The No Mouse Day Challenge:
Step 1: Use the web without a mouse
Step 2: Learn more about accessible web design
Step 3: Spread the word
When I heard about The A11y Project’s No Mouse Day Challenge I was really interested to give it a go. As a web developer I spend all day in front of a computer, and I am very reliant on my mouse. Before becoming a developer, I spent years working with a clunky, in-house finance software (I was a Royalty Administrator at a well known record label), which was built with absolutely no UX considerations, resulting in the need to do roughly 10,000 mouse clicks a day. As a result, I now have mild RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) in my right hand, so I thought it might be useful to learn more about navigating with a keyboard instead.
On the morning of my challenge, I started the day as I usually do, with a quick read of the news. As expected, the BBC and The Guardian’s websites were very accessible, with clear focus states and an easy to follow page structure. I then opened up Slack to catch up on any messages from my colleagues, and I was impressed to see that it quickly detected that I wasn’t using a mouse and gave me a list of keyboard shortcuts. So far so good.
Sadly, it all went downhill from there. I decided to do a Google search of the best restaurants in my area and make a booking for the weekend, but after spending half an hour battling through a couple of popular sites, I was no closer to finding a good lunch spot.
By this point I was pretty frustrated and I decided to turn the No Mouse Day into a No Mouse Morning and go back to my old (mouse reliant) ways.
While I found my No Mouse Morning to be a frustrating experience, it was also very insightful. The experience has definitely made me more aware of the importance of keyboard accessibility and how inaccessible a lot of websites are. As a developer, it was very interesting to put myself in a keyboard users shoes as a reminder of how important it is to build websites that are inclusive to everyone.