Unlock new skills! Can you control your Mac by “shaking your head and shaking your head”?

You can answer the phone through Apple Watch with two lightly clenched fists; move your eyes and look in another direction to move the pointer on the iPad (with the help of a third-party device); you don’t need to look at it, just tap the picture to listen To the content on the picture…

▲ New feature announced by Apple: Support for controlling Apple Watch with hand movements

Do these interactions sound fun?

The above are actually new accessibility features recently announced by Apple, which will be launched through system updates later this year.

Although I can't experience these new features for the time being, in the process of learning about these new features, I have unlocked a new world of interaction-the "head pointer" function on macOS.

Shaking our heads and sticking our tongues out, speaking and listening, there shouldn’t be only one way for us to interact with the device

To put it simply, the "head-control pointer" is a set of auxiliary functions that allow you to "shake your head", "stick your tongue" "smile" and control your Mac mouse.

If you want to experience this feature, you can go to "System Preference Design"-"Accessibility"-"Pointer Control"-"Alternative Control Method", and then check the "Enable Head Control Pointer" option.

Everyone knows that the mouse not only carries the function of moving the cursor, but also carries complex selection operations with its left, right, and double-click actions.

Therefore, users who have enabled the "head-control pointer" can also combine facial expressions such as "spit out", "blink", "toot", "smile", and "wrinkle nose" to achieve multiple operations such as "drag and drop", "left click" and so on. .

Designer Eric Bailey once recorded a video showing how to control the mouse through the "head control pointer". As can be seen from the video screenshots, Bailey chose "raise eyebrows" to perform the "left click" action.

▲ Bailey moves the pointer and completes the "left click" action by moving the head + raising the eyebrows

In addition, users can also choose the degree of expression, which can be "mild", "default" or "exaggerated" to suit the needs of different users.

The "head control pointer" also has two control modes-"relative to the head" and "when facing the edge of the screen". The former allows the pointer to change as the head moves; the latter only moves according to its direction when the user's face is facing the edge of the screen. Therefore, on the front screen, the pointer will not move even if the head is moving.

For Christopher Hills, an Australian video producer who suffers from cerebral palsy, the second mode of operation allows him to rarely use the head recognition mode to manipulate the pointer, because his head will have a lot of small movements, and the operation in the previous mode will Very disturbing accuracy. Now, on the basis of using a third-party external controller, he can turn on the "head-controlled pointer" as an additional way to operate the computer.

▲ A video taken by Hills about the use of the "head pointer", he replaced the "left click" action with "open mouth"

Why does Apple make such an unusual set of interaction programs?

Everyone can guess from the classification of this function. In fact, this is a barrier-free function for people who are temporarily or long-term facing physical impairments. Through these functions, the user can control the pointer even without relying on the hand.

In addition to using the "head pointer" to control the pointer, we can also use "narration + shortcut keys", Siri or "voice control" to open applications or process files;

In addition to relying on the keyboard, we can also use the dictation function to enter text;

In addition to visually adjusting the phone to capture what we want, we can also turn on the iPhone camera in the narration mode to listen to the description of the position of the person or the object in the viewfinder.

Everyone understands that a good product should serve more different groups, but do we really need to add so many different usage methods to a "normal version" product? Wouldn't it be more efficient to create a special version for special groups?

Barrier-free design is not about "giving love", but about creating an environment that is more friendly to everyone

Sometimes, when we are talking about "special groups", we unconsciously assume that we are not one of them.

Let us first take a look at who the "normal users" of general products are.

According to designer Eric Bailey , although we are now living in a seemingly advanced world-smart phones, AR, smart voice assistants, smart home products are all quite common, but most people think The label of "Normal User" is still very old-fashioned:

Good at using technology products, young, good eyesight, with high-speed internet, physically sound and flexible, large screen, and powerful computer.

Without any label, users may be kicked out of their comfort zone.

Can we create a version specifically designed for "special users"?

Xia Bingying, an engineer who has been concerned about barrier-free design for a long time, has analyzed why it is not a good thing to launch a "specialized version" for the disabled or the elderly.

In Xia Bingying's view, this is a very costly thing. Any special applications such as the "old version" and "barrier-free version" require continuous maintenance, and in the long run it will become a burden for the company to "show love" in addition to the "normal version" products.

In the later stage, the "special version" may be disabled or fail to keep up with the "normal version" in feature updates, and no one wants to use a special version of the application with worse features than others.

Furthermore, products that incorporate excellent accessibility features are also products that are better for everyone.

I believe many people know that subtitles were originally designed as barrier-free features for the hearing impaired, but now they have become an indispensable tool for many people when chasing dramas.

For another example, Safari's "reader" function is also included in the "cognitive ability assist function", but who doesn't like its ability to eliminate "psoriasis"-like advertisements on web pages with one click?

Entering the age of aging, barrier-free design becomes more important

▲ The elderly are playing with mobile phones, the picture is from Visual China

According to the results of China's seventh census , "the aging of the population is an important trend in social development, and it is also China's basic national conditions for a long time to come."

Even setting aside this social background, the reality is that everyone will get old, and our sensory abilities, physical activity abilities, and cognitive abilities may all be affected by aging to varying degrees.

From now on, we will pay attention to and promote barrier-free design to prepare for everyone (no matter what age you are and what equipment you use) to enjoy an independent and dignified life in the future.

▲ Picture from Adobe XD

At the same time, from a commercial point of view, barrier-free design is also the result of a company that understands and responds to users in a more detailed manner, which helps to obtain higher customer lifetime value and increase corporate brand value and profits.

At present, the proportion of the population aged 60 and above in China is 18.70%, reaching 260 million people; the number of disabled groups exceeds 80 million .

According to statistics, from August 2016 to May 2019, a total of 174,000 disabled persons registered online stores on Taobao Tmall and created 29.84 billion yuan in sales. After the epidemic, Hema data showed that the number of users over 60 Online orders have the fastest growth rate, and the per capita consumption amount is higher than the "post-90s" and "post-00s".

Products that do not pay attention to barrier-free design also exclude the ability of this huge group to create consumption by default.

Since the development of digital accessibility in our country is still in its infancy, many companies are still very unfamiliar with it.

In fact, Apple , Android , and Windows all provide ready-made design principles and guidelines, and some have introduced special accessibility checkers to help developers check where their applications need to be improved.

I hope that in the future, these barrier-free standards will become the bottom line for everyone to make products, not the goal. More Chinese companies and developers can also bring more user-friendly barrier-free designs to all Chinese users after tapping into user needs and combining local conditions.

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