usability & accessibility

I was looking at the Maryland MARC Train system today to check the schedule for a short train ride from BWI to Union Station in Washington, DC.

I couldn’t resist clicking on the FAQ section and was shocked at the types of questions listed and the answers.

What a said state our public transportation system is in when these types of explanations have to be made:

“…MARC doesn’t have any extra equipment to operate new services. Even if equipment were acquired there are other obstacles…Any new service would have to compete with other transportation projects in the state for subsidy funds…CSX would not welcome extra service outside of our present service hours.”

I was doing some banking today (I’m the Treasurer of the UPA-DC-Metro Chapter) and the teller was having a discussion on our behalf with the corporate office.

He referred to the organization as the “U-S-Ability Association” and I was very confused at first. Then I realized – this person did not recognize the word usability!

We still have a long way to go to make this world easier to use (including our profession).

I have discovered that breastfeeding is one of the most natural and yet least intuitive activities humans can participate in. Not only is it not something that neither the baby or mother understand how to do without help, but even once you know what you are doing it can still be extremely difficult and not at all satisfying for either party.

I never expected the hardest part of motherhood to be figuring out how to get my baby and me in synch with the boob. I figured lack of sleep, understanding what he needed, diaper changing; anything besides breastfeeding would be the hardest or least appealing part of mothering. But, no, the one thing everyone says is the most wonderful is actually a royal pain in the ass.

Don’t get me wrong, I was warned that it would be difficult and I’ve watched many of my friends struggle and even give up on breastfeeding. But jeesh – until you actually try it you have no idea.

After a month of trial and error I finally purchased a nipple shield – and what a difference a little piece of plastic makes! Now little Aaron is latching right on – thank goodness.

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