The Changelog The Changelog #423

Coding without your hands

What do you do when you make a living typing on a keyboard, but you can no longer do that for more than a few minutes at a time? Switch careers?! Not Josh Comeau. He decided to learn from others who have come before him and develop his own solution for coding without his hands. Spoiler Alert: he uses weird noises and some fancy eye tracking tech.

On this episode Josh tells us all about the fascinating system he developed, how it changed his perspective on work & life, and where he’s going from here. Plus we mix in some CSS & JS chat along the way.


Discussion

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2020-12-14T01:47:05Z ago

Hi guys,
great episode and glad to hear so much about accessibility. It’s great to hear stories of perseverance.

I don’t want to detract from Josh’s accomplishments, but with all the talk of accessibility, it was disappointing to hear all the places where sight was assumed, or at least appeared to be assumed.

As a totally blind software developer, I’d love to hear an episode on “Coding Without Eyes” It could be a nice followup to this one.

cheers,
Joel

Jerod Santo

Jerod Santo

Omaha, Nebraska

Jerod co-hosts The Changelog, crashes JS Party, and takes out the trash (his old code) once in awhile.

2020-12-14T03:00:12Z ago

Glad you enjoyed it, Joel! 💚

We actually did a show on being a blind developer a few years back. Check it out 😎

https://changelog.com/podcast/206

2020-12-14T20:31:16Z ago

Hi Jerod,
thanks for the pointer. I listened to and enjoyed the podcast. I just sent Parham a linkedin connect request.

As much as I enjoyed hearing Parham’s story, it didn’t really address accessibility. In this podcast with Josh, you guys get in to much more detail of how he uses his computer. Josh mentions, mostly in passing, how annoying it was to not be able to scroll down and his reaction to that. That is something blind people face every day on nearly every site they visit.

I lost my sight in 2017. Prior to that, I used Udemy a lot to learn. In late 2017, as I was trying to get myself back together after losing my sight, I went back to Udemy. I couldn’t use it at all.

Udemy, and other sites have gotten much better wrt accessibility, in the sense they are navigable. However, the lessons, video based, are still generally not accessible.

Even with transcriptions of the lessons, I “read”(hear from my screen reader), “as you can see from this output, …” but what the instructor was typing on the screen, and the output, is no where to be found.

Accessibility is becoming a big industry for many reasons. Unfortunately, companies seem to be addressing it as how do we not get sued vs how do we build a really usable site for everyone.

Maybe you guys could do something in JS Party discussing accessibility and usability and UX design.

cheers,
Joel

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