jueves, 2 de septiembre de 2010

Los ciegos pueden usar los dispositivos táctiles

El artículo Giz Explains: How Blind People See the Internet da una pequeña explicación sobre cómo perciben y navegan por Internet las personas ciegas.

Lo más interesante es la reflexión que hace sobre los nuevos dispositivos táctiles: según el autor de este artículo, un teléfono o tableta digital con el software adecuado es, para un ciego, más fácil y útil que un ordenador tradicional. Curiosa reflexión.
It's really a two-part question, so let's start with the fun half. The rise of the touchscreen gadgets, flat, featureless panels they are, is actually great news for blind folks. Let me put that another way: If you're unable to see, the iPhone, with its virtual buttons and complete lack of tactile feedback, is actually easier to use than, say, a BlackBerry, with its dozens of buttons. Weird! Well, not really.

Part of the story here is software. iPhones (and now Android phones) have sophisticated text-to-speech functionality, without which they'd be useless to the vision-impaired. BlackBerry phones, on the other hand, basically don't.

But even if RIM released an update to all their button-based phones giving them flawless screen-reading abilities, they couldn't measure up to a touchscreen device.

When you use a BlackBerry (or a Mac, or a PC) your sense of place is defined by sight. You move with a cursor, or a highlighted menu item. Then you click. And for the same reason web layouts aren't very helpful to a blind person, the cursor paradigm—hell, the whole button-input paradigm—sucks. With a touchscreen, though, your fingers provide your sense of place. iPhone users can turn on the VoiceOver function, tap anywhere, and hear a narration of what's happening. Tap the upper left section of your screen, right near the volume switches, and a voice might read, "Camera app." Tap the bottom left, and you'll hear "Phone." With buttons, mice and keyboards, you're stuck back in that slow, linear screen-reading world. With touchscreens, a screen, and a piece of software, can actually be surveyed. Memorized. Used.