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Situational disabilities are a tough topic. Some people are even hesitant to call them disabilities at all given their temporary nature. Basically, a situational disability is a temporary impairment that causes you to need to modify the way you do things. Where a disability is typically either permanent or a long-term issue, situational disabilities can last anywhere from minutes to weeks. More than that, these disabilities can impact anyone at any time.
Temporary Sight Loss
Have you ever gone to the eye doctor and had a thorough eye exam? Typically, this involves dilating your eyes so that the doctor can get a good look at what is happening in your vision. However, the dilation also makes it pretty tough to see and it also makes you extremely light-sensitive. While this impact is only temporary and will wear off, it still makes your life a bit more complicated for the next few hours. Typically, you are given flimsy plastic sunglasses to block out the light, told not to drive, and sent on your way.
What if you have to go back to work? I’ve done it, and it’s really hard to see the computer screen if all of the text is tiny and squished together. This is why having something like UserWay’s text enlargement feature at your fingertips is so important. You probably don’t think about wanting enlarged text much, and it might never cross your mind until you really need it. Having UserWay already installed on a site means you won’t have to look far for help, it will already be present and ready to help you out.
Have you ever tried to eat and work on the computer at the same time? It probably involves a bit too much focusing on not smearing the food across the keys or dropping things as you try to multi-task with your dominant hand. Or worse, imagine you’ve broken your dominant arm and can’t use it at all. How would you navigate the internet? You can’t grip a traditional mouse, and you don’t have the control to use a trackpad with any sort of accuracy. You might think that a smartphone will work for your non-dominant hand for a little bit, but if you actually need to get something done, you are going to need a more permanent solution.
This is where keyboard navigation comes into play. It’s a simple way for computer users to navigate around websites while using minimal and pre-determined keystrokes. These combinations can easily be done with your non-dominant hand and involve much less effort than your typical navigation. The problem is, not all websites make this type of navigation so simple. Instead, they have confusing navigation patterns or chunks of text that mean it’ll take a while and a lot of key presses before you actually get to the information that you need.
Again, this is where the UserWay widget comes into play. If it is installed on a website, it will be able to make smart and intuitive modifications to elements on websites that might otherwise complicate the keyboard-only navigation process. This will increase how effectively keyboard navigation works for you when you need it, making it a prebuilt solution that is available when you need it.
While these might be considered as less significant situational disability than the other items on the list, we all encounter days when we just can’t seem to get ourselves to focus on the computer screen. Maybe you’re tired from studying, maybe you have a cold and your eyes are watering, and maybe you are just overworked and the words on the page are all blurring together. Something is blocking you from locating and absorbing the information that you need, and I bet you feel frustrated and want to just quit trying.
Taking a break is a great idea, but it’s not always feasible. Even if you take a break, sometimes the situation hasn’t really improved. That’s another reason to turn to UserWay’s features. There are all sorts of fun little gems hidden in the widget that can make your life a bit easier when you hit those random walls in your day. Constantly losing your cursor on the page? Just click the “Big Cursor” button and watch your cursor expand to a much more distinguishable size.
Looking for links on a page that seems to have buried them in some sort of overly-complicated treasure hunt? Then click the “Highlight Links” button on the UserWay widget. Suddenly, any link that appears on the web page will be shaded in a bright and recognizable color making them much easier to find. Are your eyes just tired from too much web work? Take advantage of the “Desaturate” feature to make bright and intrusive web pages a much more manageable black and gray. You’ll be able to focus on the content more easily without getting distracted by overly stylized website color palettes.
Help Should Always Be Available
No matter what you need or when you need it, accessibility solutions should just always be available. If you wait until you desperately need them, then seeking them out and using them for the first time might seem overwhelming. Frankly, you might not try out the solution in favor of waiting for the complication to pass. That’s one of the many reasons website owners should make these accessibility solutions available from the outset.
Everyone has a different experience every day. Some people have life-long disabilities while others experience brief periods of complications that create barriers between them and the work they typically do. Whichever category you fall into (and for most of us it will be one or the other at some point in our lives) a solution needs to be available and accessible. That’s why UserWay exists, so whenever you need a little help it’ll be there waiting for you.