Monday, September 26, 2016

Accessible story telling

Pictures and images are important. What we cannot imagine in our mind, we do not think is possible. When we see the upper body of a young guy on a picture, ball in his hand and in the movement of shooting the ball into the basket, we would never assume that he is sitting in a wheelchair. That is only one of many examples that Jo Spelbrink tells us about at the Accessibility Day in Vienna, Austria.

His second example: the old versus the new symbol for disability. The old symbol showed a person sitting passively in a wheelchair, waiting to be pushed by somebody. The new symbol shows a person leaning forward, pushing the wheels themselves and heading off dynamically to wherever they want to go. The two pictures convey very different conceptions of disability, but if we see them every day they influence how we ourselves see and interpret disability.




As Jo continues on with examples of where we are missing accessible story telling, he comes to speak of marketing and that consumers with disabilities are often lacking information. Our first assumption was that they are lacking information on the accessibility features of products and services - of course, that is what projects like the GARI database are trying to remedy. But actually no, that is not what Jo meant. His point was that the marketing itself was not accessible and that a deaf consumer like himself cannot know what commercials on TV are about if there are only plenty of nice pictures but no text. Consumers with disabilities do not only have to know about the accessibility features of products - they need to know about all the basic features and functions and properties as well just as any other consumer. Many of today’s brands and companies have not yet realised this need and potential.

Companies would also benefit from rethinking their definition of target groups. Jo is deaf himself, but he has many hearing friends and business partners. In situations where he communicates with hearing people, he needs solutions that work for both deaf and hearing users. The target group for a product or service in this case is a group of mixed deaf and hearing people, not just a group of deaf persons and a group of hearing persons.

A refreshing talk in Austrian Sign Language that made us aware of some of our own unconscious biases.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Accessibility of white and brown goods at the IFA 2016

The IFA taking place every year in Berlin is one of the biggest consumer electronics fairs. Hall after hall, manufacturers present the latest solutions for smart homes, smart household electronics, smart washing machines, smart TVs…. everything smart. While “smart” is supposed to make things easier for the consumer, it might inadvertently make devices inaccessible - especially for blind and low-vision users. For this reason, the German blind association DBSV organised a side-event dedicated to “Usability and accessibility of household and consumer electronics”, which was well attended with almost 100 participants.

The heads of design and accessibility at white goods manufacturers Miele and BSH explained how these big companies are tackling accessibility, how it is integrated in the design process, how they get feedback from the disability community and what is expected from the user to make it work. An important aspect for intuitive design to have the opportunity to work, is that consumers need to be willing to experience and test new approaches. If they insist on having what they know and always had, new and better features have a hard time getting implemented. Both companies agree on two points: cross disciplinary solutions are key to achieving human centred solutions, and “adding on” accessibility at the end is always the least ideal solution.

To complete the picture, Oliver Nadig from the German blind association DBSV, and Dr. Heidrun Mollekopf from the umbrella organisations of German senior citizen associations, talked about experience and requirements from the perspective of users with disabilities or senior users. Mr. Nadig gave through some concrete examples of how touchscreen interfaces and smart devices can make the use of these devices difficult, even impossible for persons with disabilities. Be it that the menus have no clear starting point and ending point and run through in a circle, giving blind users no indication where in the menu they are. Be it that there is no indication of activated functions or having functions activated at the first touch, meaning a person exploring via touch inadvertently activates these functions right away. They emphasised that from their perspective, smart accessibility means that devices adapt to the individual needs of users and remembers the necessary settings.

The panel discussion concluding the event, came to three practical conclusions: 1) we need sensibilisation and awareness among policy makers and consumers - regulation is not forcibly the right solution, but can lead the way in the right direction; 2) we are lacking the necessary information about existing accessibility solutions - especially among consumers as well as among sales personal and carers; 3) we need norms and standards for accessibility to allow coherent implementation.

So while the awareness of accessibility - its importance and implementation - has not made its way on the general show floor of the IFA yet, the well attended side event clearly showed that the need is there, and that accessibility is gaining in traction.


Link to the event programme: http://www.dbsv.org/index.php?id=1393

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The future of accessibility - through the lens of technology, policy and economics

Public Procurement Directive, Web Accessibility Directive, European Accessibility Act… in the context of these regulations coming into force, under revision or being discussed, Microsoft’s event on “The future of accessibility - through the lens of technology, policy and economics” brought together in a timely manner an interesting group of stakeholders.

Keynote speaker Mark Pollock set the stage. He told his personal story from loosing his sight at 22 to loosing the ability to walk years later. Mark found comfort in technology that helped him overcome certain barriers and gave him back a semblance of normalcy - at least in certain situations. Following speakers in the panel agreed with Mark that one of the biggest advantages of accessible or assistive technologies is to “feel slightly normal again” and that technologies such as Microsoft’s 3D Soundscape can help filling gaps “which I did not know I have”. Microsoft’s 3D Soundscape is a technology that helps blind users to more independently, liberating movement, and facilitating “normal” street experience. Kirstie from Guide Dogs UK shared her experience with this technology and how it helped her gain back some independence and freedom. 

While technology can liberate, legal and policy aspects play into ensuring these technologies are available to all users that need them. The European Commission explained their motivation for proposing a European Accessibility Act, underlining that the market development in ICT over the past 20 years has failed to create a truly harmonised and interoperable offer in accessible and assistive devices. And Prof. Anne Lawson from the University of Leeds expanded on the role of legislation and policies moving accessibility forward. Equality laws have been successful in some countries to push the accessibility agenda, but she sees the greatest potential in governments using their research and innovation agendas to push for accessibility. 

Robin Spinks from RNIB put the question out there: why is existing legislation not enforced? If you race down the highway, you get a ticket right away, but if you infringe on accessibility obligations, there are no consequences. One possible answer: the governments do not have their own house in order (meaning they are not very good in applying accessibility rules themselves, starting with making their websites and apps accessible….), so they are reluctant to police accessibility implementation in general. 

Geoff Adams-Spink, former BBC Age & Disability Correspondent, and moderator of the panel discussions, challenged the innovators panel to speculate on what the future will hold for accessibility. The panel members came from a background of touch based and eye controlled computers solutions for special education (Tobii), dyslexia screening (Optolexia), ICT consulting (Softjam) and the Internet of Things (Univera Sade). As varied as their background were their answers: speculations ranged from wearables to cloud computing, passing by sensors and the Internet of Things. 

While the innovators panel was convinced that the time has come for accessibility to go mainstream - with or without regulation - some pointed out that there still is the misconception that accessibility is only to be done for compliance reasons, that there is no room for creativity. But in reality, many of the features initially developed to help persons with disabilities, have become popular features for everyone: voice recognition, image recognition, zoom, predictive text… the list goes on. Also, people with disabilities often have a novel way of working around obstacles and to harvest this intelligence and translate it into new products, people with disabilities must be included in product conception and design from the very beginning. Treating accessibility as on add-on is expensive and counterproductive. 

Before concluding the event, Geoff Adams-Spink challenged his last round of panelists with the question of how to best pitch accessibility to policy makers. Shaheen Parks, analyst at Forrester, answered that beyond the profit and tapping into the market power of the disabled community, accessible solutions are proven to help in productivity and optimisation. Dr. Cara Antoine from Shell would say that accessibility is simply the right thing to do - out of respect for the people. Robin Spinks from RNIB, would take several disabled friends along and invite the policy maker to use Robin’s computer to book him a flight - with screen magnification on and no way to switch it off. Then he would invite him together with his friends to a bar and to ponder about life. Robin Christopherson from AbilityNet would ask the policy maker to use his phone out in the bright sunlight and see how well he’d be able to handle that. 

Some good ideas we can all try out next time we come to explain to policy makers why accessibility counts. 

The future of accessibility - through the lens of technology, policy and economics

Public Procurement Directive, Web Accessibility Directive, European Accessibility Act… in the context of these regulations coming into force, under revision or being discussed, Microsoft’s event on “The future of accessibility - through the lens of technology, policy and economics” brought together in a timely manner an interesting group of stakeholders.

Keynote speaker Mark Pollock set the stage. He told his personal story from loosing his sight at 22 to loosing the ability to walk years later. Mark found comfort in technology that helped him overcome certain barriers and gave him back a semblance of normalcy - at least in certain situations. Following speakers in the panel agreed with Mark that one of the biggest advantages of accessible or assistive technologies is to “feel slightly normal again” and that technologies such as Microsoft’s 3D Soundscape can help filling gaps “which I did not know I have”. Microsoft’s 3D Soundscape is a technology that helps blind users to more independently, liberating movement, and facilitating “normal” street experience. Kirstie from Guide Dogs UK shared her experience with this technology and how it helped her gain back some independence and freedom. 

While technology can liberate, legal and policy aspects play into ensuring these technologies are available to all users that need them. The European Commission explained their motivation for proposing a European Accessibility Act, underlining that the market development in ICT over the past 20 years has failed to create a truly harmonised and interoperable offer in accessible and assistive devices. And Prof. Anne Lawson from the University of Leeds expanded on the role of legislation and policies moving accessibility forward. Equality laws have been successful in some countries to push the accessibility agenda, but she sees the greatest potential in governments using their research and innovation agendas to push for accessibility. 

Robin Spinks from RNIB put the question out there: why is existing legislation not enforced? If you race down the highway, you get a ticket right away, but if you infringe on accessibility obligations, there are no consequences. One possible answer: the governments do not have their own house in order (meaning they are not very good in applying accessibility rules themselves, starting with making their websites and apps accessible….), so they are reluctant to police accessibility implementation in general. 

Geoff Adams-Spink, former BBC Age & Disability Correspondent, and moderator of the panel discussions, challenged the innovators panel to speculate on what the future will hold for accessibility. The panel members came from a background of touch based and eye controlled computers solutions for special education (Tobii), dyslexia screening (Optolexia), ICT consulting (Softjam) and the Internet of Things (Univera Sade). As varied as their background were their answers: speculations ranged from wearables to cloud computing, passing by sensors and the Internet of Things. 

While the innovators panel was convinced that the time has come for accessibility to go mainstream - with or without regulation - some pointed out that there still is the misconception that accessibility is only to be done for compliance reasons, that there is no room for creativity. But in reality, many of the features initially developed to help persons with disabilities, have become popular features for everyone: voice recognition, image recognition, zoom, predictive text… the list goes on. Also, people with disabilities often have a novel way of working around obstacles and to harvest this intelligence and translate it into new products, people with disabilities must be included in product conception and design from the very beginning. Treating accessibility as on add-on is expensive and counterproductive. 

Before concluding the event, Geoff Adams-Spink challenged his last round of panelists with the question of how to best pitch accessibility to policy makers. Shaheen Parks, analyst at Forrester, answered that beyond the profit and tapping into the market power of the disabled community, accessible solutions are proven to help in productivity and optimisation. Dr. Cara Antoine from Shell, would say that accessibility is simply the right thing to do - out of respect for the people. Robin Spinks from RNIB, would take several disabled friends along and invite the policy maker to use Robin’s computer to book him a flight - with screen magnification on and no way to switch it off. Then he would invite him together with his friends to a bar and to ponder about life. Robin Christopherson from AbilityNet would ask the policy maker to use his phone out in the bright sunlight and see how well he’d be able to handle that. 

Some good ideas we can all try out next time we come to explain to policy makers why accessibility counts. 

The future of accessibility - through the lens of technology, policy and economics

Public Procurement Directive, Web Accessibility Directive, European Accessibility Act… in the context of these regulations coming into force, under revision or being discussed, Microsoft’s event on “The future of accessibility - through the lens of technology, policy and economics” brought together in a timely manner an interesting group of stakeholders.

Keynote speaker Mark Pollock set the stage. He told his personal story from loosing his sight at 22 to loosing the ability to walk years later. Mark found comfort in technology that helped him overcome certain barriers and gave him back a semblance of normalcy - at least in certain situations. Following speakers in the panel agreed with Mark that one of the biggest advantages of accessible or assistive technologies is to “feel slightly normal again” and that technologies such as Microsoft’s 3D Soundscape can help filling gaps “which I did not know I have”. Microsoft’s 3D Soundscape is a technology that helps blind users to more independently, liberating movement, and facilitating “normal” street experience. Kirstie from Guide Dogs UK shared her experience with this technology and how it helped her gain back some independence and freedom. 

While technology can liberate, legal and policy aspects play into ensuring these technologies are available to all users that need them. The European Commission explained their motivation for proposing a European Accessibility Act, underlining that the market development in ICT over the past 20 years has failed to create a truly harmonised and interoperable offer in accessible and assistive devices. And Prof. Anne Lawson from the University of Leeds expanded on the role of legislation and policies moving accessibility forward. Equality laws have been successful in some countries to push the accessibility agenda, but she sees the greatest potential in governments using their research and innovation agendas to push for accessibility. 

Robin Spinks from RNIB put the question out there: why is existing legislation not enforced? If you race down the highway, you get a ticket right away, but if you infringe on accessibility obligations, there are no consequences. One possible answer: the governments do not have their own house in order (meaning they are not very good in applying accessibility rules themselves, starting with making their websites and apps accessible….), so they are reluctant to police accessibility implementation in general. 

Geoff Adams-Spink, former BBC Age & Disability Correspondent, and moderator of the panel discussions, challenged the innovators panel to speculate on what the future will hold for accessibility. The panel members came from a background of touch based and eye controlled computers solutions for special education (Tobii), dyslexia screening (Optolexia), ICT consulting (Softjam) and the Internet of Things (Univera Sade). As varied as their background were their answers: speculations ranged from wearables to cloud computing, passing by sensors and the Internet of Things. 

While the innovators panel was convinced that the time has come for accessibility to go mainstream - with or without regulation - some pointed out that there the misconception that accessibility is only to be done for compliance reasons, that there is no room for creativity. But in reality, many of the features initially developed to help persons with disabilities, have become popular features for everyone: voice recognition, image recognition, zoom, predictive text… the list goes on. Also, people with disabilities often have a novel way of working around obstacles and to harvest this intelligence and translate it into new products, people with disabilities must be included in product conception and design from the very beginning. Treating accessibility as on add-on is expensive and counterproductive. 

Before concluding the event, Geoff Adams-Spink challenged his last round of panelists with the question of how to best pitch accessibility to policy makers. Shaheen Parks, analyst at Forrester, answered that beyond the profit and tapping into the market power of the disabled community, accessible solutions are proven to help in productivity and optimisation. Dr. Cara Antoine from Shell, would say that accessibility is simply the right thing to do - out of respect for the people. Robin Spinks from RNIB, would take several disabled friends along and invite the policy maker to use Robin’s computer to book him a flight - with screen magnification on and no way to switch it off. Then he would invite him together with his friends to a bar and to ponder about life. Robin Christopherson from AbilityNet would ask the policy maker to use his phone out in the bright sunlight and see how well he’d be able to handle that. 

Some good ideas we can all try out next time we come to explain to policy makers why accessibility counts. 

The future of accessibility - through the lens of technology, policy and economics

Public Procurement Directive, Web Accessibility Directive, European Accessibility Act… in the context of these regulations coming into force, under revision or being discussed, Microsoft’s event on “The future of accessibility - through the lens of technology, policy and economics” brought together in a timely manner an interesting group of stakeholders.

Keynote speaker Mark Pollock set the stage. He told his personal story from loosing his sight at 22 to loosing the ability to walk years later. Mark found comfort in technology that helped him overcome certain barriers and gave him back a semblance of normalcy - at least in certain situations. Following speakers in the panel agreed with Mark that one of the biggest advantages of accessible or assistive technologies is to “feel slightly normal again” and that technologies such as Microsoft’s 3D Soundscape can help filling gaps “which I did not know I have”. Microsoft’s 3D Soundscape is a technology that helps blind users to more independently, liberating movement, and facilitating “normal” street experience. Kirstie from Guide Dogs UK shared her experience with this technology and how it helped her gain back a some independence and freedom. 

While technology can liberate, legal and policy aspects play into ensuring these technologies are available to all users that need them. The European Commission explained their motivation for proposing a European Accessibility Act, underlining that the market development in ICT over the past 20 years has failed to create a truly harmonised and interoperable offer in accessible and assistive devices. And Prof. Anne Lawson from the University of Leeds expanded on the role of legislation and policies moving accessibility forward. Equality laws have been successful in some countries to push the accessibility agenda, but she sees the greatest potential in governments using their research and innovation agendas to push for accessibility. 

Robin Spinks from RNIB put the question out there: why is existing legislation not enforced? If you race down the highway, you get a ticket right away, but if you infringe on accessibility obligations, there are no consequences. One possible answer: the governments do not have their own house in order (meaning they are not very good in applying accessibility rules themselves, starting with making their websites and apps accessible….), so they are reluctant to police accessibility implementation in general. 

Geoff Adams-Spink, former BBC Age & Disability Correspondent, and moderator of the panel discussions, challenged the innovators panel to speculate on what the future will hold for accessibility. The panel members came from a background of touch based and eye controlled computers solutions for special education (Tobii), dyslexia screening (Optolexia), ICT consulting (Softjam) and the Internet of Things (Univera Sade). As varied as their background were their answers: speculations ranged from wearables to cloud computing, passing by sensors and the Internet of Things. 

While the innovators panel was convinced that the time has come for accessibility to go mainstream - with or without regulation - some pointed out that there the misconception that accessibility is only to be done for compliance reasons, that there is no room for creativity. But in reality, many of the features initially developed to help persons with disabilities, have become popular features for everyone: voice recognition, image recognition, zoom, predictive text… the list goes on. Also, people with disabilities often have a novel way of working around obstacles and to harvest this intelligence and translate it into new products, people with disabilities must be included in product conception and design from the very beginning. Treating accessibility as on add-on is expensive and counterproductive. 

Before concluding the event, Geoff Adams-Spink challenged his last round of panelists with the question of how to best pitch accessibility to policy makers. Shaheen Parks, analyst at Forrester, answered that beyond the profit and tapping into the market power of the disabled community, accessible solutions are proven to help in productivity and optimisation. Dr. Cara Antoine from Shell, would say that accessibility is simply the right thing to do - out of respect for the people. Robin Spinks from RNIB, would take several disabled friends along and invite the policy maker to use Robin’s computer to book him a flight - with screen magnification on and no way to switch it off. Then he would invite him together with his friends to a bar and to ponder about life. Robin Christopherson from AbilityNet would ask the policy maker to use his phone out in the bright sunlight and see how well he’d be able to handle that. 

Some good ideas we can all try out next time we come to explain to policy makers why accessibility counts. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Senior adults aren’t seeking accessibility - they just need a device that helps them see and hear better

Being able to use mobile devices has become as important for senior adults as for everyone else. Ideally, the devices should be accessible and easy to use for seniors, but what does this mean it practice? Amy VanDeVelde, National Connections  Program Manager at OASIS and member of AT&T’s accessibility panel, explains to us how to approach mobile accessibility for seniors and which features senior adults appreciate most.


  • OASIS is promoting healthy ageing. What are your main activities in this respect? 

Amy: 35 years ago our founder was asked to look at the state of services for seniors and senior housing. She discovered that there are three elements for a healthy ageing experience: engagement in life long learning, staying physically active and having a strong sense of social engagement. Out of these findings, she decided to develop interesting content and curricula for older adults. At the time, there was no science to back up her approach but now there is a lot of evidence that healthy aging is a mix of these three key elements. OASIS classes help the whole person. We offer fitness training classes, life-long learning classes, and enriching volunteer opportunities.

  • How do you reach the ageing population? 

Amy: We reach many people through classes and events at nine OASIS centres throughout the US, which are like senior centres. We reach a critical mass of people through community partnerships. For the technology training, I partner, for example with public libraries and other senior centres, in public locations where older adults would go to access technology they may not have at home. Similarly, our health team partners with libraries and local hospitals to offer fitness classes. Overall, we do everything possible to help people age in place. Our community partnership model has allowed us to serve hundreds of thousands of people.

  • How much of a supporting role do you think can mobile accessibility play in healthy ageing? 

Amy: I believe that the role of accessible technology continues to evolve as we use more technology in our daily lives. I have this perspective because my main activity is running OASIS Connections, which is a technology training program. Connections was originally created for older adults, but it can also help any digital newcomer. This is because learning technology is like learning a new language for digital newcomers. The Connections program is OASIS’ national program for intellectual stimulation and keeping your brain engaged. Is there a better way to keep your brain engaged than keeping up with technology? Our student materials are all available in English. We also have two classes translated to  Korean and eleven translated to Spanish. Our Mobile Accessibility Guide is the first Connections book we are publishing free on our website in English and Spanish:

Hopefully this free resource will allow to reach more people.

  • When senior adults come to your technology classes, what is the biggest hurdle that they need to overcome to be able to use mobile technologies? 

Amy: In the past, the key barrier was relevance. When older adults did not perceive the technology as relevant to them, they did not adopt. One factor influencing this change is the trend of ‘hand-me-up devices’. This is when children or grandchildren give a device to an older relative in order to keep in better touch. The idea is a good one but learning how to use the device can be a challenge.  Learning technology from family members can also be challenging at times... Additionally, seniors are not sure that they want to bear the cost of newer technology.

In the past 18 months, we are seeing a change in technology adoption patterns by older adults. The latest numbers (Benton Foundation) show that the need to have internet access is becoming more ubiquitous. Mature adults were early adopters of eReaders likely because they could adjust the size of the text to make it more readable. Caregiving, whether for a spouse or a grandchild, also has become more tied to technology. Diabetics can send their data to their doctors via the internet. Grandparents who want to be informed about things happening at their grandchildren’s schools can do so via the internet. The United States differs from Europe in access to broadband internet services, particularly in inner cities and rural areas. 2015 data by the Pew Research Center showed that people without broadband access are buying smartphones in order to have internet access. Pew has named this group ‘smart phone dependents.’

Many people who have said before that they did not want or need the internet, now understand that they do need access to the internet, and are beginning to do what is necessary to get the access. If that means buying a smartphone and using a data plan they will do so. This is not a very cost effective way of accessing the internet, but if there is no broadband and limited options for public internet access, people are adopting smart phones for this purpose.

These are really interesting shifts happening in the US. There has also been a jump in smartphone adoption in the boomer generation. The number one reason for adopting these technologies is still to stay connected with loved ones. Year after year, over 70% of people taking a Connections class do it to stay in touch with someone in their life. As younger generations adopt new methods of communication, older adults will follow them. We have seen this over the past four years with steadily rising numbers of older Facebook users. Texting is also becoming a more popular way that older adults can stay connected. And since many of us do not live close to family, when internet access is affordable, amazing applications like FaceTime, Skype and Google Hangouts allow people to see the faces of their loved ones. These communication applications are very appealing to older adults.

  • It is an interesting aspect that the lack of broadband access forces people to use mobile as their only access. It also shifts the whole burden of accessibility on the mobile device which needs to be simple enough to use. How do you accommodate this in your classes? 

Amy: Connections classes have always been written with the beginner in mind. That does not mean that all the people coming into these classes start with no experience. We believe that when students leave class with our handbook, it is reassuring and a resource they can use at a later date. Younger generations have become accustomed to finding information online, but that is not the default for mature adults. They are more likely to look for information in a book or call someone to ask for help. If you think about the way boomers learned in a classroom setting, it makes sense that the internet wouldn’t be the first place they would think to look. Once they are comfortable and familiar with the internet, we train them that the internet is an invaluable resource where they can find all kinds of information. Also, people do not know what the term “accessibility” means, so they might not ever look at that menu on a device. In the Mobile Accessibility Guide, they learn about the basics and then they can look for more information online if they want to.

Over the years, OASIS centres have offered classes about accessibility, but they were poorly attended, because senior adults do not identify with having accessibility needs or having a disability. So those classes were more likely to be attended by caretakers, such as the spouse of someone refusing to get a hearing-aid and so on. That is why in our catalogs we did not call our class “Mobile Accessibility” because that term isn’t meaningful. Instead we called it “Better Hearing, Better Seeing with a Smartphone or Tablet”.

We are piloting the class on mobile accessibility throughout the country and we will report on first outcomes at the M-Enabling Summit in June.

  • Are there particular aspects that need to be considered in making mobile telecommunications and devices accessible for senior citizens, aspects that would be different from making mobile telecommunications accessible for specific disability groups? 

Amy: Primarily, older adults do not identify with having a disability.  Unlike people who are hard of hearing, blind or low vision and work with organizations who share special resources designed just for them, it has been hard to reach the senior population... Research shows that hearing loss is a gradual process that affects everyone. Changes in vision also impact most people during the aging process. Still, most seniors will insist that they do not have hearing loss or are not losing some visual acuity. When we show them functionalities that make life easier and are fun to use, we have more success reaching them. That’s why we called our class “better hearing, better seeing” and that approach has worked well.

We have a short video where we have asked attendees of this class about what is important for them in mobile devices. Making text size bigger is certainly one of the first requests. Older adults see the usefulness of speech to text. The thought that they do not have to use their fingers to touch those tiny keys and type all those words is intriguing. When using speech to text, their messages may be longer and in full sentence form differing from messages sent by younger generations.. One of our participants in the video found this very helpful, especially when her thumbs hurt. The third participant in the video found the LED flash alerts super helpful to see when the phone is ringing.

  • What are your experiences with using the GARI database? 

Amy: I was originally introduced to GARI through my work with the Preferences for Global Access project and was involved with reviewing the CTIA’s accesswireless.org website for its usability for seniors which links to GARI. Taking a closer look in the review process, I understood what a great resource GARI is both for people seeking solutions for themselves. Also, caregivers, are an important target group seeking technology solutions to help loved ones. In the last mobile accessibility class for example, two people attended who were looking for how to use mobile devices to communicate with their very hard-of-hearing parents.



If you would like to hear Amy’s talk about the experiences from OASIS' “Better hearing, better seeing with your smartphone” class, you can do so by attending the M-Enabling Summit, 13-14 June 2016 in Washington DC.