Access and Inclusion through Technology

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Mobile Phone Choice - Form and Function

February 13th, 2009
I guess this blog is a work in progress as I start to gather thoughts for the 3rd european eaccessibility forum in Paris at the end of March. My talk is non provocative which is unusual for me, and draws upon research we have just completed on the factors influencing mobile phone selection amongst disabled users. This first blog post (just prior to me submitting the abstract, no coincidence there) is a chance to gather these thoughts into two broad categories - youve guessed form and function
Form refers to the handset design and ease of access, its all about how easy the handset and services are to customise. Can you change the font size, can you zoom, change contrast settings, use voice input or output etc weve begun a sort of grid of questions that you could explore based on operating system or handset manufacturer.
The main use for these questions is then to guide disabled users at work and beyond to select the handset that most meets their needs.
But the second part of the choice focusses on function, partly this is about the same functions that we all select handsets for, does it handle email, skype, take photos. etc But its also about how disabled people might choose to utilise those functions. It is this latter area that I want to explore more - how might people with memory loss be making use of phones with GPS or LIfeblog ? A blind user might make great use of voicenotes ? or those who get unduly stressed (like me) might find that some of the functions such as lava lamp or art galleries help relax and unwind alright that is just me
But you get the idea - and thast what Ill talk about in Paris on March 30 - Ill keep unpicking this a little more in the blog leading up to my presentation - you can help me out (although you cant come with me) by sharing your thoughts on the form and functions that influence mobile phone use amongst those that are disabled - Post them here !

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