Modern computers have vastly more functionality than any single individual will make use of in their day to day life. User interface designers have to balance the needs of usability against efficiency, and this has led to niche functionality being located within control panels, configuration menus, and system options. While this ensures that an interface is useful for the majority of users, it greatly disadvantages novice and disabled users who are often unaware that such functionality exists, unsure of how to change it when they do know, lacking in confidence as to the impact of the changes they do know how to make, and sometimes physically unable to make the changes.
The Access Framework project is an open source software tool aimed at mitigating these issues by having the computer take proactive responsibility for identifying problems and making appropriate system corrections. Users are responsible only for indicating their like or dislike for particular changes. The framework, developed in collaboration with researchers at IBM Watson Research Center in New York and the Centre for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement, serves as a general platform for simplifying the development and deployment of accessibility and cognitive support software.
Project Lead – Vicki Hanson
+44 (0)1382 386510
Researchers: Michael Heron, Ian Ricketts, Vicki Hanson, Shari Trewin (IBM), Sara Czaja (CREATE)