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Re: Head in the sand, driving a car

From: Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2003 06:30:57 +0100
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Message-Id: <8C3B39F4-9A3B-11D7-8B79-0003939B5AD0@btinternet.com>

In general I have respect for your comments, and as you will know am 
waiting to be invited to join PFWG.
in this instance you may not have the necessary experience, or access 
to appropriate research reports either.

Some users will always need non-standard responses because they are 
taking a while to learn the standard response and need it broken into 
For instance the trackerball can separate movement and clicking very 
effectively. However these are very expensive, and a college of 27,000 
students has only one that I know of. The leaves(1) web activity 
disables clicking, so that users can learn about moving at little if 
any additional cost, similarly the lightening activity ignores mouse 

You'll recognise that in this situation, the context menu is of very 
little interest to our users, they cannot read, and many would not 
understand the implications.There is no confusion, because this is 
their only web experience. Other users without SLD are far more able to 
understand the issues, and move elsewhere if they are not enjoying the 
experience, or find it disabling.However it is important that other 
users understand their issues, and this is much more easily achieved 
through demonstration and experience than by textual description.

People who create activities that disable the right mouse, for whatever 
reason (because they believe it protects their intellectual property?) 
actually contribute resources that may suit some of our users now, not 
in some fictitious future utopia.
	Why is an applet disabling right clicking preferable to javascript? 
note we stopped using java because it is less easily shared.

Moving user configuration is not currently possible due to log in 
issues, a swipe card could resolve this, however, by insisting that 
this is an OS issue the user's difficulty is being excluded from the 
advantages that networking provides, and this is misguided.
For instance, if there is an online course, that eventually trains the 
user sufficiently, so that right clicking should now be enabled, how is 
this to be achieved? in reality it is most likely that the user would 
get small amounts of time with the extra functionality interspersed 
with longer periods in a known or rehearsed environment. This is an 
ongoing dilemma, and one that is unlikely to ever be resolved 
successfully, hence it is important to provide alternatives.

I am already effectively an external expert in the college, and 
certainly not part of the internal IT department. The IT department is 
always trying to downsize, at least with respect to student numbers. It 
is already problematical getting plugins installed, javascript enabled, 
SurfPatrol removed, configuration permissions, or administrator 
privileges. It is simply not going to be possible that outside experts 
are going to be given access to the OS in the future.

A significant number of the most able producers of online materials for 
people with SLD have moved to flash.
If W3 cannot be flexible enough to create accessible resources, this 
will only encourage more.
In fact the bulk of materials are produced for CD distribution, and 
this circumnavigates the problem but for the worst reasons.
The CD comes from a trusted source, so is able to do much, however the 
resources are locked in and difficult to share, there is little or no 
networking. The benefits of the web are absent.

If you know of specific webpages relating IMS and people with severe 
learning difficulties, please post a URI.

I urge you to fast track my application to join PFWG.

Best wishes


(1)		http://www.peepo.com/alfi-x/splat.html

On Sunday, June 8, 2003, at 04:38  pm, Al Gilman wrote:

> At one point, this thread was about how to support a teaching task
> where a student was, with difficulty, learning to use a mouse.
> Pardon me if this has all been said, I searched the archives in vain 
> for
> "applet" in this thread and failing that, elected to write.
> In this context, any system response other than the response
> to the primary mouse button would be a confusion factor, and
> a major hazard.
> But the task is to be performed in a school where the teacher
> doesn't necessarily have access to tweaking the mouse driver
> for the student because the computer is shared and the OS
> settings are locked down by the overworked IT department.
> Several avenues of relief suggest themselves:
> a) in the short term, use an applet where right mouse clicks
> do nothing or elicit a mild complaint.
> A variant of this is the CAROUSEL prototype where the applet is
> a very simple thing which displays raster graphics and forwards
> events to a servlet where you adapt the event responses as you
> see fit.
>  http://grids.ucs.indiana.edu/ptliupages/projects/carousel/papers.htm
> b) in the medium term, the schools administration should eventually
> understand that this learning task is one that they need to support 
> and the
> means to get the workstation into one-button-mouse mode be implemented 
> by
> the IT team in a way so the teacher can exercise it without breaking 
> the
> workstation for other users.
> This need not be that far off.  There are utilities, sometimes within
> the OS, to save off the preferences of an individual user and even move
> them from machine to machine.
> c) in the longer term, the strategy being pursued by WGBH and
> Toronto and others in the package of accessibility-important
> learner preferences discussed in drafts at
>  Welcome to IMS Global Learning Consortium: Specification: 
> Accessibility
>  http://www.imsglobal.org/accessibility/
> will make it possible for a) the need to go into one-button-mouse-mode 
> to
> follow the user effortlessly between shared workstations, and b) the 
> change
> to this mode be made reversibly in ways quality-controlled by the IT 
> team.
> In the long run the hope is that something on this order will filter 
> back
> into the Web from educational use, through CC/PP.
> Al
> PS:
> You could perhaps find that this mouse training goes better if the one
> active button _always_ goes to the context menu.  Don't disable the 
> right
> button, disable the left button.  Let the function usually short-cut 
> bound
> to leftClick be only activated by a mouseDown, mouseMove, mouseUp 
> sequence.
> The gesture is harder, but the process is more self-evident.  It's 
> easier
> to comprehend the relationship between user action and system response 
> in
> this verbose mode.
> For users with high spurious input symbol generation rates, the usual
> compensation strategy is to introduce a two-phase commit (confirm 
> step).
> Despite the limitations of your students, I don't yet know that they 
> wouldn't
> understand the articulated interaction better than the abrupt one.
> It sounds as though you may need to slow them down, and the carrot of a
> system response when they plod may actually work.

Received on Monday, 9 June 2003 01:27:24 UTC

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