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Re: CLI versus GUI [was "Re: The great software speech server hunt"]

Hi All,

the CLI versus GUI approaches are an interesting topic. Often, it is
difficult to step outside our on personal preferences and experiences
and understand the complexity of the vast scope of differing
requirements. I am very cautious when reading any claim that X is
inaccessible or Y is more accessible because they often fail to
clearly identify the type of user under consideration.

I use both interfaces. However, until a few months back, when I was
lucky enough to get an operation which restored some sight, I was
often frustrated by the GUI interface because it was difficult to
follow the 'model' the interface used. There were insufficient
non-visual clues or hints. Sometimes, in an attempt to either address
weaknesses in existing approaches or to push the boundaries of GUI
interface design, developers will use GUI interfaces techniques in a
different manner. This creates a more unfamiliar interface that can be
different enough to be very confusing for those without sight.
Existing mental pictures of how it all hangs together break down and
without additional clues, it can be very difficult to work out what
the new model is.

I've done considerable work as a sys admin and know that no matter
what the environment is, all sys admins need to operate at the CLI
level from time to time. They cannot just survive with a GUI
interface. On the other hand, I watch my partner and the kids struggle
with the CLI interface. They can survive with the GUI, but get
frustrated and lost with the CLI. At the same time, the sort of things
they want to do are easily catered for by existing GUI interfaces.
When they need to step outside their comfort zone, they are frequently
confused and frustrated because the ability of the GUI begins to
degrade once you move off well defined and catered for requirements.

My biggest frustration with the GUI interface is the common 'dumbing
down' of GUI based tools. Often, this is done to enable a cleaner and
easier to use and maintain GUI. It works well while what you need to
do fits within the preconceived functionality of the designers.
However, as soon as you need to step outside the defined boundaries,
things spiral down very fast.

For me, the main limitation of accessibility frameworks for GUIs has
been due to the limited interpretation of what is required. Many seem
to believe that all that is necessary is for GUI objects to have a
text label or representation which can be spoken by some type of
screen reader. Those of use who have struggled with such systems know
this is insufficient. As Jude points out, without a good mental model,
often obtained from memory of a time when the individual had sight,
simply providing a text label for GUI objects is not sufficient.

One of the reasons I continue to use emacspeak is due primarily
because it is one of the few systems which attempt to augment the
interfac experience with other non-visual clues. Providing variations
in pitch, voice type, auditory icons etc to provide additional
information which helps enrich the interface experience for blind and
VI users. I am frequently amazed other companies have been so slow in
adopting the use of things like auditory icons or voice changes etc to
help provide additional non-visual clues for the user.

Another reason I continue to use emacspeak is because of how easily it
allows me to try out new approaches or techniques and its powerful
ability to create a very personalised abstraction interface, which
although not rich in power or functionality, provides exactly what I
need. Using emacspeak to create a very personal and customized
interface has also shown me how difficult it is to develop new
interface techniques and to learn valuable lessons, such as less can
sometimes be better etc.

It will be interesting to see how interface design develops as mobile
devices become more common. For example, using vibration in hand held
devices to convey additional clues.

To what extent CLI and GUI are better or worse for accessibility
depends on many factors. You must consider the user in any assessment.
The 'typical' user is harder to define than many realize. I know many
users who would find existing accessibility for GUI based applications
meet the majority of their requirements and others who find it a
constant frustration. I find the same thing with sighted users.

just my 2 cents worth!


On 30 January 2012 05:11, Jude DaShiell <jdashiel@shellworld.net> wrote:
> No, the other devices you site are neither G.u.I. nor C.L.I. Those new
> devices are all N.U.I. natural user interface.  There's lots of blocked
> paths for development for people with no memory of vision under that
> interface type too, but there is one wide open path.  The newer paths
> are no good, but interface builder is done with the command line
> interface.
> On Sun, 29 Jan 2012, Christopher Chaltain wrote:
>> I agree it's not a matter of one versus the other, but I don't think
>> it's true that GUI presupposes CLI or that mouse presupposes keyboards.
>> There are multiple devices out there now, tablets and cell phones for
>> example, which have a GUI and a touch pad but no keyboard and maybe no
>> CLI either. If the GUI had absolutely no advantage over a CLI then why
>> is it so popular? Maybe we're talking about just software development,
>> but GUI development environments, like Eclipse, are also very popular,
>> and I can't imagine this would be the case if they had nothing to offer.
>> IMHO, I think both the CLI and the GUI have their place, for blind and
>> sighted computer users alike. I'd also like to see the parameters of
>> this study, but as I said earlier, I am dubious that the blind are
>> somehow disadvantaged when using a GUI other than regarding issues of
>> accessibility.
>> On 29/01/12 11:38, Jude DaShiell wrote:
>> > It's not even a matter of versus.  G.U.I. cannot exist without C.L.I.
>> > Neither can mouse live without keyboard.  Use of C.L.I. and keyboard
>> > even in xp helps technicians repair problems they either cannot repair
>> > with G.U.I. or the problems would take too long to repair with G.U.I.
>> > When doing G.U.I. programming accessibility isn't all that's needed.
>> > Mmeory of vision and the more of it is better than less is what's also
>> > needed.  I've ben using windows at work from 1995 to the present and
>> > started out with windows 3.11 and I've come to the conclusion which
>> > other former dos users who are my colleagues also agree with that
>> > nothing more is being accomplished with G.U.I. than was being
>> > accomplished by dos in the years past.  That includes inacessibility,
>> > Microsoft word for dos and a flowchart program by patent software and
>> > xtalk otherwise known as crosstalk were three examples some were using
>> > before windows came into our workplace.  I use windows at home as little
>> > as possible and suppose I'll be able to do development with it with the
>> > linux clones rather than anything Microsoft produced.  I don't consider
>> > any activity done with any part of any version of Microsoft Office as
>> > development either.  Ruby on the other hand would classify as
>> > development as would python and java.  I was able to do some development
>> > with the visualbasic interface of dot net, but that was console-based
>> > only.  I tried G.U.I. and found it way more complex than console-based
>> > programming just to get the simplest projects done.  I didn't get into
>> > anything more complex because shortly after I finished the first of the
>> > simplest G.U.I. projects I read the email about that study.
>> >
>> > On Sun, 29 Jan 2012, Christopher Chaltain wrote:
>> >
>> >> I'd be curious to take a look at this study myself, although I'm a bit
>> >> dubious. I've been using the GUI since 1991 when Screen Reader/2 came
>> >> out for OS/2, and given the proper accessibility, I think the blind can
>> >> get the same advantages from the GUI that the sighted get. I'm also
>> >> curious if this article implies that the blind are somehow disadvantaged
>> >> when using the GUI. IMHO, the CLI and the GUI each have there advantages
>> >> and disadvantages, and whether you prefer one over the other depends on
>> >> who you are, how you use your computer and what you'll be using it for.
>> >> This is true for the blind and the sighted alike.
>> >>
>> >> On 28/01/12 23:03, Jude DaShiell wrote:
>> >>> Not in my files any longer.  I think I was so shocked when I read that
>> >>> message I forgot to save it but did forward it to another person who is
>> >>> very interested in accessibility and ways it is and isn't accomplished.
>> >>>
>> >>> On Sun, 29 Jan 2012, Jason White wrote:
>> >>>
>> >>>> Jude DaShiell <jdashiel@shellworld.net> wrote:
>> >>>>> I have been fully blind from birth and that's why I do better with
>> >>>>> C.L.I. than G.U.I. too acording to a study released a few years ago from
>> >>>>> R.N.I.B.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Do you have a reference to the study mentioned above?
>> >>>>
>> >>>> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> >>>> To unsubscribe from the emacspeak list or change your address on the
>> >>>> emacspeak list send mail to "emacspeak-request@cs.vassar.edu" with a
>> >>>> subject of "unsubscribe" or "help".
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>> ----------------------------------------------------------------
>> >>> Jude <jdashiel-at-shellworld-dot-net>
>> >>> <http://www.shellworld.net/~jdashiel/nj.html>
>> >>>
>> >>> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> >>> To unsubscribe from the emacspeak list or change your address on the
>> >>> emacspeak list send mail to "emacspeak-request@cs.vassar.edu" with a
>> >>> subject of "unsubscribe" or "help".
>> >>>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >
>> > ----------------------------------------------------------------
>> > Jude <jdashiel-at-shellworld-dot-net>
>> > <http://www.shellworld.net/~jdashiel/nj.html>
>> >
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> Jude <jdashiel-at-shellworld-dot-net>
> <http://www.shellworld.net/~jdashiel/nj.html>
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To unsubscribe from the emacspeak list or change your address on the
> emacspeak list send mail to "emacspeak-request@cs.vassar.edu" with a
> subject of "unsubscribe" or "help".

Tim Cross

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