Smelling outside of the box – Developing for the Disabelled

One thing that I take for granted is that my only common disability is my lack of intelligence. This is only mental and can be resolved. Whereas being blind or deaf is permanent and obviously much more of an impairment. Then I see this story about researchers in Japan working on making a better fire alarm:

Nelson sez, “Japanese researchers have developed a fire alarm that sprays the aroma of horseradish instead of ringing an alarm. It was effective in waking 13 out of fourteen test subjects within two minutes, deaf subjects reacting particularly quickly.”
(Thanks, Nelson!)
: Boing Boing

It is always amazing to see how a product can be improved in a way that helps more people and takes such an unconventional approach. Having worked in a sushi restaurant for a short time and been given the task of mixing the wasabi powder into paste I can assure you of the effectiveness of this technique.

This reminds me of how much I overlook accessibility in my everyday work. Since I work with people building their own and other peoples websites it is imperative that I get accessibility across to them so that they can be even more effective. According to some research there are about 196,000 internet users in the US with a ‘severe’ limitation in sight. I dont know about you but having another 198k users on my site would be pretty helpful.

Horseradish smell fire-alarm for waking up deaf people

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