Accessibility for person with a motor disability

Eric Johansson esj at
Wed Mar 21 16:35:41 UTC 2018

On 3/21/2018 11:30 AM, Alex ARNAUD wrote:
> Le 21/03/2018 à 15:27, Eric Johansson a écrit :
>> On 3/20/2018 5:35 AM, Alex ARNAUD wrote:
>>> What is as you know the most efficient way to write text with a
>>> head-tracking software?
>> I'm frustrated by this kind of question because frequently, this is the
>> wrong question. you should be asking what is the appropriate interface
>> to enable the person with a disability to write, and more importantly,
>> edit text.  much of this thread has been proposing answers based on
>> what's available, not what the person needs.
> I understand what you mean. I just don't know what people with motor
> disability need. I'm trying to understand what it is available and
> I'll check with an association what the users use in practice. I'm in
> the first step on a long way.
We need more than just an accessibility tool, we need a different way of
accessing functionality and data embedded in applications. I've been
trying for years to figure out how to write code by speech and here's
the current state of thinking. I did this is a proposal to github for
talk it github universe.

It just occurred to me that another example of building your own
interface for the moment is what I'm doing right now. I'm extracting
bank statements to give to my accountant for tax prep. When you download
a statement, my bank labels every statement PDF.pdf. Yeah, I was
thinking the same thing. So I built a grammar that I can say "statement
in June" and it creates a file name of "1234-2018-06.pdf". I still have
to, display in PDF and then click the download button before I can get
to the point where I need to enter a filename but being able to generate
filenames by speech makes it much easier.

>> I can't use keyboards much because of a repetitive stress injury. I
>> would say that the most efficient way to write text with a head tracking
>> software is to not even try at all. It's the wrong tool. For many kinds
>> of mobility-based disabilities (RSI, arthritis, amputation etc.) speech
>> recognition would be a better tool.
> Which tool are you using on your GNU/Linux distribution for doing
> speech recognition ?

I'm not using a GNU/Linux distribution because well people of promised
speech recognition on Linux for as long as I've been disabled and it
just hasn't happened. what I use is Windows with NaturallySpeaking and
what ever hacks I can get to drive free software. I'm missing tons of
functionality that's present in NaturallySpeaking plus word (i.e.
Select-and-Say and easy misrecognition correction) but I do what I can.

I think it's safe to assume that we will not see speech recognition on
linux in the near future. there are at least a half a dozen projects I
can name off the top of my head that were going to provide speech
recognition on Linux "any day now". If you going to use speech
recognition today, the recognition environment must be available now. 

The question then becomes what can we do if we put speech recognition
"in a separate machine" like a VM or an android phone. the idea is to
isolate the nonfree components so that a disabled person can make a
living, participate online etc. using a mostly free environment. I
propose this because the assumption that every machine should be
equipped with  the accessibility tools the user needs raises the cost of
accessibility and limits the disabled user to just one machine that has
been customized for them. If on the other hand, if we put the
accessibility interface in a separate box like a smart phone and provide
a gateway to drive applications then many more machines could be made
accessible at very low overhead.

remember what I said about solving the disabled person's needs? As I
said to one free software advocate, take care of the needs of the
disabled person to make them as independent as possible, to earn a
living, to live a life first. Advocate free software second if it fits
their needs. I know this is not a popular attitude in some circles but,
quite frankly if I had to wait for speech recognition from the free
software community, I would be living on disability, wasting my life
because I wouldn't be able to work, I wouldn't be able to go to school,
and I just can't tell you how many things you lose when your hands don't
work right.

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