Accessibility in the hardware: Coke Freestyle

16 Aug

There are plenty of reasons to dislike Coca-Cola, including the recent kerfuffle about them funding research that shifts the blame for America’s obesity problem to lack of exercise rather than sugary drinks. That said, I’m a big fan of Coke Zero, and since AMC Theatres sent me a free drink coupon for my birthday, I went to fill up before a showing of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. yesterday. This is my lousy photo of the Coke Freestyle machine at the theatre:

coke machine

The main interface is a touch screen that is at chest level when I’m standing, but far above my head when I’m in my wheelchair (the drink pours out at eye level then). We noticed the little wheelchair button below the drink dispenser. Hmm. I pressed it and the buttons to the left lit up, giving me a control panel at a more appropriate height. My choice was still to reach up and smack the touch screen, but I was impressed enough to snap a photo for this blog.  It’s a small detail and maybe only used by a few people, but after two months of being in a wheelchair or hopping with a walker, I’m achingly aware of the many ways that people with mobility disabilities have to struggle or are simply shut out from activities most of us take for granted. This particular theatre — shout out to the AMC John R in Madison Heights, Michigan — hires disabled ticket takers, has nice big rows for wheelchairs and companions, and has a bathroom stall that I can pull my wheelchair into and turn around. We’ve been going there almost every week since my accident because their accommodations make it an easy and pleasant trip, and I’m so very grateful. It’s not the closest theatre to us, but we go there because it’s most comfortable.

[And hey, go see The Man from U.N.C.L.E. It’s stylish, fun, and quite amusing. Both Cavill and Hammer are deadpan, so the laughs come as delighting surprises rather than being telegraphed for miles. The costuming alone is worth a viewing — the villainess’s black and white palazzo jumpsuit is to die for. Director Guy Ritchie uses mosaic montages to condense sections that might otherwise be tedious, making them exciting and having fun with the screen dividing lines in the process.]

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Posted by on August 16, 2015 in Side Topics


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