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Archive for January, 2013

Elderly Needs Study Could Be First “Crowdfunded” Social Research

A study into the consumer needs of elderly and disabled residents of a UK town could be the UK’s first piece of social research to be “crowdfunded”, E-Access Bulletin has learned.

The project was developed by the non-profit campaign group Eastbourne Designed For All ( ), which aims to pass on advice to businesses in the Sussex town on how to design products and services to be as accessible as possible to the area’s high proportion of elderly and disabled residents.


User Priorities Must Drive Accessible ICT Research, Warns Telecoms Expert

Research and investment priorities for the digital economy and development of internet services and mobile devices must reflect the needs of disabled and elderly people, a telecommunications expert has warned.

In a video address to a London event on the future of accessible ICT research( ), Dr Mike Short, vice president of Telefónica Europe and former president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, said customer demand for more accessible services has risen over the past ten years. Accordingly, mobile network providers need to think about different groups of users when planning for future growth, including the benefits that universal design can offer to everybody, Short said.

Autism Communication App Wins Smart Accessibility Award

A Spanish developer who created an app to help his five-year-old autistic son communicate has won 50,000 euros at the second annual “Smart Accessibility” awards for Android smartphone apps, presented by the Vodafone Foundation.

Ablah ( ) is an augmentative communication application developed by Juan Carlos Gonzalez. Users select images, text and sounds on a touch-screen to make the device “speak” for them.

Karen Darke, Adventurer and Paralympian: A Thirst for Adventure

By Tristan Parker

Paralympic athlete and adventurer Karen Darke has always been a keen sports and outdoor enthusiast. At the age of 21 she became paralysed from the chest down after a climbing accident, but this did nothing to quell her passion for adventure. Over the coming years she undertook numerous intrepid – and often dangerous – trips across the globe before training for the 2012 Paralympic Games, where she competed as a member of the British Cycling Team.

Darke took part in several handcycling events at the London Games, including the road race over 48km (where she captured the headlines by crossing the finish line hand-in-hand with British team-mate Rachel Morris) and the road time trial over 16km, in which she earned a silver medal. Recently, she has supported Go ON Gold, a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of access to technology by disabled people. Tristan Parker (TP) caught up with her (no mean feat) to ask her about her life, plans and greatest achievements: