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RE: Walking A Mile In Someone Else's Shoes

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 08:34:10 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Chas, Kynn and others who are interested in simulations exposing obstacles....

         There is a classic paper used in training teachers of the learning 
disabled, that helps you understand how some experience text. In this 
exercise, you are presented with the paper (or in this case a web page) on 
which the spacing of the words has been altered.

         For example using the last sentence:
Inth ise xercis e,y ou ar epres ente dwit hth epap er(o rint hiscase awe 
bpag e) onw hic hthes pacin gof thew ordsh asbe enalt ered.

         The group leader asks you to read it aloud, then urges you to stop 
reading it choppily ...

         I think something similar could be made to simulate what some 
cognitively disabled and some learning disabled folks would experience ... 
by greeking out all words in a page that are not on the Dolch (or other 
definitive word list) list, and asking the user to identify the topic of 
the page perhaps with and without illustrations.


At 03:05 PM 8/20/01 -0700, Charles F. Munat wrote:
> > 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

Anne Pemberton

Received on Tuesday, 21 August 2001 08:44:12 UTC

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