T18: Universal Access and technology to support independent living

Tuesday, 27 July 2021, 08:00 – 12:00 EDT (Eastern Daylight Time - Washington DC)
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Simeon Keates (short bio)

Edinburgh Napier University, United Kingdom



The objective of this tutorial is to explore how the principles of universal access and the development of new technology can help support people with functional impairments enjoy successful independent living. While people with disabilities are one obvious group to explore, the ageing population is also a significant challenge for many countries. This tutorial will explore how we can design solutions to help as many people as possible live independently


Content and benefits:

This tutorial will cover the basics and introduce more advanced aspects of user-centered design and universal access. It will begin with an understanding of the challenges faced when designing products, services and systems for supporting independent living. The tutorial will also discuss the drivers for developing appropriate solutions, such as demographics and the prevalence and functional impairments. We will look at examples of how we can quantify and understand the impacts of different types of impairments on a person's ability to undertake everyday activities.

It is widely accepted in principle that user-centred design and universal access are essential for the development of products that are both usable and accessible by the widest possible range of users. However, many new technologies are continuing to be driven by the engineering challenges of the development of the technology rather than consideration of user wants, needs and aspirations.

We will explore how we can develop new solutions to support independent living through new design approaches and this will be illustrated by several case studies, including the design of television services, computer input systems, access to information, and emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things, new computer architectures and next generation robots.


Target Audience:

The tutorial is designed for anyone with an interest in universal access, ageing, disabilities and accessibility, from academic researchers or policy-makers to practitioners attempting to develop accessible solutions.

Bio Sketch of Presenter:

Professor Simeon Keates is Dean of the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Edinburgh Napier University and former Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Engineering and Science at the University of Greenwich. He was previously Chair of HCI and Head of School of Engineering, Computing and Applied Mathematics at the University of Abertay Dundee and Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, where he lectured in the Design and Digital Communication study line. He obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge, where he also worked as an Industrial Research Fellow in the Engineering Design Centre.

After 12 years at Cambridge, he moved to the US and joined the Accessibility Research Group at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center before moving to Boston and working at ITA Software (now part of Google) as a Usability Lead designing interfaces for Air Canada.

Simeon also has an extensive history of consultancy, with clients including The Post Office (Royal Mail), the US Social Security Administration, the UK Department of Trade and Industry, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (Danske Radio) and Lockheed Martin. His research interests include inclusive design, user-centred design, AI, HCI, robotics, novel computer architectures and machine-learning. He is the author of numerous books, including "Countering Design Exclusion: An introduction to inclusive design" and "Designing for Accessibility: A business guide to countering design exclusion."