Quadriplegic since a 1983 sports accident, Adam Lloyd has maintained an extremely active life in the academic, business, and writing fields. Currently a doctoral student in English at the University of Maryland, from time to time he writes freelance articles for Public Radio International’s Savvy Traveler, Abilities magazine, and his blog Gimp On The Go. He wrote to Abledbody with some advice on the iPhone and iPod Touch, saying that touch screen devices are still wholly inaccessible to people with mobility impairments. “As a quadriplegic I must use a mouthstick (a pointing device held in his mouth) to operate most electronic gadget. However, the screens on the iPhone and iPod will not respond to the touch of a mouthstick -– they require the electrostatic impulse from a human finger to work,” he says. “It’s a real shame, because these innovative, compact devices and their apps could be a great benefit and resource to the severely mobility impaired. But, for now they’re completely unusable.” I’ve written about how touch screens are inaccessible to blind and VI people who can’t see what they’re touching and too few — the Blackberry Storm being an exception — provide tactile feedback. Adam’s perspective as a quadriplegic gives more ammunition to the argument that touch screens, which are obviously the trend for smartphones and devices — even netbooks –, need to respond to all types of people, including those who cannot see or use their fingers.
Touch Screens “Wholly” Inaccessible
March 30 2009 | by Suzanne Robitaille