The potential of adaptive interface interfaces as an accessibility aid for older web users


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The technical and social challenges of implementing an accessibility adaptation framework that detects age-related capability decline and makes appropriate adaptations, allowing continued use of the Web and ICTs for older people.

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The potential of adaptive interface interfaces as an accessibility aid for older web users

  1. 1. The potential of adaptive interfaces as an accessibility aid for older web users David Sloan, University of Dundee, UK Matthew Tylee Atkinson, Colin Machin, Yunqiu Li Loughborough University, UK W4A 2010, Raleigh, NC, April 27th 2010
  2. 2. Outline 2  Barriers to progress in how web accessibility advancements can support age-related decline  Adaptations and accessibility  The SuS-IT project and our approach to an adaptivity framework for accessibility  Early results of user engagement
  3. 3. Web accessibility developments and age- related decline 3  Progress in:  Web content accessibility  Assistive technology development  Increasing effort paid to supporting the needs of older web users  Understanding accessibility/usability issues (WAI-AGE project and others)  Simplified browsers/computers  Work on understanding how to educate older people to be more informed web users
  4. 4. Age-related capability decline – barriers to web use 4  Age-related capability decline might take place in:  Vision, hearing, dexterity,  Fluid intelligence: short term memory, decision- making  Decline is dynamic  Nature and effect is unpredictable  If unaddressed, the outcome may lead to compromised used of the Web/ICT… or abandonment
  5. 5. Age-related capability decline – barriers to web use 5  Why might current accessibility developments not benefit someone experiencing age-related capability decline?  Lack of awareness of one‟s changing (increasing) accessibility needs  The paradox of discoverability of access solutions – from advice to tools  Negative attitude to use of assistive technology
  6. 6. Adaptation for accessibility 6  Adaptive interfaces have a long history of involvement in accessibility R&D  Adaptation acknowledges that „universal design‟ can mean different solutions benefit different needs  Requires two conditions to be fulfilled:  Accurate detection of a person‟s accessibility needs  Appropriate selection and implementation of adaptation(s) that accommodate these needs as helpfully and unobtrusively as possible
  7. 7. Adaptation for accessibility: related work 7  Notable work includes:  IBM Web Adaptation Technology  Accessmonkey  AEGIS project  But…work may be limited to:  single applications (e.g. browser)  single impairments  severe impairments
  8. 8. User profiling 8  Critical part of adaptivity for accessibility  WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health  CC/PP  ISO 24751 – accessibility metadata for people and resources, from an e-learning context  We need:  Profiles that can be easily populated and kept up-to- date  Profiles that bridge human characteristics and functional capabilities
  9. 9. Ethical issues 9  Relating to the sensitive nature of data gathered that reveals the extent of age-related decline.  (How) should we make that data available to the user?  How should we manage the impact on personal well- being of a user on discovering extent of capability decline?  (How) should we make that data available to others who might need to know (clinicians, family)?  If data gathered revealed some underlying medical issue?
  10. 10. SuS-IT project and accessibility 10 adaptations for older people  SuS-IT is a multi-disciplinary project aim to explore role of IT in sustaining independence for older people…  …and minimising negative impact of age- related decline  Our contribution:  To develop an accessibility adaptation framework  To explore how it can accommodate age-related capability decline
  11. 11. Technical work 11 Developing and evaluating effectiveness of a framework that offers:  a library of adaptations that match specific accessibility needs  Detection of capability change (implicit or explicitly recorded)  Reasoning system to choose appropriate adaptations and apply them to relevant applications  Retention and modification of capability/adaptation profile over time
  12. 12. Early user engagement 12  Used theatre to present early concepts in a prototype to group of older people (n=32)  Two groups, one novice users, one more experienced  Script designed to expose automated adaptations based on detected capability change, and characters reaction to these changes  Deliberately exaggerated adaptations to emphasise effects on interface - and on user(!)  Acts paused at strategic moments to provoke discussion on reaction to issues raised
  13. 13. Key observations 13  Absence of negative reaction to adaptations from both groups  Tendency of both groups to see system as being for those less capable than themselves: “would be really helpful for older people…”  Shared suspicion of storage, use, and sharing of capability data  “would my optician find out my eyesight had decreased?”
  14. 14. Ongoing challenges 14  Technical testing of accessibility adaptation framework:  Accuracy of capability change detection  Accuracy of applying appropriate adaptations  User-acceptance  Establishment of appropriate levels of obtrusiveness of the monitoring system;  Data curation/access  Longitudinal studies  Exploring to what extent a system such as this successfully sustains ICT access and use by older people?
  15. 15. Thankyou! 15