Continuing the topic from yesterday…
Of course all the people I know who are blind can read and write Braille. But I don’t know anybody else who writes Braille – except now for me, because I used that java applet I posted yesterday to spend the twenty minutes or so it takes to learn how to write in the Braille alphabet.
It occurs to me that there may be an odd sort of prejudice at work here. Braille, it turns out (not surprisingly) is vastly superior than anything that sighted people currently use for typing on a small portable device while looking somewhere else. For example, suppose you are in a meeting, and you don’t want to interrupt the flow of conversation to jot down a quick note or send off a text message (either to yourself or others). If you need to look down at your cellphone to write that quick note, then you will have to look away from the person you are talking with.
Why don’t we all just use Braille? Why don’t our portable electronic devices come with a small keyboard that supports this much more sensible way of typing into a PDA – one that does not need to keep our eyes always focused on the keyboard? It would be easy to make it work with just one hand (eg: by providing three keys for the thumb, rather than one).
Is our general lack of use of Braille caused by some taboo at work, a sense that it’s “only for blind people”? Or there some flaw in my reasoning or assumptions?