I have been invited to visit the SCHI Lab, led Dr Marianna Obrist at the University of Sussex to talk about my research on participatory design, inclusive technology and visual impairment.
Involving people in the process of designing technology that affects them is now a well established component of HCI research and practice. However, as with many forms of participation in decision-making in society, people living with visual impairments have had more limited opportunities to influence technology design across a variety of domains. A number of factors contribute to this; among these, many participatory design methods often rely on visual techniques, such as post-it notes and low-fi paper prototyping, to facilitate the expression and communication of design ideas; and while using visual means to express ideas for designing graphical interfaces is appropriate, it is harder to use them to articulate the design of, say, sonic or haptic artefacts, which are typical alternative modalities of interaction for people living with visual impairments. In this talk, I will outline our experience of engaging with people living with visual impairments and people with mixed visual abilities, where we adapted participatory design methods in order to jointly create meaningful technology, and describe some resulting research investigations that such engagement opened up in the areas of multisensory and crossmodal interaction design.