I listened to a podcast yesterday in which the host explained how she, as a visually handicapped (but not blind) user, evaluated the accessibility of various pieces of gear.
She went into some detail about one particular podcast-oriented recorder, the Zoom Podtrak P4, talking about how the screen was just barely usable but that the knobs were good and the menu system was simple enough for her to navigate with a cheatsheet. This was in contrast to another recorder she’d tried to use, which had a tiny screen, a bad menu system, and, above all, no touch-friendly controls – she couldn’t even really tell where the controls were by touch, much less distinguish between them.
It was interesting, but not directly relevant to me – I do prefer controls I can feel, but I’m able to see fairly well.
I woke up about 1am this morning and happened to notice a light coming from the kitchen. It wasn’t very bright, and it was steady, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t a burglar; I went in there to investigate.
The light was coming from the oven; we’d forgotten to turn it off after using the oven and it’s not bright enough to notice unless the room is dark, as it tends to be at 1am. I wanted to turn it off – and discovered that the controls for the oven were completely inaccessible in the dark.
I could sort of feel where the buttons were, and if I pushed something, it beeped – but I hadn’t memorized the placement of the controls (we’ve only had this oven for 24 years, clearly not long enough to learn where the buttons are), so I couldn’t find the control for the oven light.
I had two choices – turn on the kitchen lights and wake myself up, or go back to sleep. I went back to sleep and took care of the problem in the morning.
Accessibility is for everyone.