FSCONS 2011/Accessibility track
About the track
- Track name: Universal Design — Aiming for Accessibility
- Track Organiser: Rikard Fröberg
This track is about technology and accessibility. Technology in itself can be designed in a way that lets everybody access it, regardless of difficulties, disabilities or disposition. Therefore, when designing technological applications, one should aim for making the application accessible to everybody, and as a side-effect gain more users.
But technology can also be used in order to bridge difficulties and increase accessibility. Many times, what started as an adoption or aide for people with some disability, lead to the design of something that many people found very convenient or useful. Examples of this are single lever faucets, TV remote controls, automatic door openers, audio books and many other common objects. These are all examples of "design for all" or universal design.
From a societal viewpoint, making the society in all aspects more accessible is a key component in a democracy. People must be included in and have access to the various parts of the daily life and activities of the society.
This also ties in with Free Software, because of the nature of such software. Applications which are Free Software, lets the user (or someone the user hires) adopt the piece of software to meet some special needs for increasing its accessibility. Therefore one could argue that Free Software is a great means for allowing for customizations and the creation of variants of software for users who cannot use applications out-of-the-box. One could, of course, also argue for many other features of Free Software which makes it suitable for developing applications for solving problems with accessibility. One such feature is that the license permits re-use and remix - once a problem is solved, the same code can be used for solving similar problems in other applications.
About universal design
Universal Design (wikipedia) is used for making buildings, products and environments inherently accessible to both people without disabilities and people with disabilities. The track will present projects and examples of accessible design for the benefit of everybody without excluding anybody.
Read more at the The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (CEUD) for another definition.
ITU Gaze Tracker
The ITU Gaze Tracker is an open-source eye tracker that aims to provide a low-cost alternative to commercial gaze tracking systems and to make this technology more accessible. It is developed by the Gaze Group at the IT University of Copenhagen and other contributors from the community, with the support of the Communication by Gaze Interaction Association (COGAIN).
Swedish Post and Telecom Agency - winning projects
The Swedish Post and Telecom Agency arranges yearly competitions for projects where the winners get fundings for projects designed for accessibility. Here are the winners from the last competition (Swedish): Vinnarna i PTS innovationstävling "Kultur och fritid".