36: Xbox's Braille Controller, Trans-Inclusive Design, and Curb Cuts

👋 Hey there! Last week’s read had a 46% open rate. The most popular link was the 8 Tools that make design more accessible. Got your coffee ready? ☕️ Let’s read…


1. [Podcast] The History of Curb Cuts

“If you live in an American city and you don’t personally use a wheelchair, it’s easy to overlook the small ramp at most intersections, between the sidewalk and the street. Today, these curb cuts are everywhere, but fifty years ago — when an activist named Ed Roberts was young — most urban corners featured a sharp drop-off, making it difficult for him and other wheelchair users to get between blocks without assistance.” —99% Invisible

2. [Article] Trans-Inclusive Design

“Late one night a few years ago, a panicked professor emailed me: “My transgender student’s legal name is showing on our online discussion board. How can I keep him from being outed to his classmates?” Short story: we couldn’t. The professor created an offline workaround with the student. Years later this problem persists not just in campus systems, but in many systems we use every day.”

A great informative post that touches on content, images, forms, databases, IA, privacy, and AI, and how it related to trans-inclusive design. Looking to get started with a primer on trans-related vocabulary and concepts? Check out this link.

3. [Article] Xbox controller with built in braille display

A while back, we wrote about Xbox’s Adaptive Controller. Now, the patent for a braille enabled controller has surfaced. While that doesn’t necessarily mean functioning product, it does show that Microsoft once again is furthering accessibility efforts and inclusive design (thinking) for gamers.

“The Braille Controller, as it’s referred to in the patent, is very much like an ordinary Xbox One gamepad, except on the back there appears to be a sort of robotic insect sticking out of it. This is the Braille display, consisting of both a dot matrix that mechanically reproduces the bumps which players can run their fingers over, and a set of swappable paddles allowing for both input and output.

The six paddles correspond to the six dot positions on a Braille-coded character, and a user may use them to chord or input text that way, or to receive text communications without moving their fingers off the paddles. Of course the mechanisms also could be used to send haptic feedback of other types, like directional indicators or environmental effects like screen shake.”

4. [Article] Designing accessible escape hatches for modals

Aside from this being a super informative read with a great selection of design examples of Do versus Don’t with modals, Linzi Berry makes a great point about the tap to dismiss action we see in almost every app:

If modals, dialogs, pop-ups… whatever you want to call them are a necessary evil for transient content, we need to build accessible escape hatches.

Read it

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

“When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t. We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.

When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate.”

Author Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other things she’s been diagnosed with, and explains how it has led her to 'trying her hand’ at taking control of the depression, instead of allowing it to control her, and in turn living life to the fullest as she continues to live life fighting.

Aside from the very heavy (and relevant for so many) topic, it is, twistedly (is that even a word?) humorous.

What’s new from Stark

No news from our end, except that we’ve been heads down for a reason :)

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