By Peter Korn on Jun 20, 2008
One of the points folks in the accessibility community often make (me among them) is that accessibility features are useful to and used by folks who don't have a disability (or have perhaps a "situational disability"). This is termed an "electronic curb cut", stemming from the observation that the cuts in the curbs of our sidewalks placed there so that folks in wheelchairs can easily cross streets are used far more by delivery people and parents with strollers and bicyclists and so on. Similarly then, uses of electronic accessibility features by folks without the specific disabilities they were designed for are making use of "electronic curb cuts".
Today I came across a bizarre use of an electronic curb cut... installation of the Oracle database system by someone in a straight jacket, using nothing but their nose. The purpose of the video was to demonstrate that Oracle installation is not a particularly difficult or time consuming a task (as apparently an Oracle competitor had claimed) - that it can be done "with more than one hand tied behind ones back" (rather literally), and done so pretty quickly and efficiently.
Not only does the video make their point about Oracle installation in a silly way, it also speaks rather well to the purpose language in the current Section 508 accessibility guidelines: "Section 508 requires that...Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities...". As the video shows, with Oracle's support for mouseless operation, combined with the StickyKeys feature of the underlying OS, someone who can only press a single key at a time (perhaps with their nose) can install the Oracle database. And in fact, can do so pretty quickly for a task as complex as database installation (in something like 45 minutes, with the bulk of the time consumed NOT by keystroke entry but by the install process).
I wonder if the next video in this sequence will show the installer wearing a blindfold, and use a screen reader to make their point...