An export of a mastodon thread that I wrote to complain about the lack of control surfaces to make the interface more accessible to me.

Original here:

The things that make a website accessible to me are simple design. Low distractions from the task at hand, low visual noise and an interface/workflow that can be easily modeled in my head.

Cluttered options, high contrast text and URLs, and things that make websites accessible to vision impaired people end up actually hindering me.

and then you get people yelling about how complicated settings makes a website not accessible because it is confusing and creates barriers.

Makes me angry.

Arguing that customization is a barrier "its too technical" makes me angry. That same way of thinking is why we see games that don't let you change keybinds, or resolution.

It makes me frustrated; I can see both points of view as being valid. Opening up a panel and seeing a complicated keybinds system is inherently less accessible...

Unless you need access to those features.

Accessibility is relative. At some point customization is inherently a technical feature.

A user interface is exactly that, an interface between the computer system and the user in the chair. At a fundamental level, to make an accessible interface is to make something customizable. The interface needs to fit the user's needs.

You get weird problems where mandated accessibility features conflict. A choice has to be made.

But there is an inherent complexity to making something customization, which is itself an accessibility barrier to some.

As an example. I have taken care of my disabled mother for a great deal of time in my life. She's physically disabled, and her apartment is handicap accessible.

On my dad's side of the family, everyone is tall. To make housing accessible to them, they get customized counters that are taller. Literally hitting our heads on door frames so we get taller doors.

But everything in my mom's apartment is short. It literally hurt me to clean her house for her. A trade off.

Some stuff was easier for her in this apartment. She can't do stairs well, and a lot of the features of the place were helpful. But she wasn't wheelchair bound so other parts were harder.

Both me and her have cognitive issues that make it hard to plan and organize. The wheelchair accessible floor plan meant everything was cluttered because there weren't enough closets and the ones that were had oddly shaped shelves.

This all amplified the difficulty of keeping things clean.

What we needed was a space that we could customize for her needs. But customize-ability complicates things. It literally adds cognitive or physical load.

Having adjustable tables, Re-arrange-able shelves, and height adjustable furniture would have been a godsend. But those things have a cost too.

They're more expensive, and you have to learn how to use them. Flexibility of furniture also makes things weaker (bad for overweight people), or significantly heavier (bad good for weaker people).

With physical things, to make something customizable, you have to make the underlying hardware visible. Being able to unscrew and reconstruct the furniture to fit you better also means your furniture is going to have bolts and screws to snag yourself on. There is going to be visual noise from it, and parts of the structure may pinch you if you aren't careful. Its going to be ugly.

I want a social media platform that is ugly. Something with visible code I can reach out and tweak. Sure, it will be hard to use if you can't write code, but something like that would be easy for me customize and tweak for those who need it.

I can make my interface work for me - low clutter and low contrast. But also make it high contrast and easy to use for my blind grandma, and change the button size for my mom's clumsy hands.

But then you get people yelling about how complicated settings makes a website not accessible because it is confusing and creates barriers for people who can't.

You get weird problems where mandated accessibility features conflict. A choice has to be made. Makes me angry.

We can't just wish away the nature of furniture. Someone's gotta build it. Accessible to customize means more sharp edges and more effort to streamline. Or more complex and heavyweight.

You can make customization easier, but it's going make the product less simple.

You can simplify something, but this also means more work to customize.

More complex software is harder to mange/ends up costing more to run.

You can make it more accessible, but then you have to ask "to whom?"

Makes me angry.

Modifying your house so the dog can open doors for you, and other ways that those with disabilities cope.

This is fucking awesome.

"Much of recruitment is now online; the problem is that inaccessible websites and online application systems remain a big barrier for disabled people looking for a job. Over 90% of websites, for example, don’t even meet single-A compliance with the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) set by the World Wide Web consortium (W3C), whereas the legal minimum is AA (a higher standard than single A and lower than top compliance level AAA)."

Lack of Control

A complaint about feature regression with Mastodon for the sake of "accessibility".

ultimape πŸœπŸ’©