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Following an interview by Carl Ostrom Peter has been quoted in an article about Accessibility. A translation of the interview follows.
He tries to push Apple forward
Peter S. Abrahams is a IT analyst at Bloor Research in London and probably one of the leaders in the field of accessibility and usability in computer systems for the disabled.
He has spent his entire professional life in the computer business, first at IBM during many years, later nearly 10 years at Bloor. The meeting with disabled persons among family and friends made him consider how computer systems can aid them and how the systems can be made accessible. This also changed his work focus at Bloor.
“Accessibility and usability must be considered on many levels. It is about design of the hardware, system and software and accessibility on the Internet”, he states.
As examples of design matters, Peter mentions anti-reflective coating of displays and the on/off button. Reflections on the screen can affect many visually impaired and if the button is in level with the chassis, as in many Apple models, it can be hard to detect by touch.
Accessibility features can be built-in within the system, but at that point the philosophy at Apple differs from Microsoft. Apple has many built-in features, but Microsoft has so far relied on providing APIs, to be utilised by third-party developers. But Peter expects built-in features in Windows 8, which he so far hasn’t had time to review in detail.
“Third-party software can be expensive for the disabled. It can be more costly than the computer”, he states.
He likes Apple’s approach and considers that they have come a long way. He is especially fond of the use of gestures.
Peter is also a missionary for accessibility on the web. As an example, he participated in the development of a standard for a “Universally accessible” PDF.
“I can not understand why an entire group of people should be excluded from information”, he says.
On the question if he tries to push Apple forward, he chuckles and formulates a careful answer.
“I try to, and communicate my suggestions to them: first on my wish list is a well functioning voice input. I know that they take in some of my suggestions and we meet sometimes”, he says.