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Accessible User Interfaces

For many people with disabilities accessibility of information and communication technology systems is determined by whether they can easily operate the user interface. In recent years there have been dramatic changes in user interface design particularly for mobile and hand-held devices. In some cases this has meant that a previously accessible device is no longer accessible.

A roadmap is being developed to produce:

  • Clear proposals on what technologies need to be supported. E.g. Eye tracking, Voice/gesture reckoning, Wearable devices, Smart displays, etc.
  • Clear inputs on what methodologies have to be investigated. E.g.. Adaptive UI design, Accessibility evaluation guidelines (for devices, services and applications)
  • Clear contributions on what kind of tools should be developed. E.g.. Automatic accessibility verification/design tools, Accessible User Interface Description Languages, etc.

The Cardiac team would welcome your contribution to the development of a roadmap on research on accessible user interfaces.

An Introduction to the Key Issues Relating to Accessible User Interfaces

How to contribute to the roadmap for user interface research priorities

The workshop on user interfaces on 28th - 29th June 2011

If you would like to contribute, other than through the Wiki, please contact Prof Patrick Roe.

In recent years, a large number of international projects had to address the need for guaranteeing accessibility and usability in user-system interaction. To this end, a number of diverse approaches, methodologies and technologies have been roposed. Many research and development activities have been carried out on different aspects of accessibility of ICT equipment and services with an Assistive Technology approach, and more recently, the Design for All approach has been explored.

Positive results have been achieved following both approaches. In particular, accessibility problems of specific groups of users have been addressed through Assistive Technology (AT) based adaptations, and systematic Design for All approaches have been elaborated and applied in various domains at a research level. Still, the field is currently in need of a breakthrough towards the adoption in practice of design approaches, based on the accumulated knowledge, leading to accessible and usable inclusive interfaces.

Several research activities in the field of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) focus on more user involvement in the design process. The ISO standard 13407 Human-centred design process for interactive systems provides guidance on human-centred design activities throughout the life cycle of interactive computer-based systems. However also other research methods are available, for instance participatory and co-design. These approaches have in common that they all express the belief that all people have something to offer to the design process. These approaches will also be part of our study.

Moreover, adaptivity/intelligence on the one hand, and the analysis of the implications, from an eaccessibility perspective, of the emerging Ambient Intelligence (AmI) paradigm (with a clear orientation to creating "natural" interfaces) on the other, are becoming increasingly important aspects. The main difficulty lies in understanding and utilising the whole range of possibilities for Inclusive Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

Therefore, it seems necessary to propose a road-map towards achieving inclusive HCI based on the accumulated experience by diverse European actors. This could be addressed through a network of multidisciplinary experts, who can bring in their expertise in the different aspects of the issues involved, as well as propose solutions, in order to elaborate a balanced model incorporating different approaches.