Too much fun at CSUN! Part 1: Demo’ing four assistive technology apps for Windows at CSUN 2015

Last week I had a blast! I had the opportunity to demo four of the apps that I’ve built in my spare time over the last few years. These apps explore how I could leverage Windows technologies to help people in new ways. It’s so much fun for me to share ideas with people like the attendees of the Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, (CSUN,) and to get feedback on how I can make my apps more useful to them.

Some notes on the apps I demo’d, and some comments I got from CSUN attendees, are described at the following posts:


Too much fun at CSUN! Part 2: Herbi WriteAbout - Handwriting development

Too much fun at CSUN! Part 3: 8 Way Speaker - Controlling speech output in many different ways for communication

Too much fun at CSUN! Part 4: My Way Speaker - Using a switch device to efficiently browse the web

Too much fun at CSUN! Part 5: Herbi Speaks - Creating boards for education or communication

Too much fun at CSUN! Part 6: And not forgetting… Herbi Clicker - Efficiently invoking anything on the screen with the keyboard


Let me know if you’d like more details on any of these apps. A couple of them use UI Automation to achieve their goals.


And while building these apps is a ton of fun for me, there is a very serious side to all this. When my mum had MND/ALS, I looked at the UI of the switch device that my dad was setting up for her, and I thought to myself how I could build a better UI than that. Later, that attitude of mine troubled me. It was pretty arrogant of me to think that I could build a better UI, when in fact, what I “could” do is meaningless. What I “could” do isn’t helping anyone, and yet someone had done the work to build the switch device my mum tried using. From that point, it was all about what I actually build.

So please do consider how you can leverage Windows technologies to help people around you. If you identify a gap in what’s available to a friend, neighbor or family member, maybe it would be practical to build an app to help. Sometimes it turns out not to be practical, but by leveraging what Windows has to offer, sometimes it’s absolutely practical to build a tool which can help, and which you can share with others.

And you know, it really is a ton of fun building stuff! 🙂




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