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Universal Access in the Information Society: Achievements, Challenges and Promises

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  1. Universal Access in the Information Society: Achievements, Challenges and Promises Constantine Stephanidis Institute of Computer Science Foundation for Research and Technology-HellasHeraklion, Crete, Greecee-mail: cs@ics.forth.gr Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Crete

  2. Overview • Universal Access in the Information Society • User Interfaces for All • Policy initiatives, standardisation, legislation • A roadmap towards an Information Society for All • Conclusions Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  3. Telecoms industry • PSTN • Cable networks • Satellite networks • Broadcasting • Mobile networks • IT Industry • Computers • Software • Interfaces • Information/Entertainment • industries • Information • servers/services • Audio-visual products • Films • Music, & Photos Information Society The Information Society FUSION Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  4. Towards an Information Society Programming techniques AI Techniques i 3 Keyboard Direct Manipulation Multimodal Interface Commands Metaphor (GUI) Hypermedia Hardware Architecture Software Architecture Intuitive Information Processing Fast Computation Productivity Enhancement Support for Social activities Scientist’s tool Tool for Business work Tool for access in the IS Specialists Business Users Personal users 80s - 90s 60s-70s 90s - 21 century Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  5. Technological paradigm shift Characteristics of a changing paradigm • interaction-intensive • collaboration intensive • group-centred • distributed (across the Global Internet) 50s-60s 70s-80s 80s-90s 21st century Calculation-based in scientific applications Data-based / forms processing for business applications Personal productivity tools in business applications Group-centred and communication- centred computing / interaction intensive Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  6. Critical trends People become more and more dependent on computer technology Users are not necessarily computer experts (as opposed to users of previous generations of computers) Computers penetrate all life situations (work, entertainment, education…) There is a need for systems for all, access for all and high interaction quality Computer applications and services provide an ever increasing functionality and complexity for everyday tasks Computer users have diverse abilities, skills, requirements and preferences Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  7. Challenges in the Information Society • The Information Society has the potential to improve the quality of life of citizens, the efficiency of our social and economic organisation and to reinforce cohesion. But also, • May lead to the creation of a two-tier society of “have” and “have-nots”, in which only a part of the population has access to the new technology, is comfortable using it and can fully enjoy the benefits. • There is a danger that ordinary citizens may reject the new information culture and its instruments. Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  8. Acceptability of Information Society Technologies • Acceptability of the emerging Information Society by all citizens ultimately depends on the accessibility and usability of the associated technologies. • Therefore, it is important : • to develop high quality user interfaces, accessible and usable by a diverse user population with different abilities, skills, requirements and preferences, • in a variety of contexts of use, and through a variety of interaction technologies. Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  9. Users and context of use Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  10. Interaction platforms: beyond the desktop • shift towards non-desktop support systems • mobile and wearable devices • information and communication support • essential system characteristics • intuitive, multi-modal interaction • tailorability / self-adaptation • intelligence • reliability and robustness Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  11. Universal Access • Universal Access concerns the right of all citizens to obtain and maintain access to a society-wide pool of information resources and interpersonal communication facilities, given the varieties of context of use. • To this end, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has a critical and catalytic role to play. Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  12. Universal Design (or Design for All ) Universal Design in the Information Society is: • the conscious and systematic effort to proactively apply principles and methods, and employ appropriate tools, • in order to develop IT&T products and services which are accessible and usable by all citizens, • thus avoiding the need for a posteriori adaptations, or specialised design. Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  13. Universal Design : levels of concern Design for All PC TV Mobile phones User Interface Level Kiosks Communication protocols Telecommunications Infrastructure Bandwidth Satellite links Web Application Domain & Services Level Work Education Social Healthcare Entertainment Accommodating Diversity Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  14. Universal Design in HCI • Recognises, respects, values and attempts to accommodate the broadest possible range of human abilities, requirements and preferences • Eliminates the need for ‘special features’ and fosters individualisation and end-user acceptability • Fosters a pro-active strategy, postulating that accessibility and quality of interaction need to be embedded into a product at design time Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  15. Introducing the concept of UI4All UI4ALL User Interfaces for All Meet Individual Requirements, Abilities & Preferences Citizens in the Information Society Universal Access User Interface Accessibility U2I HCI anytime Design for All anybody anywhere Quality of Interaction Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  16. User Interfaces for All (1/2) • The concept of User Interfaces forAllwas introduced in 1995 as a new perspective into HCI • Itprovides a principled and systematic approach towards proactivelycoping with diversity inthe user population, the nature of work, the contexts of use and the user access media by providing appropriate (multiple) solutions tailored to the individual user needs and context of use • It is not a single solution for everybody! Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  17. User Interfaces for All (2/2) • Diversity concerns: • users • with different cultural, educational, training and employment background • novice and experienced • very young and elderly • with different types of disabilities • using different interaction platforms • in different contexts and scenarios of use Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  18. Shortcomings in the current generation of UIST (1/2) • Assumptions about the end-user of an interactive application • Able-bodied • Possessing immediate access to the computer • Narrow context of use • Predetermined usage patterns • Assumptions about target platforms • Visual embodiment of the desktop • Limited interaction styles Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  19. Shortcomings in the current generation of UIST (2/2) • User interface development remains a programming-intensive as opposed to design-intensive task • Single-artefact orientation as opposed to polymorphic design Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  20. The case of people with disabilities • Traditionally under-served by technological developments • Early accessibility efforts were largely based on a reactive approach: • Post-development modifications • Ad-hoc adaptations • No possibility for generalisation, or reusability • High costs in terms of development Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  21. Accessibility approaches • Reactive approach • aims to adapt products so as to build the required accessibility features • Assistive Technology solutions address problems introduced by a previous generation of technology • Proactive approach • aims to proactively account for accessibility by taking appropriate actions during the early phases of a product's life cycle • Active Accessibility® initiative (by Microsoft) • JavaTM Accessibility (by Sun) • Unified User Interface development platform (EC ACCESS consortium) Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  22. Attaining User Interfaces for All • The concept of Unified User Interfaces was introduced in 1995 • Unified User Interface Development Method • a new user interface development process • Unified User Interface Architecture • a new architectural framework for engineering self-adapting user interfaces • Unified User Interface Development Environment • a new set of tools supporting the user interface development life-cycle (requirements capture, design, implementation, evaluation) Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  23. A unified interface comprises a single (i.e. unified) interface implementation, encompassing alternative interactivebehaviours and sub-dialogues suitable for different user groups. The concept of a Unified User Interface U2I User & context Information adaptation process User Accessibility & High Quality of Interaction Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  24. Unified design method USE-IT(interactive designassistance) Sherlock (guideline management system) I-GET(user interfacegeneration) Non-visual interactiontoolkits Augmented windows toolkits Unified User Interface development platform Requirements Analysis Polymorphic task decomposition Design Prototyping & Implementation Evaluation Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  25. Unified User Interfaces in practice: the AVANTI Web browser Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  26. Typical Browser Instance Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  27. Adaptability • Adaptability refers to self-adaptation which is based on knowledge (concerning the user, the environment, the context of use, etc.) available to (or, acquired by) the system prior to the initiation of interaction, and which leads to adaptations that also precede the commencement of interaction. Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  28. Instances of Adaptability (1/4) Feedback on operation completion (here, bookmark addition) Links presented as buttons Link replication and structure overview pane Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  29. Instances of Adaptability (2/4) Interaction for motor- impaired: automatically scanned window manipulation toolbar Interaction for motor- impaired: automatically scanned HTML elements (including image-maps) Interaction for motor- impaired: all GUI objects accessible through automatic scanning Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  30. Instances of Adaptability (3/4) Interaction for motor- impaired: on-screen keyboard for text input Interaction for motor- impaired: keyboard layouts that speed up interaction (e.g. by following letter- frequency criteria) Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  31. Instances of Adaptability (4/4) Adapting to the context of use: kiosk mode operation Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  32. Adaptivity • Adaptivity refers to self-adaptation which is based on knowledge (concerning the user, the environment, the context of use, etc.) that is acquired and / or maintained by the system during interactive sessions (e.g., through monitoring techniques), and which leads to adaptations that take place while the user is interacting with the system. Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  33. Instances of Adaptivity (1/3) The interface’s response to the detection of the fact that the user seems incapable to complete the task of selecting a link from the “Link Bar” Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  34. Instances of Adaptivity (2/3) A simple dialog from which the user selects and loads previously visited documents... Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  35. Instances of Adaptivity (3/3) ... gets converted to the same dialogue with integrated guidance, if the user seems to be unable to comprehend its use. Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  36. Comparing traditional and unified interface design Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  37. Comparing traditional and unified interface development Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  38. User Interfaces for All -Concepts, Methods, and Tools • Published by LEA (2001) • hardbound, 760 pages, 30 chapters • a comprehensive overview of the state of the art in the field, including: • contributions from a variety of theoretical and applied disciplines • research, development and policy efforts worldwide • a detailed account of, and rationale for, the Unified User Interface Development methodology and tool platform • open and future research issues http://www.erlbaum.com/Books/searchintro/BookDetailscvr.cfm?ISBN=0-8058-2967-9 Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  39. Impediments to Universal Design • Current status of the mainstream industry • Assistive Technology prevalent practice • Attitude of consumers Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  40. What is still needed? • Additional R&D to facilitate a sound research base for Design for All in the Information Society • Support measures which ensure diffusion and adoption • International collaboration to facilitate • knowledge exchange • experience sharing Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  41. Policy options • Three main policy options • Standardisation • Legislation • Collaborative R&D • It is likely that none of the above by itself is sufficient to ensure the desirable results Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  42. Analytical criteria • Each option will need to be analysed in terms of: • target objective • pre-requisites • potential shortcomings • the role of non-market institutions Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  43. Standardisation (1/2) • Target • consolidation of knowledge • guidance • Pre-requisites • solid R&D base • timely intervention Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  44. Standardisation (2/2) • Shortcomings • lock on effect • appropriate recommendations • user involvement • industrial participation • not possible in highly competitive industries • Role of non-market institutions • funding standardisation activities • dissemination of knowledge Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  45. International standards • ISO SC4 WG5 • ISO TS 16071 (Draft) in press • W3C-WAI guidelines (de facto standard) Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  46. HCI Standardisation • Introduction of a new work item within ISO 9241 TC 159 / WG 5 / SC 4 (Software Ergonomics) pertaining to the issue of accessibility of interactive applications and telematic services by user groups with different abilities and requirements (e.g., people with disabilities) Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  47. US National Standards • Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards, Final Rule, under Section 508 of Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 • ANSI/HFES 200 (Accessibility) Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  48. EU member states standardisation initiatives • Nordic Initiative on Standards for Disabled and Elderly people (NORDICT) • Health Informatics; Computer Applications for People with disabilities; Accessibility requirements for Computer platforms, (AENOR, Spain) Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  49. European Union Standards • ICTSB Project • No standards on Design for all • Identification of future standardisation needs for ICT • CEN/TC 293 Technical aids for disabled persons Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001

  50. W3C-WAI • Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), in coordination with organizations around the world, pursues accessibility of the Web through five primary areas of work: • technology, • guidelines, • tools, • education and outreach,and • research and development. • http://www.w3.org/WAI/ Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, 23 March 2001