rather not do that, while i in my ignorance was just happy i could see again

@meena Such an important point this one, actually.

Especially in urban settings being marked as poor can make your life significantly more difficult.

My wardrobe had poor written on it in big bold letters up until uni. As we became somewhat less poor about those years, and I started getting loans, my whole social experience outside improved *incredibly*.

I see people dunk on others for trying to look rich, but do they know what's life like if you *look* poor?

@ljwrites @bright_helpings

@meena @ljwrites @cadadr @bright_helpings @IceWolf @Argus Important point. I have €300 in my face and I don't even need anything that special, but I couldn't use off-the-shelf glasses. A friend of mine has the same problem but not the funds, so working at the computer has become difficult. It's hard to discover a new UI if you can't see it properly.

@bright_helpings @ljwrites @IceWolf @Argus So it's really ought to be a diversity thing, when now it's mostly a ticking checkboxes and pitying the disabled thing.

@cadadr @bright_helpings yup I really think taking pity and charity out of disability rights is like half the battle. It shouldn't be about othering people, it should be about what we owe each other and that the constant exclusion and devaluation of people is WRONG.

@ljwrites @bright_helpings Pity is a terrible thing. Like with 'kids in Africa'. Kids in Africa aren't suffering because of hunger and drought and so need your help, they are starving and living in abject poverty in order to enable the comfortable privileged life you're living and they need your countries' oppression and exploitation to end and they need to be compensated for the harm you've done for centuries on end. Pity and charity are just tools to hide ossified systematic issues.

@cadadr

Note that there's nothing wrong with helping (on an equal footing) kids in Africa while you (and them when they can) fight your coutnries's oppression and exploitation...

@ljwrites @bright_helpings

@Argus @ljwrites
I heard an example about this using stairs that really stuck with me.

There’s no physical reason we don’t build stairs such that each step is 1 meter high. That would still count as stairs, and you could climb them and get to buildings if you were athletic enough. They would just be less useful to most people.

The built environment is just that, built. It’s not that disabled people are “disabled” inherently, but that the environment around them wasn’t built to be useful for them the way that most stairs are built of such a height that ambulatory people find them useful.

@dorian @Argus @ljwrites Could this have been a 99PI episode you heard this in? I feel like I _may_ have heard this too, but it may also be my mind playing games on me.

@dorian
This is a great insight, but just a note of caution about this conception of "disability". I experience frequent states of anxiety and depression, sometimes crippling enough to disable me, in the sense of removing my ability to cope with day-to-day life. None of this, as far as I can tell, is caused by the design of the built environment. It's not my fault, but it is my problem.

@Argus @ljwrites

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon for Tech Folks

This Mastodon instance is for people interested in technology. Discussions aren't limited to technology, because tech folks shouldn't be limited to technology either!