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RE: Walking A Mile In Someone Else's Shoes

From: Charles F. Munat <chas@munat.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 15:05:27 -0700
To: "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
> Someone once suggested to me that getting stoned/drunk to excess might
> be the equivalent of "a blindfold to simulate blindness" for certain
> cognitive disabilities -- sure it doesn't really hit what it's like, but
> it might help you get a sense of context through personal experience
> as to what it feels like a -little- bit.  I am not sure if that person
> was joking or not. :)
> I agree with your point that just closing your eyes doesn't give a true
> sense of what a blind person's life is like -- but I've also seen how
> many perspectives can be changed by something like that, too.  The first
> exercise in my web accessibility course is a "disable your access to
> the web" hands-on exercise, in which students turn off images, sounds,
> scripting, etc, and disable their pointing device (assuming the user
> has no disabilities).


You are exactly right (IMO). We cannot understand what it is like to BE
someone else, but we don't need to. To achieve our goals we only need to
understand the FRUSTRATIONS (another word for obstacles, things that impede
us in our attempt to fulfill our potentials) of others. Then we can see (and
are motivated) to remove those impediments/obstacles/frustrations (I feel
like WL -- or is this just an illusion?).

So the blindfold (or monitor-off) example IS effective because it addresses
the very thing we're interested in: the obstacle.

I also think that the inebriation example is good not only for cognitive
disabilities, but, if you drink enough, for motor impairment as well. I was
going to mention that long ago I thought that I'd discovered a few methods
to IMPROVE cognition, but now I'm not sure. But I didn't want to give people
the wrong idea about me...

Chas. Munat
Received on Monday, 20 August 2001 18:03:06 UTC

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