Contemporary interactive technologies and environments are used by a multitude of users with diverse characteristics, needs and requirements, including able-bodied and disabled people, people of all ages, people with different skills and levels of expertise. New technologies targeted to satisfy human needs in the above contexts proliferate, whether stationary or mobile, centralized or distributed, visible or encapsulated in the environment. A wide variety of devices is already available, and new ones tend to appear frequently and on a regular basis.
Design for All is an umbrella term for a wide range of design approaches, methods, techniques and tools to help address this huge diversity of needs and requirements in the design of interactive technologies. Design for All entails an effort to build access features into a product, starting from its conception and throughout the entire development life-cycle.
Assistive Technology promotes greater independence for people with disabilities by enabling them to perform tasks that they were originally unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing. In this context, it provides enhanced or alternative methods to interact with the technology involved in accomplishing such tasks.Popular Assistive Technologies include screen readers and Braille displays for blind users, screen magnifiers for users with low vision, alternative input and output devices for motor impaired users (e.g., adapted keyboards, mouse emulators, joystick, binary switches), specialized browsers, and text prediction systems).
is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
The seven Principles of Universal Design were developed in 1997 on Carolina State University. The Principles “may be applied to evaluate existing designs, guide the design process and educate both designers and consumers about the characteristics of more usable products and environments.”
Equitable use: The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities
Flexibility in use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities
Simple and intuitive: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level
Perceptible information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities
Tolerance for error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions
Low physical effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue