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Technology and Disability communicates knowledge about the field of assistive technology devices and services, within the context of the lives of end users - persons with disabilities and their family members. While the topics are technical in nature, the articles are written for broad comprehension despite the reader's education or training.
Technology and Disability's contents cover research and development efforts, education and training programs, service and policy activities and consumer experiences.
The term Technology refers to assistive devices and services.
- The term Disability refers to both permanent and temporary functional limitations experienced by people of any age within any circumstance.
- The term and underscores the editorial commitment to seek for articles which see technology linked to disability as a means to support or compensate the person in daily functioning.
The Editor also attempts to link the themes of technology and disability through the selection of appropriate basic and applied research papers, review articles, case studies, programme descriptions, letters to the Editor and commentaries. Suggestions for thematic issues and proposed manuscripts are welcomed.
Abstract: The experience of prescription of active rigid-frame ultra light-weight wheelchairs was reported, using data on 278 prescribers in Sweden. Data was interpreted within the theoretical framework of MPT: Matching Person and Technology. This framework contains three reciprocal components: (1) user/consumer preferences; (2) critical features of the technology; and (3) environment and psychosocial setting. A purpose of the MPT model is to identify barriers to assistive technology use. The chi2-test was used to analyse the importance of prescriber characteristics for prescribing behaviour. Prescribers with longer experience emphasised both their influence on user's life-style and cost-related issues over wheelchair trends. Longer experience…and responsibility for more users were also associated with perceived easiness of obtaining information on new products. In general, prescribers emphasised self-image, design, appearance and aesthetics. However, prescribers perceived local regulations that limit the options as one barrier. Another barrier was lack of practice due to few annual prescriptions. The major source of information was manufacturer marketing. Thus, even though prescribers may have wanted to prescribe a user-matched wheelchair, they may have lacked the possibility to do so due to: (1) lack of practice and/or specialized knowledge; and (2) narrow regulations; both pertaining to the political decisions of municipality governments.
Keywords: Appearance, assistive device, disability, MPT (Matching Person and Technology), regulation, self-image, technical aid
Abstract: The aim of this study was to identify and characterize family caregivers' conceptions of usage of and information on products, technology, and Web-based services when caring at home for next of kin aged over 65 years. A phenomenographic method with semi-structured interviews with ten family caregivers was used. The results show that the family caregivers considered products and technology to be essential for an active life, and they stressed both facilitators for and hindrances to their optimal usage. The family caregivers apprehended a lack of information regarding products, technology and Web-based services, and additionally showed limited interest in using Web-based…services. There is a need for better information about the existing availability and for improvement in follow-up regarding prescriptions given. Therefore, it is necessary to involve family caregivers in the prescription and decision process in line with their wishes, since this to a highly degree influences their possibility to take care of their next of kin at home.
Abstract: This study evaluated the cursor-positioning effect of a Dynamic Pointing Assistive Program (DPAP) and a newly developed mouse driver for people with disabilities. The mouse driver was redesigned using software technology that could replace the standard mouse driver, change a mouse wheel into a thumb/finger poke detector, and intercept mouse actions. The DPAP was designed to move a cursor to a pre-defined target position where the user can poke his/her thumb/finger to rotate a mouse wheel in order to move a cursor to a target, whereby the cursor will automatically jump to a series of pre-defined target positions in order…according to the amount of wheel rotation and direction. In this study, 20 people with disabilities participated in the experiment. Trial completion time was determined and compared with the results from previous studies of cursor-capturing function (Automatic Pointing Assistive Program (APAP)) and normal conditions (i.e. with no function). The results of the experiment show that pointing efficiency was improved by 64.5% with the DPAP compared to that of the normal condition (p< 0.001), and was improved by 39.3% compared to that of APAP (p< 0.001). The recorded data was subjected to one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), with the level of significance p< 0.05, which indicates that the capturing functions had a significant effect on the trial completion time (F(2,57)=336.76; p< 0.001). The participants can acquire targets easily, quickly and accurately with the assistance of DPAP. Furthermore, the DPAP functions are expected to help elderly users, novices and even experienced users in some environments, such as mobile environments, in which users position a small target while they are moving, computer games in which the speed and the precision of the positioning is critical, and software applications in which simple positioning tasks occur repeatedly.
Abstract: As people increasingly integrate online activities into their daily lives, disabled people are often impeded from accessing websites due to code and design barriers. Despite guidelines on how to improve web accessibility, adoption remains low. The responsibility to implement accessibility tends to fall on web practitioners, yet prior scholarship has failed to adequately consult this group on their barriers to adoption. A qualitative study conducted using semi-structured interviews with web practitioners found that current social and individual values, inadequate guidelines and support, and monetary demands are halting the diffusion of web accessibility. These factors perpetuate an artificial construct of online…disability and impede developments towards an inclusive Web medium. Recommendations to remediate this environment and thus improve accessibility rates are offered.
Keywords: Web accessibility, accessibility, eAccessibility, disability, web development, web design
Abstract: To promote deaf awareness and natural sign language in Asia, we created an open platform named "Asia Signopedia". The web page allowed both deaf and hearing people to input and access entries of different Asian sign languages and their dialects in either video or text mode. This paper describes how the data structure and user interface of the web page were designed. The distributive authoring scheme of the web page allowed the database to be input and corrected by those who used it.
Abstract: Everyday technologies (ET) are an important part of the environment in which we live and interact, and older adults with cognitive impairments have to be able to manage ETs in order to participate in society. The aim of the present study was to bring new insight into what makes an ET easy or difficult to use for older adults with and without cognitive impairment. Older adults with and without cognitive impairments (n=116) were observed managing 27 ETs. In order to analyze and detect variables that influenced the level of difficulty of the ETs, a regression analysis was used and predefined…assumptions were investigated. The results revealed that ETs that were used less than once a week were more difficult to handle, as were those with a complex design. The results suggest that ETs, more specifically Information and Communication Technology, need to be designed to be more user-friendly and less complex, and older adults that wish to continue using an ET need to be frequent users. The age and gender of the user, and how long the ET had been in use did not relate to how difficult an ET was to manage.