Innovations in Accessibility: Designing for Digital Outcasts
Introduced by researchers from the University of Sussex, the term "digital outcasts" is applied to users with disabilities or illness who are left behind as technology advances. The Web now offers new forms of engagement that bring greater fidelity and complexity to the online space; the very concept of "web accessibility" itself has evolved into something deeply immersive and complex. We as designers now face dynamic challenges and opportunities when providing barrier-free digital experiences. How can virtual worlds, geolocation apps, augmented reality, and the 3-D Web possibly be adapted to users with special needs, and how do we design for them? This presentation will explore the cultivation of digital innovation on behalf of people with physiological and cognitive disabilities, focusing primarily on the health and life sciences industry. Practical examples will include iPad, Nintendo Wii, haptic interfaces, virtual prosthetics, adaptive therapies, text-to-speech functionality, iPhone games, and Second Life.
Who should attend: Anyone interested in how inclusive design results in barrier-free digital experiences to accommodate all users.
What you’ll learn: Attendees will learn how people with physical and cognitive disabilities use emerging technologies, what gaps currently exist in the design and development of barrier-free digital experiences, and what research is being done to support accessibility as a component of innovation. This session will address the business need for inclusive innovation on behalf of digital outcasts and the steps we can take to ensure that inclusive design remains a priority as technology continues to evolve.
How this new knowledge can be applied: The production of concepts applicable to current health-care case studies, especially those residing within the invisible populations of people with infirm disabilities who are not yet exposed to technological innovation.
Kel Smith, longtime speaker and trainer on digital accessibility, inventor of health-care related virtual environment and iPad app for rehabilitation therapy, Glenside, Pennsylvania
key words: accessibility, health care, inclusive design, universal design, sustainability, technology, mobile, virtual, digital
issue areas: Health and Wellness Future, Technology and Science