W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-multimodal@w3.org > December 2002

MMI Use Cases And Users with disabilities

From: T. V. Raman <tvraman@us.ibm.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2002 08:20:27 -0800
Message-ID: <15875.17227.843543.812301@bubbles.almaden.ibm.com>
To: www-multimodal@w3.org, www-multimodal@w3.org]@bubbles.almaden.ibm.com
Cc: Deborah Dahl <dahl@conversational-technologies.com>

Steve --

I was pointed at your question cited below, and here is a somewhat
belated response.

In the past, new technologies  have often boltedn on accessibility after the fact,
and as a result  it's good to ask the question at this early stage
"what about users with disabilities".
The good news is that in many of the use cases motivating multimodal
interaction, you're talking about users who are "differently able" 
from their usual mode of interaction, and a necessary consequence of
this is that a lot of the edge cases that normally get ignored with
respect to suers with special needs automatically get covered.

Here is a concrete example:

Consider a multimodal application deployed to a hand-held that meets
the requirement that modalities be used to supplement one another in
the interaction.
For this app to be usable where one or other modality might disappear,
it has to be sufficiently robust to be able to handle the case where
the user cannot see the display i.e., a functionally blind user.
Desktop systems in the past have introduced access issues because they
covered a single user profile; multimodal devices will need to cover a
lot more.

In summary, rather than looking for a disabilities specific use case,
we need to be thinking of how someone with different needs and
abilities might participate in *each one* of the use cases  --and this
is the kind of discussion you should be driving within the WAI working

In short, ask not which use case is specific to the disabled user,
--since that only marginalizes users with special needs.

From: www-multimodal-request@w3.org [mailto:www-multimodal-request@w3.org]
On Behalf Of Steven McCaffrey
Sent: Monday, December 09, 2002 11:30 AM
To: www-multimodal@w3.org
Subject: multimodal interaction use cases: disabilities included?


Disability advocacy hat, (not a job title but a fair description of some of
what I do) 
and as a blind person:

I did not see use cases with people with disabilities explicitly mentioned.
Are they implicitly covered? Is it possible, for example to say something
like "Computer, change to no sight mode for input and output."? All the
cases seem to imply the user has all modes available, it's only the device
or situation that temporarily excludes thhis or that mode of interaction.
Did I read this correctly?
Programmer hat:  A fascinating sketch of near future web technologies with
many interesting problems to work on.



Steve McCaffrey
Senior Programmer/Analyst
Information Technology Services
New York State Department of Education

Best Regards,
T. V. Raman:  PhD (Cornell University)
IBM Research: Human Language Technologies
Architect:    Conversational And Multimodal WWW Standards
Phone:        1 (408) 927 2608   T-Line 457-2608
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Email:        tvraman@us.ibm.com
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AIM:      TVRaman
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Snail:        IBM Almaden Research Center,
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Received on Friday, 20 December 2002 11:23:19 UTC

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