Can you imagine a world without access to the Internet, Social Media or YouTube? Well, for many disabled people computers can be inaccessible due to keyboard and mice design or from the lack of alternatives available.
Writing from a personal perspective, I was forced into the tough task of transitioning from a Laptop trackpad to a PC with a mouse. Initially, I resigned to the fact that it would be impossible for me to use a regular mouse. Facing this obstacle made me feel powerless, unable to communicate with friends, play games or continue my work.
My PC setup is completely mouse-only however I effectively use the inbuilt Microsoft On-Screen Keyboard. A mouse is placed between both of my hands, whilst my wrists rest on 2 sponges so that my fingers end up at the right height to reach the mouse.
Let me paint a picture for you of the biological barriers I face. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy causes progressive muscle deterioration, so presently I can only move my hands and fingers. It also drastically effects my energy levels, causing me to quickly fatigue especially after prolonged repetitive movements.
I decided to persevere in my search for the right input device by testing the different options of mice available. A tough task when there isn’t a one-stop shop for disabled people to try out accessibility devices before purchase. So, after numerous purchases of unsuitable mice, from touchpads, trackballs, upright mice even joysticks. I finally found the perfect mouse for me.
The Logitech Gaming G502 Hero. It ticked all the boxes, clearly designed with quality in mind, reliability, innovative customisable features and user comfort. Aesthetically the G502 looks gorgeous, especially with the bright RGB lights flashing.
What attracted me to the G502 was the 11 programmable buttons, adjustable sensitivity levels and the lightweight 121g design. It also comes with 6 adjustable weights to further tailor the mouse to you. The mouse has a unique feature to instantly swap between a notched scroll-wheel to a hyper-fast spinning one with a click of a button. Perfect for either reading a comic book online or should I say reading an article.
The G502 is ready for constant heavy usage, killing aliens is such a gruelling task so you expect to hear a reliable click from your well-oiled machine. The mechanical microswitches also activate with lightweight pressure so ideal to decrease my level of muscle fatigue. Increasing the DPI sensitivity levels enables the cursor to smoothly move around the whole screen with only minimal finger movement. The rubberized texture of the mouse is comfortable in your hand, with good grip. I always like to put my custom stamp on everything, so I further modified the grip by sticking Velcro strips in optimal positions for my fingers.
The Logitech mice all connect to the Logitech Software which it’s intuitive and easy to use. It allows you to program commands and macros to each of the 11 buttons, for example, I have radically altered the button for Right Click. The internal memory-slots store up to 5 profiles so you can take your personal setup anywhere. My favourite programmable command is called G-Shift, pressing it brings up a second layer of buttons ready for customisation. Just like a box of chocolates.
After speaking to Chris Pate, the Awesome (Logitech Gaming Project Manager) and discussing the unintentional accessibility of the G502 mouse. I thought that an ambidextrous layout would be better for me due to how I hold a mouse. I also was in the need for a wireless mouse for use at conferences, so Chris kindly sent me the new ambidextrous wireless Logitech G903.
The G903 has a fully-configurable button layout, 110g weight with an ambidextrous design ideal for all grip types. It functions superbly exactly like the G502 but with even more advanced functionality. The G903 mouse can switch between the LIGHTSPEED wireless and wired modes without any lag whatsoever. This portability caught my eye, as the wireless nature allows me to use my Microsoft Surface Pro 6 away from home. The buttons are all well positioned and as comfortable to press as the G502.
The Logitech Powerplay Wireless Charging Pad is revolutionary allowing constant power to your mouse through integrated wireless charging capability, with no lag or wires to halt your continuous battle to protect Earth.
I’m greatly appreciative of the work done by Chris Pate and Logitech for their innovative user-focused design. Accessible Technology like the G502 & G903 enable me to live a meaningful and productive existence, advances in the technology industry are vital for the evolution of accessibility.