Monday’s Musings 12: Is the world of accessible technology going backward, for computers anyway?

Hey guys,
Steve here.

Warning: If you aren’t in any way intrested in technology, don’t read this post. But I have some thoughts on it that I need to get out… so… I thought I might as well post this.
This particular subject has been bugging me since I was first introduced to Google, and it intensified once I got into using Windows 8. What I am here to muse about, as the title says, is the world of accessible technology.
You’ve seen a similar post from me before, however that one was me wondering why it has to cost so much. While on the subject of that, I recently found out about an accessible Twitter client, that someone is celling for $15. Crazy, huh?
Anyway, getting back on topic, let me elaborate a little bit. A while back, in 2009, google’s gMail was accessible right out of the box. However, through the recent years, it has come to a point blind users who wish to use it must first search for the “basic html” link, activate it, so they can get a basic accessible view. That is only one example. In fact, google in general has been slowly getting less screen reader friendly. Google sights, youtube, and google docs are just three things from google that have accessibility issues. Although youtube is fairly usable, some buttons and graphics are not clearly labeled, so it’s definitely not a site I would recommend to a blind person just starting out with computers. As for google sites and docs, the two products, as of the last time I tried to use them, are practically unusable if you are using a screen reader.
Google is not the only problem here. Let’s take Microsoft Windows, another product I use daily, for example. Windows XP, a version of the Windows operating system that is so old it will no longer be supported as of April 8, was the most basic, accessible verson I’ve used. Windows 7, released in 2009 or 2010, was pretty much just as accessible. However, Windows 8 introduced a whole new layout, one that I am so unhappy with, I will probably install classic shell, an application that will give windows 8 the feel of windows XP or 7. Why you ask? Well let’s just say this. The menues, and even task manager application, are laid out in a grid. The task manager, I’ll admit, is quite useful, and I like the way they did it. But the start menu… well not so much.
The reason, I think, has to do with the increasing popularity of GUI (graphical user interface). I think, that with new technology available, Microsoft, like most other software companies, google included, is trying to make their software more appealing to sighted users. And although Microsoft has worked hard on a narrator application that is better than it has been before, the overall look and feel of windows 8 is still hard to get used to. And to top it off, what is google doing? Even edmodo, a social media platform used by schools, what is that doing to make it more accessible?
Just to let you know, I’m not ticked off or anything. I believe that these companies lay out their software this way for a reason. And if I really want something accessible like that, maybe one day someware far down the road I’ll program it. And besides, to end this post on a good note, I can feel better knowing that there are people out there developing software for us. As long as there are people like that out there, I can believe that we are heading toward a future with more accessware, a future in which I will be included.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,

One thought on “Monday’s Musings 12: Is the world of accessible technology going backward, for computers anyway?”