Gladys, Take a memo, and please clean up my dirty mouth

shorthand class

cc: flickr.com/photos/70251312@N00

“Writing obscures language; it is not a guise for language but a disguise.”
– (Saussure, Course in General Linguistics)

In September, I started to experiment with voice recognition software. The results were interesting, humourous, and inaccurate. I wrote a post about it on the blog I set up for my graduate research. At the time, I was experimenting to see what it means to capture the analytics of performance (or here, speech) to be replicated later. This experiment resonated with some of the work I’ve done in the past couple years with accessibility, speech recognition and voice commands.

Then this happened:
apple dictation

Apple’s new iPad (generation 3), has a Dictation option. The features page, suggests that:

Write an email. Send a text. Search the web. Or create a note. And do it all with only your voice. Instead of typing, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard. Then say what you want to say while your iPad listens. When you’re done, tap anywhere on the screen and, just like that, your spoken words become written words. Dictation also works with third-party apps, so you can do things like update your Facebook status or share a thought on your Twitter feed.

Interesting stuff. Now, before you jump on board, read this post and consider what information you might be sending and storing on Apple’s servers.

I’ve been experimenting with this dictation feature for the past couple weeks. On Monday, I lost a fight with the dandelions in my backyard. As a result, I’ve thrown my back out and I have difficulty sitting for an extended period of time. So, I’ve been using the dictation feature to answer emails, send out tweets, and I’m using it right now to compose this post. It seems to work pretty well.

I was showing it off to my kids this morning as replying to an email from a friend of mine. I asked my five years old son if he wanted to try it out. So, I suggested he say, “Looking forward to seeing you.” Somehow things got a bit garbled…and the result?

“Fucking sea plank.”

I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it resulted in me having to change my shirt when coffee came out my nose.

Beatjazz & Different Ways of Knowing

Part of a series of weekly TED talks I’ve been watching and thinking about. Have a look, have a think, comment if you’d like. Some interesting thoughts here with regards to accessibility.

Onyx Ashanti: This is beatjazz

Daniel Tammet: Different ways of knowing

Architecture that knows where you are and how you’re feeling

In other news, I’ve been doing some reading up on Phillip Beesley who is an architect and a prof at the University of Waterloo.

He spoke at tedxwaterloo this year.

His most recent works are a mashup of architecture and sculpture, and are both creepy and beautiful. I think they speak loudly to what the future of architecture and design of physical space and information can (and should) become, a sympathetic environment responding to the individual who is experiencing it – have a look.

I wonder if he might be an interesting addition to the accessibility conference next year.

Here’s what I learned from #a4a10

Coming down from a conference high. #a4a10 – Aiming for Accessibility: meeting standards, making change was a tremendous event. Congratulations and thanks to the speakers, attendees, organizers and sponsors.

Word clouds from the event:

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Here’s (some of) what I learned and was inspired by:

  • “Meeting the requirements of the AODA really isn’t the goal in itself…we need to nurture a culture of accessibility and inclusion, which is different than simply accommodation and compliance.” (Mike Ridley)
  • Chronic conditions are the health care challenge of the 21st century.
  • Accessibility means revenue. People with disabilities are an untapped resource.
  • Apple & Accessibility
  • WAVE toolbar
  • D2L & Accessibility
  • Accessible Course Templates cc: No Rights Reserved License)
  • Vanilla Ice references have a place at most conferences (e.g. “Stop. Collaborate and Listen”, “If there’s a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.”)
  • Simply Accessible (Derek Featherstone). Design ideas for disabilities.
  • “It’s more than getting into the interface. It’s about being able to participate.” (Stephen Hockema)
  • Good design is accessible design.

See you next year!

“Just because something is compliant, doesn’t mean it will be easy to use.”

Derek Featherstone, developer, consultant, speaker, triathelete, accessibility specialist and group lead of the Web Standards Project, had this to say at AccessAbility.

  • Accessibility isn’t just a little piece of a website, it encompasses everything
  • 4 Cornerstones of Accessibility – Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust
  • It’s not just about meeting the guidelines. It’s about understanding the context of use
  • alt text is not just important for people who can’t see
  • Images that support or replicate information on the page do not necessarily need alt text
  • Don’t think visually. Think from a keyboard perspective.
  • First: Develop Content. Next: Build Presentation. Last: Add Behaviour.
  • Think “Progressive Enhancement

Derek can also be found at:

Further Ahead
furtherahead.com

@Feather
twitter.com/feather

Pirate Juice! (& other principles of good information design)

Jenn & Ken Visocky O’Grady are Co-founders of Enspace and Co-authors of The Information Design Handbook.

Information Design Handbook

I could listen to these folks talk all day. Their book is filled with case studies and essential design principles, with graphics that are exemplars of communication and aesthetics.

My favourite sequence from their presentation at AccessAbility:

If

pirate flag = “pirate”

then,

poison = “pirate juice”?