In this unit we will discuss what we mean by ‘disability’. We will analyse some common impairment and disability groups, considering people with visual impairments, hearing impairments, physical impairments, and dyslexia and other cognitive impairments. I will briefly describe the relevant impairments and how they might affect a person's use of interactive devices. Where relevant, I will describe some common assistive technologies. These technologies, as their name suggests, assist people with impairments to interact with computers. We then discuss the requirements that each disability group might have for computers, and for other interactive products.
When you have finished studying this unit, you should be able to:
- give three reasons why widening accessibility is important;
- give two definitions of ‘disability’;
- describe the difference between the social and medical (individual) models of disability;
- describe some assistive technologies for people with vision impairments, hearing impairments, physical impairments and dyslexia;
- explain how interaction designers might widen the accessibility of their product to address the requirements of people in each of these main impairment groups.