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304 interviews since 2018

Katriel Paige

Accessibility Specialist

Who are you, and what do you do? What do you like to do outside of work?

I am Katriel Paige, and I work as an accessibility specialist. I got started with accessibility via my interest in user experience–back in 2008-2009, I was lucky to be around my friend Becca, who was learning iOS development at the time when the Apple App Store was new. I became interested in mobile user experience design due to her influence and observing her work on multiple applications, even though I was working on translation and localization at the time.

I like reading about different religious practices and intersections relating to history and culture, love learning languages (Note: I’m currently trying to work on maintaining Japanese, but am starting to learn Korean and French) and like to play tabletop role-playing games. I’m also slowly getting into container gardening (as well as microgreens and sprouts), but that’s a new development!

Katriel Paige's seeds
Grow, little seeds! Grow!

What hardware do you use?

I use a PC as my primary machine, so that’s the one I use the Moonlander for–but I also have an iMac, as surprisingly, software like Adobe Creative Suite still tends to perform better on Mac than otherwise. I also am interested in learning more about iOS and SwiftUI, and having a Mac makes the development tools and learning much easier. If you’re only talking about my primary PC, though, I use an external ASUS monitor at 24 inches, an i7 Windows 11 machine, and often switch out my keyboards that I use (more details in the fourth section!).

Katriel Paige's setup
Katriel has arranged her peripherals arranged to avoid pain and mouse use

I also use a vertical Logitech mouse to help reduce wrist and hand pain when using a mouse. I have fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome, and am neurodivergent–and in the last couple of years had three surgeries, so having the ability to use an external keyboard that doesn’t aggravate those conditions is quite important. Due to those factors, I consider my keyboards assistive devices and will often use a hybrid navigation method–keyboard shortcuts and navigation, and with minimal mouse usage. The Moonlander is easier on my hands and wrists, especially during a pain flare, but I’m still learning the configurator and what keys I frequently need across multiple applications and usages. I used to use an ErgoDox, before the Moonlander was released.

And what software?

I already mentioned Adobe Creative Suite (on the PC I often use Adobe Acrobat) and of course I use the Wally configurator or the web configurator. PC-wise, Ninite has been invaluable in initial computer setup or when reinstalling or updating software; that’s how I installed NVAccess NVDA, which I use part-time or when testing with a screen reader. Because of this I’m glad I have discrete arrow keys on my keyboards—when using keyboard navigation or screen reader & keyboard combo, the arrow keys are valuable. I also use Discord, Slack, and Spotify often. I’m looking at VS Code and Eclipse and comparing them now; I also often use Notepad++. On Mac, I use Vellum and Adobe Creative Suite (primarily Photoshop, InDesign, and Acrobat).

What’s your keyboard setup like? Do you use a custom layout or custom keycaps?

My Mac keyboard is a Zhuyin Mandarin and English bilingual keyboard; I alternate between a Drop Ctrl tenkeyless purple high-profile keyboard and the Moonlander. I used to have a set of Witch Girl keycaps on my Moonlander, but the keycaps got lost in a move; right now I have alphanumerics that are Drop MT3 profile on the Moonlander, because the scoop makes it easier for my hands.

On the Drop keyboard, though, I use the Violac keyset with a custom Apple-II-esque keycap for my Escape key. The Drop keyboard was a birthday present. I wish the Violac keyset came in MT3 profile, but that is really my only complaint about it—and it’s a minor one! I’m still figuring out what switches and what mapping works for the Drop keyboard, though. But then again, I also wish I had a Mac Touch ID Korean and English bilingual keyboard, because I am learning languages and Korean doesn’t easily match up to IMEs/input methods the same way as, say, Japanese does or Pinyin for Mandarin can.

Katriel Paige's Moonlander with the lost keycaps
Navy blue Drop MT3 keycaps go nicely with the Dark Magic Girl modifiers

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be to have a wider desk for my PC setup with a couple of drawers, the Mac Touch ID Korean and English bilingual keyboard, and setting up my PC monitor on a wall mount. I’d also probably get another bookshelf, especially if the lowest shelf could support a midsize computer tower. I’d also like to see if I can get more mounts for power strips or cord management, as well as a small rolling cart that would fit under my desk for when I need to deal with a printer. The room I use for a workspace is a bit small, and of course setup costs add up, so figuring out a dream setup that would maximize a small space while still having the reference books and materials I need and with a design eye to my needs with chronic pain is an ongoing project for me. But because I spend so much time in the office, it’s important for me. It seems like a lot to balance sometimes!

Katriel Paige's growing tube
Sprout, little beans!

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