marjaerwin: (Default)
Cross-posted from Tumblr: http://ananiujitha.tumblr.com/post/81514629549/a-few-ideas-to-make-computers-more-accessible-for

1. Ergonomics matter.

2. Anything should be accessible using either mouse, touchpad, or keyboard. Nothing should require two-handed keyboard use, or excessive stretching during one-handed keyboard use. Nothing should require tapping, gestures, or exceptional coordination during touchpad use, because users slip. Nothing schould require painful scrollwheels. Therefore:

3. Whenever input requires coordination, either make everything bigger and easier-to-use, or break complicated maneuvers into simpler ones, or allow typed input instead of coordination based input. For example:

3A. You should be able to use bigger buttons and wider scrollbars.

3B. You should be able to break complex multi-layered menus, which collapse if users slip, into multiple smaller menus, or you can allow users to open the menu into its own window.

3C. You should be able to supplement sliders and other tools requiring precise inputs, with typed alternatives to slider control. Users may face issues with LibreOffice, YouTube, and power management settings, among others.

3D. If these are a challenge to programmers, the idea is to make these less of a challenge to ordinary disabled users.

4. From personal experience, I’ve found Gnome 2 and MacOS relatively accessible, with certain fixes [although MacOS scrollbars are too narrow], and Unity, Xfce, Kde, and Windows relatively inaccessible for various reasons. I find it very helpful to be able to use the Gnome 2 top panel to open stuff and the Gnome 2 bottom panel to switch between stuff. I also find it helpful to have all the menus in the top panel, and to have open finder windows persist from one login to the next. I find it very unhelpful to have to navigate through various multi-layered menus, based in one corner of the screen, to reach anything.

4A. I am currently using a Mint live usb to try to see if I can configure similar panels. I have been able to set up a top panel, with three menus, instead of one oversided menu in Mate; it requires installing an extra applet in Cinnamon. I have not yet been able to set up Gnome 2 style functionality for the bottom panel. I have not yet found a way to specify the panels in each medu, left to right, without the clumsy and clumsy-inacessible need to manualy slide items to their places on the panel, in Mate. No good, that.
marjaerwin: (Default)
cross-posted from tumblr http://ananiujitha.tumblr.com/post/81458611611/has-anyone-else-had-trouble-with-linux-screen

It seems to depend on the exact combination of distribution, desktop, and hardware. I am clumsy and have injuries and sensory issues, so I am trying to find a more accessible desktop, distro, and computer. I was just trying Linux Mint 16, both Mate and Cinnamon, to identify bugs and fixes before installing anything.

Mate: Screen brightness uses both the brightness keys and the power management tools. The brightness keys work, but they don’t cover the full range, and there are no settings between blacked out and somewhat too bright. The power management tools and associated screen brightness applet both rely on sliders, which are incredibly unergonomic, and sometimes either leave the screen blacked out, without the brightness keys helping, or flashing between blacked out and full brightness, again without the brightness keys helping. Obviously the flashing screen is even worse than the ordinary too-bright screen.

Cinnamon: Screen brightness uses the brightness keys integrated with the brightness applet, and does not use power management. The brightness keys work, but against they don’t cover the full range, and there are no settings between blacked out and far too bright. Ergonomic problems were also much worse than with Mate.
marjaerwin: (Default)
Right now I’m using an unsupported version of Ubuntu and Gnome 2. I’m considering Linux Mint Debian Edition and Mate.

Right now I can use the keyboard, touchpad, mouse, and joystick. I have a buggy touchpad and it’s very important to be able to install the needed patches and be able to disable tapping. If I can’t disable tapping, then nothing works and everything goes haywire. I would prefer to be able to use a joystick, since it doesn’t require the same arm-twisting, but it doesn’t offer enough point control. I cannot use a scrollwheel or a trackball or the like. Cannot.

I’m not exactly satisfied with Gnome 2. It’s a strain on my arms and hands. I need wider scrollbars and bigger on-screen buttons so I can use the scrollbars and buttons, and I need more smaller menus so I can use them menus without the submenus collapsing. But it’s the best I’ve seen so far.

I’ve tried Unity.

I’ve tried Xfce. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support touchpad settings.

I’ve tried KDE. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support touchpad settings, and it keeps resetting the screen to maximum brightness which makes my eyes bleed.
marjaerwin: (Default)
I am pretty sure that part of my problem is the result of the bugs in the installer - which is common across the Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu/Lubuntu/etc. family - as well as the bugs in Xubuntu itself. I don't know why, but the installer persistently demands a network connection, refuses the only one available, and loops there; using the alternative cd I was able to skip that step but this caused at least one of the bugs on this system, and contributed to others. In this situation, looking to other Linux variations seems wiser, especially if their installers don't share the same design decisions that Ubiquity has.

Xubuntu is interesting, but it is incomplete. Xfce 4.8 has no touchpad support, treating them as PS/2 mice, and treating brushes against them as commands to make the computer go haywire. I installed the psmouse match and some additional applications to work around this. Xfce 4.10 is supposed to fix this. Xubuntu also requires command-line configuration changes to enable something as important as the compose key. This installation is already buggy, and I'm not going to use the command line on it.
marjaerwin: (Default)
1. Hardware support can be a problem. Right now I'm using Ubuntu on a previously-used laptop; the touchpad company won't release their specs, or the source code for the Windows drivers, and the current Linux drivers cannot disable tap-to-click-go-haywire.

2. Unity. It has some improvements over Gnome, but it has many more bugs than Gnome. It's harder to open specific applications or switch between applications. It relies on a side pane which can get in the way or get stuck. In this case, I'd suggest sticking with Gnome unless they solve the issues with Unity.

3. Language support is a farce. Each keyboard layout is pretty limited, lacking important letters like þ or ... damn, can't even use the compose key to type ƕ, had to search through multiple character sets in another application. Only four keyboard layouts can be enabled. And I end up with one character-insertion application, character map, for certain scripts and another, kchar, for symbols like ♀.

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