NPR Story: At 25, the ADA Improves Access For All

NPR has a story about how the ADA (Americans with Disibilities Act) has affect the non-disabled. Though what is mentioned a little bit, and what I keep thinking of, is how it (positively) affects those with invisible disabilities, and people with non-disability hardships (people with strollers or large heavy luggage being able to avoid steep stairs).

It reminded me how a developer who tries to keep their site/app accessible often ends up positively influencing their site/app’s general usability.


I’m disabled when my back goes out on me; when I twist my ankle; when my eyes are tired at night; when my dog insists on sitting on my lap, making it hard to use a mouse.

I’m a quadriplegic (I can’t control anything below my head) and web developer. Just with the use of a mouth stick though, I can easily use a keyboard and mouse pretty well like everyone else.

The ADA has helped in a lot of ways for more than just those of with disabilities. Alt text on images helps mobile users decide whether or not to view an image and works with search engines. There’s a lot that can still be done, but I have seen quite a good amount of improvement in the past 25 years.

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Hey, I’m curious, do you use any Switch Control?

No, just mouth stick and sticky keys (see accessibility options on Mac or Windows). If you’re interested, the first few minutes of my video below show computer control.


Linux has sticky keys too, at least in Gnome and related WMs.

It’s too bad YouTube allows garbage craptions, and it’s too bad a guy I know with a sort of beta-crowd-sourced craptions-to-captions service can’t get his fixed captions onto YouTube, but I’m still going to tweet your video, because it’s cool. You type slower than me, but a lot faster than most of my relatives.

Since I’ve now seen some “pens” for touchscreens for sale with storage on the other end, I wonder when they’ll start offering storage to mouth sticks. Unless they already do…


Really amazing video, @vmtech. I can’t believe how quickly you can type! Quite spectacular. :slight_smile:

I haven’t heard of anything of the sort for mouth sticks. Since they try to keep them as light as possible, I don’t see it coming quickly.

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