Assistive technology and good customer service: Fusion

I might need to amend my mention of the Fusion. I received an encouraging response from Writer Learning, the makers of the Fusion Writer word processor/augmentative communication device, about the illogical Sticky Keys setup. As in my similar e-mail to Renaissance Learning (the company that makes the AlphaSmart Neo), I suggested using the Windows keyboard shortcut of pressing Shift 5 times. The Fusion representative was much more optimistic than the Neo representative, and said xe would “expect” future versions of the Fusion to conform to the Windows shortcut. I don’t know how often the Fusion is upgraded, but the use of USB software makes me think it’s an easier process than it might otherwise be. (Of course, engineering the shortcut itself would take a good bit of time.)

Even though I can’t really type much, especially at the moment, I feel strongly about spelling-and-word-based communication, and I’m glad a fairly big oversight is being corrected. Some of the devices I look at are things that I would be using myself if I could still type fluently. It does still bewilder me how so many companies could make an oversight like that — all you need to do is test your shortcut with one finger to see that doesn’t work. I think that was why the irritation came through in my Fusion post; it was another one I didn’t understand. But the important thing is that companies are willing to fix it when you point it out… though the ideal would be not having to point it out in the first place. But they’re learning, and I commend them for that. It’s a start. A lot of bigger companies wouldn’t even do that.

Fixing assistive technology is not always an indication of bad business. It might also indicate companies who are open to evolving — they don’t put out a product set in stone, the code too bloated to go back and change. They work up, starting with the basics and adding only what’s most needed to make the product work as it’s intended.

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