Informatics and Society: The Challenge of Improving IT Accessibility
Bruce Diamond, Gregory Shreve
Information technology (IT) is an important part of society and has assumed an increasing role in education, medicine, commercial, leisure, and sociopolitical applications. However, while progress in developing IT hardware and software has advanced, our understanding of user needs and how these needs can be translated into more accessible and effective system design lags behind. The challenge that we face is rooted in the fact that many individuals across this planet who are differently-abled due to aging, developmental or neurologic conditions or to individual differences in learning, face obstacles in using and accessing IT. The central thesis of this paper is that the effective delivery of IT to the differently-abled is contingent on deriving enough information about user populations to allow for the development and use of personalized interfaces and customized content. To this end, it is proposed that a combination of adaptive hypermedia and cognitive adaptive strategies integrating metadata architecture for representing the results of cognitive and functional assessments be designed and implemented.
Keywords: Information technology, accessibility, differently-abled, adaptive hypermedia, informatics