It happened at around 4:00 am in a hotel in the city of Kuching. All was quiet when the phone at the front desk rang suddenly. The lady at the front desk picked up the phone and received a call from one of the people staying in the hotel.
The person on the other end of the line apparently made a request. And upon hearing the request, the lady had a bewildered look on her face.
What in the World Happened?
The person who called up the front desk needed to use the Internet provided by the hotel. The process was pretty simple. He needed to go to the hotel’s Internet Access page and use the mouse to click on the “Accept” button.
There’s just one problem. The person was blind, so obviously, he cannot use the mouse. Although he had an assistive technology in his computer and he could use the keyboard proficiently, he really couldn’t use the mouse to click and activate a certain control.
The person even tried a number of advanced techniques but to no avail. He can activate all the other links and controls on the hotel’s web page though, except for the “Accept” button.
…Hence the call at 4:00 am.
Going back to the situation above, the person was basically asking the lady at the front desk to send someone to click on the “Accept” button just so that he could use the hotel’s Internet connection. The conversation wasn’t as quick as it sounded. The person had to explain that he was blind and although he had assistive technology in his computer, he really cannot click on the button.
That was the start of the weird requests. Every time the blind man needed to use the Internet in the hotel, he needed to ask the front desk to send someone to go to his room and click on the “Accept” button on the hotel’s web page. And since the hotel obviously had different persons managing the front desk, a detailed explanation had to be provided by the man before his request could be understood and granted.
The blind man was nonetheless thankful that in all instances, there was a person who came and helped him click the button so he could use the Internet. You have to agree though that this was indeed an inconvenient situation which could’ve been avoided if the button were only keyboard accessible.
This isn’t a limitation of the assistive technology used by the blind man. After all, if he can use his technology to activate all the other links and controls on the hotel’s web page, then there is no reason why he can’t do the same to the “Accept” button. More importantly, a principle of accessibility and usability states that all online contents should be accessed and activated via the keyboard. The reason is simple: Not everybody can use the mouse.
So if you, for instance, would make your online content accessible via the keyboard, you can ensure that the numerous groups of people who cannot use the mouse can still access your content.
You can also ensure that you’d be safe from crazy blind men making weird requests during ungodly hours of the day.