I noticed that a lot of people on Mastodon are open source folks, so I wanted to share this article. It was written with blind people in mind, but I think it could help developers feel where we're coming from, why we hold on to closed source operating systems and software, and I did give ways blind people could help make software more usable for us.

Updated the article with some added links to the closed source software I talked about, fixed grammar and spelling a bit too. If anyone else has any fixes, just PR or let me know.

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@devinprater It's so disappointing that projects like GNU don't bother even trying to create accessibility policies that are actually useful. The open source's 'scratch your own itch' model of development ends up being exclusionary to loads of people, especially those with disabilities. But shamefully I guess I haven't considered that developing for Windows/Mac would aid accessibility for people who can't use Linux. So that's something I now need to think about.

@jookia @devinprater

I know a lot of seniors and others with disability use Windows and Mac/IoS devices *unless* they are old school techies - for all the faults of proprietary systems they *have* put some effort into UI and accessibility (Windows is actually fairly decent in this respect).

Too much FOSS stuff is designed for use by younger techies (and/or seems developed to gain skills to get paid gigs and then commercialised/abandoned, UBI might be a way of reducing this last issue)

@vfrmedia @devinprater It's something I never really thought of until now, so I'm really glad I did.

@jookia @devinprater

My grandmother in Malaysia was able to use a Windows PC to send an email when she was well into her 80s and her eyesight had deteriorated (she had to have the zoom level turned up a bit), and this was almost 20 years ago (t was around the time they implemented zooming the fonts using CTRL and the wheel in the mouse)

@vfrmedia @jookia Oh, sorry, I should be more srecific. I am totally blind, so I use a screen reader, which is a program that basically processes accessibility events gotten from apps by the OS, and turns them into speech using something like espeak. The problems with this are many in the GUI: apps that are non-standard, apps that use a framework that doesn't work with ATK on Linux, UI Automation on Windows, ETC., users needing to learn the jargon of screen readers, like dialog, radio button combo box, edit box, and so on, buttons with no textual label... So while people who have some vision are privileged enough to be able to resume normalcy by cranking up the size a little, blind people who have no vision must use speech, or if they have it, braille, which basically just uses text that would be spoken anyways, so isn't much different.

@vfrmedia @jookia Well, I'm 25, so not that old, but I teach computing to adults who are blind, and I can tell you with certainty that Linux would be frustrating for many users who just want to get things done, and not by typing commands that, on first glance, don't make sense and in many cases, not getting any output from them. I am a more advanced user, but so many other blind people are not. And dealing with learning an operating system, keyboard, and other computer hardware is daunting enough, let alone learning a screen reader, interface, workarounds, Terminal, and the few GUI apps that work well enough to be used on Linux.

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