all posts tagged 'accessibility'

The Articulation Barrier: Prompt-Driven AI UX Hurts Usability

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

Current generative AI systems like ChatGPT employ user interfaces driven by “prompts” entered by users in prose format. This intent-based outcome specification has excellent benefits, allowing skilled users to arrive at the desired outcome much faster than if they had to manually control the computer through a myriad of tedious commands, as was required by the traditional command-based UI paradigm, which ruled ever since we abandoned batch processing.

But one major usability downside is that users must be highly articulate to write the required prose text for the prompts. According to the latest literacy research, half of the population in rich countries like the United States and Germany are classified as low-literacy users.

This might explain why I enjoy using these tools so much.

Writing an effective prompt and convincing a human to do a task both require a similar skillset.

I keep thinking about how this article impacts the barefoot developer concept. When it comes to programming, sure, the command line barrier is real.

But if GUIs were the invention that made computers accessible to folks who couldn’t grasp the command line, how do we expect normal people to understand what to say to an unassuming text box?

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The blind programmers who created screen readers

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

For most companies, accessibility isn’t a priority, or worse, something that they pay lip service to while doing the bare minimum to meet regulatory compliance. Ojala’s pet peeve is people thinking that accessibility is a feature, a nice-to-have addition to your product. When they tack on accessibility later, without thinking about it from the very beginning, Ojala can tell — it feels haphazard. (Imagine first creating a product with a colorless UI, then to add colors later as an afterthought, only to use the wrong color combination.)

I heard long ago that the reason developers should start testing software with accessibility in mind is that everyone, at some point in their life, will benefit from accessible technology.

At a minimum, as your eyesight gets older with age, an increase in font size will make it more comfortable to read things.

Any story that revolves around a few people banding together to solve an actual problem, and how that solution literally changed people’s lives, is so inspiring to me.

It’s what I yearn for at this point in my life. I don’t mind making money and building apps which drive business value. The stability of my job has done wonders for my mental health, and I am supremely grateful that I have it.

But boy, wouldn’t it be fun to get to work on something that has an outsized positive impact on people’s ability to live productive lives?

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Darwin, the town trapped by dial-up internet

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

"We are not saying we want to be given anything," says resident Kathy Goss. "We found our own potential solutions and we are willing to pay what it takes to get the hardware installed."

If the target audience for your app/video/network/website is "everybody", then you have to keep people like this in mind. Just because they live in the middle on nowhere doesn't mean they are A) stupid or B) poor. They, very simply, might just lack the resources to have a high-speed internet connection.

It wasn't too long ago that we all were trapped by 56k connections. Hell, it was only 2006 that I had to leave my computer on overnight to download a CD, and that was a paltry 50 megabyte download. Today, you have websites serving up 150 megabyte video downloads or serving all their graphics as 3 megabyte JPEGs.

I try to remember those days as best I can while designing websites today. Get your users to the content as fast as humanly possible. Then go ahead and add all your HTML5 gobbledy-goo.

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