Re: Computer documentation for the left-handed? (long)

Subject: Re: Computer documentation for the left-handed? (long)
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 1995 09:38:26 PDT

> An issue has come up in our software documentation group: how best to
> address the needs, preferences, and sensitivities of left-handed
> users. May I draw on your insights and experiences?

I'm left-handed. From a writing and layout point of view, I don't
think people should waste their time worrying about it.

From a machine design point of view, since many people have trouble
identifying left and right quickly and accurately, it would be best
to design controls so that there's some other way to identify them
besides left/right position. A simple label is all that's required.

For example, take a computer mouse. Virtually all have identical,
unlabled buttons. Instead, they should be prominently numbered,
colored, or given stupid icons so they can be identified by something
other than left/right.

(I realize that you can often swap the buttons in software. No one
does, but you can. It's the same argument as Dvorak keyboard options;
just because you can set a system to use a Dvorak layout doesn't mean
all the keys should be blank.)

-- Robert

Robert Plamondon * High-Tech Technical Writing
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (503) 453-5841
"I regret that I have but one * for my country." -- Nathan Hale

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