Orientation. To me it must be one of the more-interesting concepts to annualize. Orientation isn’t a direction, as it isn’t an areal understanding of the surrounding. Orientation under the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as:
(Entry 1 of 3)
1: to direct (something, such as a book or film) toward the interests of a particular group
2a: to set right by adjusting to facts or principles
b: to acquaint with the existing situation or environment
3a: to set or arrange in any determinate position especially in relation to the points of the compass
b: to ascertain the bearings of
c: to cause to face or point toward the east specifically: to build (a church or temple) with the longitudinal axis pointing eastward and the chief altar at the eastern end
4: to cause the axes of the molecules of (a fiber or material) to assume the same direction”
Its interesting how our language often reveals deep understandings and truths, as we can see, the main use of orienting is often an implementation of item #1, sometimes #2b but our understanding of orientation in Purple-Lens is far-different and it is more the use of #3a.
Users with disabilities are unique users. To address their uniqueness the same way we would correct things for the general population isn’t a good example of inclusion. Imagine amplifying a specific scent to help anosmic people “ping” it. A logical attitude to anyone, but definitely not a productive way to solve the problem for people who literally can’t smell anything.
For numerous cases of disabilities, we had found their orientation is more important than almost anything else. As a unique user, you often find yourself trying to “make sense” of what general users would categorize as a “natural/good UX flow”.
So, when trying to understand the depth of the oriented user opposed the unoriented one, I feel its best described by t main methods:
A: Comparing to the general population. Trying to quantify the effect of thousands of UX points we now consider simply as “normal” or “acceptable”. If you are preforming this mind-trick and it isn’t helping you to get a clear image (pun intended), you can try and remember a time in which you saw an older, unoriented person trying to break-in a new gadget, website etc.
That feeling you get, when you see them “looking for the X” when attempting to close a particularly pesty pop-up; or that uncontrollable urge to scream, you can easily get when you tell your beloved mother “just click the big, green “next” button in the center of the screen!”
That’s lack of orientation folks. That is the time it takes to navigate when the “normal” orientation around you isn’t for you.
B: comparing to the blind. Blind people can often find their way around. Guide dogs, canes, acute senses and training all help. But what does one choose as the best method in his own home? That’s right, they choose orientation.
By arranging their home in a permanent setup, they can perform in a way that fells very normal. Knowing exactly where they are and how should they act to pick up the door keys, walk to the kitchen or turn on the TV. That is, ladies and gentlemen, orientation.
When we thing about accessibility, we should always evolve. We believe the next step in the evolution of accessibility, would be achieved based on two main dogmatic changes.
Here in Purple-Lens, we developed a unique solution for the core functions of the web; ecommerce and data consumption, turning any website into a controlled environment. By re-occurring, we help unique users to achieve that feeling of “orientation”, allowing seamless flow, an easy way to feel welcomed, loved and normal. Like a person getting to his own doorstep.
Purple lens – UX driven accessibility platform