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Is Apple design good for autistic people?
Yes, Apple design assists autistic traits 67%  67%  [ 18 ]
No, Apple design makes life harder for autistic users 33%  33%  [ 9 ]
Total votes : 27

StuartN
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03 Aug 2010, 9:26 am

Asp-Z wrote:
If you personally don't like it, turn the features off, don't use folders, jailbreak your iDevice and change it to how you like it, or just buy a Zune instead.


I have been writing software since the 1970s (Acorn Atom) and have my technology functioning exactly as I want it, so it isn't a personal issue. I admire Apple design, but doubt that I would ever choose to use any. (I don't use anything by Microsoft either).

My interest is in the capacity of technology to discriminate against certain groups of users - hearing, sight and mobility impairments affect 11% of the population (or whatever figure you choose, this is a UK figure for threshold disability) who consequently have problems with many mobile phones and other technological wizardry which are increasingly part of social life. Despite the capacity of technology to assist impairment, there is plenty of evidence that some groups are experiencing increasing disability and social isolation. I have used mobile phones that have either displays or keypads that I can't read easily, buttons that are very hard to press accurately, and sound that is terribly distorted, and my sight, hearing and mobility are good.

Most studies of the disabling effects of technology are physically oriented, and the cognitive impairments are not even included in most user-accessibility guidelines. I am interested in how some features of new technology (especially smart mobile devices) interact with, for example, the sensory integration deficits and executive function deficits of people with autism.

To give another (non-Apple) example, some Windows software, and Firefox, use "smart" menus that change to reflect the users recent activity, so items rise in position when used frequently and disappear when not used. This dynamic change in function has a direct effect of frustrating some users with impaired executive function.

I see 40% of people who responded to the pol agreed with the statement, so I would love to hear from anyone else about how their autistic traits interact with technology.



Asp-Z
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03 Aug 2010, 9:43 am

StuartN wrote:
My interest is in the capacity of technology to discriminate against certain groups of users - hearing, sight and mobility impairments affect 11% of the population (or whatever figure you choose, this is a UK figure for threshold disability) who consequently have problems with many mobile phones and other technological wizardry which are increasingly part of social life. Despite the capacity of technology to assist impairment, there is plenty of evidence that some groups are experiencing increasing disability and social isolation. I have used mobile phones that have either displays or keypads that I can't read easily, buttons that are very hard to press accurately, and sound that is terribly distorted, and my sight, hearing and mobility are good.


Well, on my iPhone, I can go into the accessibility options and invert the screen, have the phone read out all the menus to me, set the screen to zoom into menus, increase the size of the text, speak any corrections the spellcheck made, among other things, all of which I can also do on my Mac.

Quote:
Most studies of the disabling effects of technology are physically oriented, and the cognitive impairments are not even included in most user-accessibility guidelines. I am interested in how some features of new technology (especially smart mobile devices) interact with, for example, the sensory integration deficits and executive function deficits of people with autism.


I don't see how a gadget could be designed so it dosen't effect sensory issues...

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To give another (non-Apple) example, some Windows software, and Firefox, use "smart" menus that change to reflect the users recent activity, so items rise in position when used frequently and disappear when not used. This dynamic change in function has a direct effect of frustrating some users with impaired executive function.


That's a Windows feature which I, along with many NTs, find very annoying. It can, however, be turned off easily enough.

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I see 40% of people who responded to the pol agreed with the statement, so I would love to hear from anyone else about how their autistic traits interact with technology.


Well, they help me understand it better... :lol:



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03 Aug 2010, 7:06 pm

I'm going to go with "No" its not designed to be anti-autistic, nor is it inadvertently anti-autistic.

Autistic or not, tons of people find OSes (windows and mac) easy, and tons find it difficult. Its next to impossible to design them in a way that suits everyones needs.

My mother isn't autistic, but she just cannot grasp windows for the life of her. Last 8 years been trying to get her to use computer and I /STILL/ have to explain what the red x, double squares, and _ in top corner does... and she still doesn't understand what the task bar is on bottom, so if its not the current window, she doesnt know it exists (and often has 40 things running at once w/o knowing)

Nor can she figure out the filing system of.... My computer -> My documents -> Whatever folder -> her file... despite me drawing diagrams, running her through it time and time and time again.

Everyone's mind works differently. Do I think she'd be any better with mac? No, not at all... her mind works in a different way than most computer users (and programmers for that matter, it takes certain skills and aptitudes to program, so that limits their way of thinking for the rest of the population... yeah they try to make it fit, but whats easy and logical to them is not to the next user)

As you can see from this thread, half the ppl here find it easy, half find it hard. Even amongst the AS community everyone's minds work differently, and whats easy for one is hard for another.


Theres also the fact that most people have used windows at some point in their lives. School's computers are often windows, family's computers, libraries, etc. So generally most users have a background knowledge of windows... taking that and going on to mac is tricky. The mind often wants to stick with what it knows, and has a hard time adapting to new things. Not that it can't be done, because clearly it can, but it often gives a bit more of a learning curve, and for some people they'd give up, or call it 'hard' and not move past it. So that could be a simple thing that would make it more difficult for Autistic users... a lot of autistic people do not like change, and switching from something familiar (even vaguely) to something new can be troublesome. No fault of Apple's, just that windows is predominant and has set the basis in most of our minds already.

I know that I have a hard time using Macs, but its mainly because I'm so used to windows. I just get frustrated because I have to go at a MUCH slower pace than I'm used to to learn it in the first place, and generally don't want to spend the time to suffer through it. Does that mean its not designed for me? No, I'm sure that if I sat down with one and got to spend some time with it, I'd slowly adapt and use it to the same skill I use windows, but I don't really have any need/access for that right now. Our school uses Unix... and its weird, I don't like the change... much more comfortable using windows (regardless of all the 'flaws' and s**t it has that people rant on about, its what I'm more comfortable with).

Programs are same way... they are designed to be similar to what we're already used to so its not user-unfriendly.... <--- take Oracle for example.... HORRIBLEEFFINGPROGRAMTHATMAKESNOSENSEWHATSOEVER!! !! !! !! !! UGH! I mean sure after using it and using it and using it... you can do what you need to with it, but its not what I'd call intuitive........ but not neccesarily because it isn't intuitive, but because it doesn't follow the same process that every other program that I've used does. It follows its own set of rules, confusing and irritating me to no end.

Most word processors have same icons (or very very similar ones) that do the same functions, because we've been trained that the big B is bold, that the paperclip is an attachment, etc <--- ...heeres one wonderful thing Oracle did to me, click the paperclip (omg they had one on this screen!) attach the pdf file (which btw, you couldn't just click attachment and upload file, no you hadda click attachment, choose the category you want, put name in, then tab twice for it to give you upload page... so... what do I do if I don't tab twice?! !! Really now.... no buttons nothing... tab twice!) but yeah, attach the pdf, later go back needa change it, and the ICON CHANGED!! !! !! !! !! !! !! SAME SCREEN!! !! !! !! and its different... now that I'm thinking in retrospect, I think it was a paperclip on a piece of paper, probably meant to show there exists an attachment, but at the time I was like "wtf? wheres the paperclip?! ! uuugh, Chris! How do I remove the old file, the paperclip disappeared... " before noticing the new icon "I dont remember it looking like this... but whatever... *click* oh, that looks right... I think..."

I've used an iphone though, and find it pretty sweet and simple... because for something small and handheld you don't want a full PC's power and have to right click, and go through menu for everything, you want to touch an icon and have it do what you need... its really well made from what I've seen of it....



Fuzzy
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03 Aug 2010, 7:49 pm

I cant see it being anti-autistic, though as stuartN said, it may adversely affect some of the comorbid conditions.

Mostly though, OS X is.... boring! As an aspie I need to frob digital artifacts.


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MONIQUEIJ
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04 Aug 2010, 11:32 pm

i think apple is for who ever can figure it out. :roll:


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UrchinStar47
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05 Aug 2010, 6:12 pm

OS X interface is on a short list of things I find physically uncomfortable just to look at.



CockneyRebel
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13 Aug 2010, 5:35 pm

I don't really see any reasons, that they should be. I have a friend who's on the spectrum, who uses an Apple.


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MechAnime
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14 Aug 2010, 5:51 pm

Speaking of Apple and autistics, I received this today:

http://www.sfweekly.com/2010-08-11/news ... or-autism/



Asp-Z
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16 Aug 2010, 3:30 am

MechAnime wrote:
Speaking of Apple and autistics, I received this today:

http://www.sfweekly.com/2010-08-11/news ... or-autism/


That made me smile, thanks for the link :)

My little cousin also liked playing with iPads in the Apple Store recently. He isn't diagnosed with anything AFAIK but he does seem to have Aspie traits (I'm told he spends a lot of time flapping for one) :)



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20 Aug 2010, 11:22 pm

Macs are easy to use, in my opinion. I'm not really sure what an 'anti-autistic design' would be, because some autistic people are picture-orientated and others like words.