Monthly Archives: July 2009

Handy Sites: Sorehands and Safe Computing

Physically speaking, when it comes to using the computer, we use our eyes and hands the most.

Witness the huge numbers of wrist-pain/back-pain combo and headache complaints that plague the computer-using population. Which is everyone we know. And we know this because we talk about it with one another, sharing our pains and aches over lunch-break, asking around and doing research to help deal with the problem. We’re a sociable lot when we find out the pain we have in common. We talk about it.

Sorehand is “an online community dedicated to sharing information about repetitive stress injuries and related topics for people with repetitive strain injuries (RSIs). Continue reading Handy Sites: Sorehands and Safe Computing

Website Accessibility and Design: Acronyms Galore

The internet is arguably the most powerful force for change today, an incredible channel for communicating and transmitting ideas world-wide and instantly. One aspect of the truly incredible gifts that the Net and current technological breakthroughs has given us is the gateway it opens for people who otherwise have difficulty moving around in the regular world, due to disabilities they have.

For example, by the very nature of the manufacturing process, Braille books are painfully expensive, and hard to get for everyone who needs them. With specialized equipment though, a blind person can access the internet and a whole world beyond the one his blindness has previously limited him to. People with restricted physical mobility can use the internet to ‘see’ the world. Continue reading Website Accessibility and Design: Acronyms Galore

Take-A-Break for Kids: CUErgo, Stretchbreak and TIFAQ

Previously in part four of the series You and Your Computer (found here), we mentioned the special ergonomic requirements that kids need when they use computers. To wit:

“Children’s hands are smaller. A mouse and keyboard for adult use may force kids to use their hands in awkward, stretched positions, stressing the developing muscles, bones and nerves. You can check for child-sized Little Fingers keyboards from Datadesk Technologies.”

You can go to Cornell University Ergonomics Web, CUErgo, to see before and after pictures of properly set up workstations for children and teens in their Guidelines for Parents. I highly recommend you visit their “Interesting Sites” page to see more resources on ergonomics and computing. also has a special section for kids and their parents. And you can also download Stretchbreak (kiddie version) for free, or try out the 10-day trial version for adults.

Typing Injuries FAQ (TIFAQ) has 2 special sections for this special concern, one written for children and a resource page for their parents .

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Take-A-Break Programs: RSIBreak, Workrave and Xwrits

In a 4-part series called from last year, titled “You and Your Computer” we mentioned several free programs you can download and use to remind you to take mini-breaks while you work. Here they are again:

RSI Break – for Linux users. Aside from micro-pause pop-ups, to remind you when to take a break, RSIBreak also records how much time you’ve has been active, and how much was idle time.

Workrave – – for GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows. Workrave is currently available in nine languages. Danish, Dutch, English, German, Polish and Spanish among them. Continue reading Take-A-Break Programs: RSIBreak, Workrave and Xwrits

Design and Usability Resources: Oldies but Goodies

Alertbox: a very informative newsletter on Web Usability. Their bookmark’s tagline:

“Design guidelines for Web and intranet usability, user research summarized, Top-10 mistakes of Web design, how to write for the Web, response time limits, small sites as Web’s killer apps, Web project management.”

You can bookmark Dr. Jakob Nielsen’s site to learn more about usability and accessibility principles that can enhance your website and teach you about the principles behind why we use our computers the way we do. Dr. Nielsen has had extensive and intensive experience in charting the development of the Internet and the evolution of electronic design and usage. He has articles dating back to 1995 that still offer relevant information on how our usage and technological changes influenced each other and the way the internet developed.

For the people hoping for a quick read, he already earmarked his top 2 must-read articles: Usability 101 and Top 10 mistakes of Web design. Continue reading Design and Usability Resources: Oldies but Goodies