Re: The top three big problems

  • From: "Ian D. Nichols" <inich@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2007 23:16:51 -0400

Hi Andy and everyone,

This is proving to be a most interesting discussion. I hope you get lots of information and can develop something really useful.

Your reference to "curb cuts" prompts me to ask you to try to look far enough around to make sure that something doesn't have unexpected and undesirable results. In some cities, levelling the curb for wheelchairs, while also being helpful for baby carriages, tricycles, bundle buggies, etc., also meant that blind folk found themselves in the middle of the road before they realized it because there was nothing to alert them to where the sidewalk ended and the road began. The solution was simple - a small curb was not a significant barrier to things with wwheels, but gave the blind person the information he/she needed.

But carry on!  It looks promising.

all the best.


Ian D. Nichols,
Tioronto, Canada

----- Original Message ----- From: "Andreas Stefik" <stefika@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 6:02 PM
Subject: Re: The top three big problems

Thanks for that great response, Will. I think my own personal interest
in creating development tools for the blind programming community is
that I think it will lead to some really innovative ways of navigating
and understanding code, probably in ways that are hard to do visually.
I think, while perhaps an old argument, that my mind keeps coming back
to the idea of curb cuts. Originally, with curb cuts the idea was to
cut in to make curbs accessible to wheelchairs. At first glance, this
may sound like a custom change that only helps a small community,
although as we now know, it makes bike access, stroller access, and
other wheeled access more accessible for all.

I think of the programming tools for the blind in the same way. By
studying how we can best represent speech for analyzing state
information, control flow, data flow, whatever, and carefully
controlling how navigation and other issues work, we might be able to
create programming tools that are wildly more effective for the blind
and at least potentially more effective in general.

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