I consider myself to be left handed. Though I think I’m more mixed handed. But alas mixed handedness gets cut out of the picture most of the time since the focus tends to be on the dominate writing hand.
I like being left handed, it means I might have a gene that makes me left handed, but they aren’t sure about that yet. I also notice quite a bit when other people around me are left handed. It makes me feel special. I’m an oddity (I’m sure most people would agree with that). Being left handed also makes me adept at using my right hand better then right handed folks can use their left hand. Some call this ambidextrous, but truly, I am not. I’m not equally dexterous on both sides of my body which is why I’m more mixed handed. I can’t throw things with my left arm and I play baseball (as well as most sports) with my right arm. I am also right footed and right eyed. There are few things that I can only do well with my left arm/hand.
What I don’t like is when people don’t consider the left handed folks when designing things.
Spurring on this rant was a recent discussion on a well known and widely read interaction design mailing list. The discussion was around mouse clicks on a web app/site. More to the point they were talking about the use of contextual menus being accessed via a “right click”. I’m sure you might be thinking this is a little nit-picky and perhaps it is. However the problem persists, people do not think out side their own means. They tend to think of what they can do and not what others do or can’t do. For crying out loud these guys design interfaces and interactions. What happens if they design something strictly for their means not considering how others may use it and someone dies?
Taking this a little further, there has been research on the effects of left handed people using right handed mice. It can cause some issues with posture. Which makes you wonder if ~10% of the worlds population is cared about by the other 90%. It seems that the 80/20 rule shouldn’t apply for handedness. But alas it does and designers, business people and right handed folks don’t see the value in accommodating the southpaws of this world.
We might be an edge case in some people’s minds but wouldn’t people with disabilities considered edge cases? It basically the same thing, people with psychical disabilities could have a hard time doing things that people without disabilities do with ease. People who are left hand dominate could have difficulties with things that are designed for the right handed world.
Equality for all? No. Not until the right handed world stops being selfish.