Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Making May 30 Days of Accessibility Testing

I love it when something comes my way that literally forces me to rethink and reconsider something I already care a lot about and like to believe I'm somewhat skilled in already. With thanks to the Ministry of Testing, I have decided that I will do all I can to get into the spirit and actively blog about their current challenge, 30 Days of Accessibility Testing.

If you follow the link above, there is a checklist, and that checklist just begs to be blogged about. Therefore I'm committing to doing exactly that. It's already May 2, so I'm a day behind. That means you'll be getting two posts from me today.

Let's start with entry 1.

1. Learn about the Diversity of Disabilities and the effects of aging.

I've written about this several times on this blog, but to keep with the spirit of the challenge, let's venture into something new. I came across "Defining Disability Diversity in Society" and I think it's worth a read.

The point of the original task is to consider the variety of disabilities, of which there are many.

  • Visual disabilities ranging from mild to total blindness 
  • Auditory disabilities ranging from mild to total deafness
  • Physical disabilities ranging from mild discomfort in joints to complete immobility or absence of limbs
  • Cognitive disabilities that likewise run across a spectrum from mild to severe
  • Learning disabilities
  • Emotional disabilities
There are even situational disabilities. It's easy to think that there are two classes of people; those who are normative, and those who are not. Yet there are situations that can, in an instant, turn someone from normative to disabled. They may be temporary (loud settings, darkness, foreign countries, etc.) or they may become permanent (injury and age being common forerunners).

I'm currently experiencing one example of a disability entirely related to my age. I'm no longer able to read anything comfortably without reading glasses. If I forget them, doing anything that requires me to read or type is compromised. At those times, I find myself looking at the options available in Accessibility tools. Not to test but just to cope with the situation.

I actually had this situation happen Sunday night. I went to a meeting for my daughter's upcoming camp counselor training, and I forgot my readers. I was next to useless when it came to reading anything close. Stuff that was written on the whiteboard I was OK with but that was across the room and large enough so I could see it clearly.

Truth be told, I didn't really think much about visual accessibility other than as a set of tools I'd need to know to test with until I turned 45. As a special birthday present, I was given a gift of near-sightedness (or where you struggle to see things close up, I always get the terms confused). In any event, that change in my daily reality took me from being an involved participant in Accessibility discussions to being committed to working on their behalf.

Chances are, you will have a similar opportunity to come to grips with this and other age-related ailments. Normativity is relative, and it's a moving target. At some point, all of us will fall outside of it and realize that we are part of a large community of "non-normative users" (there, that's a term for you just in case the term "disabled" bothers you).

Methinks this will be a very productive month :). Stay tuned.

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