Methods and technologies for accessibility and their evaluation

Course 2 entails a selection of 1-credit units focusing on different topics. The student is free to select a desired amount of units; yet, in order to complete the 20-credit module, a total of 10 units (i.e. 10 credits) need to be completed. 

Prior study requirements/recommendations: Course 1 is a prior requirement for those aiming to complete the entire 20-credit study module, and it is recommended for all Course 2 participants.

Modules

  1. Defining and discussing accessibility in society
  2. Picture communication
  3. Spoken interfaces
  4. Accessibility and user experience
  5. Visuals to text
  6. Social haptic communication
  7. Easy language
  8. Easy spoken interaction
  9. Speech to text (subtitling)
  10. Games, gamification, serious games and accessibility
  11. Haptics and gestures (gesture-based interfaces)
  12. Rehabilitation and assistive augmentation
  13. Audio description of art
  14. Entertainment and accessibility
  15. Speech and audio to text
  16. Web accessibility I (technical)
  17. Web accessibility II (content)
  18. Linguistic accessibility and machine translation
  19. Accessible AI
  20. Trends in accessibility research
  21. Accessible Documents

Module descriptions

  1. Defining and discussing accessibility in society (Tero Avellan)

The thematic module introduces the student to the definition of accessibility and discussion in society, but also to the role of disability legislation. People with disabilities are often excluded from the mainstream of society. Disabilities affect people’s lives in multiple ways, both as individuals and as part of society. Disability can also be either temporary or permanent, but accessibility is not just a temporary feature.

  1. Picture communication (Tero Avellan)

The thematic module introduces the student to aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) techniques such as the use of pictures or symbols. Lectures focus on strategies (such as PECS, first-then boards) and the use of different systems (such as ARASAAC, Mulberry or Sclera) in different situations. Technologies, culture and the environment are also briefly discussed.

  1. Spoken interfaces (Markku Turunen)

The thematic module covers the main principles of speech-based human-technology interaction, focusing on spoken interfaces which facilitate accessibility. This includes both speech output (e.g., spoken prompts for people with visual disabilities) and speech input (e.g., speech control for physically disabled personnel).

  1. Accessibility and user experience (Tuuli Keskinen, Sumita Sharma)

The module introduces the very basics of user experience evaluation in the context of human-technology interaction. Moreover, it will be described through concrete evaluation cases, how special characteristics of certain user groups may affect, and need to be taken into account in, the evaluation design. The examples will demonstrate field studies conducted with special user groups, such as individuals with developmental disabilities, visually impaired users, physically disabled users, and children.

  1. Visuals to text (Maija Hirvonen)

The course covers the basic principles and methods of translating visual information into text. Both human-led methods and automatic technologies are introduced, including audio/video description, automatic image/video captioning and alternative texts.

  1. Social haptic communication (Riitta Lahtinen)

The course gives an overview of social-haptic communication as a communication approach for people with sensory loss (visual impaired, hearing impaired, dual sensory impaired), other client groups (dementia, learning difficulties etc.) with friends, family and professionals.

  1. Easy language (Camilla Lindholm)

The module covers the area of linguistic and cognitive accessibility, with a specific focus on the area of easy language. This module introduces examples of easy-to-read adaptations of different types of texts.

  1. Easy spoken interaction (Camilla Lindholm)

The module provides an introduction to the area of easy spoken interaction, drawing on the principles of easy written language presented in module (7).

  1. Speech to text (subtitling) (Maija Hirvonen)

The module covers the basic principles and methods of translating speech to text. Both human-led methods and automatic technologies are introduced, including subtitling/captioning, print interpreting, speech recognition, re-speaking.

  1. Games, gamification, serious games and accessibility (Lobna Hassan, Biju Thankachan, Sumita Sharma)

The thematic module focuses on visual accessibility in games and VR experiences. It briefly introduces basics of visual accessibility, and some of the needs of individuals with different visual needs. Next, the lecture provides two main discussion points; 1. how most games are visually inaccessible, and how some mainstream games are accidentally accessible to large extent, and, 2. how games, and especially VR, experiences can be very valuable and allow access to life experiences that visually impaired individuals can’t easily access such as diving, mountain climbing, or even being a sniper in an army

  1. Haptics and gestures (gesture-based interfaces) (Sumita Sharma)

Technology overall, provides safe, controlled, predictable environment for individuals with developmental disabilities, and using gestures and haptic interaction allows input mechanisms that do not rely on traditional keyboards and mouse interfaces. In this module, several different applications of gestures-based and haptic interaction will be presented and the limitation and benefits of each will be discussed. Example applications will be a combination of those that are commercially available and those that are developed in various research projects across the world.

  1. Rehabilitation and assistive augmentation (Sumita Sharma)

In this module, we will look at different technologies for physical and motor rehabilitation, including exergames, virtual reality, gestures, robots, etc. Examples from research and current medical practices will be described, along with their benefits and limitations. Further, trends in assistive augmentation, e.g. technologies that enable us to enhance physical, sensorial, and cognitive capabilities, will be discussed

  1. Audiodescription of art (Anne Ketola)

The thematic module familiarizes the student with the audiodesciption (AD) of artistic products and venues of different kinds: art galleries, museums and theatre plays. The module introduces the production processes and the basic principles and guidelines for this type of AD and familiarizes the student with authentic examples of AD in museums around the world.

  1. Entertainment and accessibility (Sumita Sharma)

The module will introduce the requirements and considerations for accessible entertainment, including going to a theater or museum, and watching a movie. As a part of this module, students will watch an accessible movie on YouTube and share their experiences in a learning diary reflecting on the many considerations and elements required to make a movie accessible to a large audience, including subtitling, audio descriptions, lighting etc.

  1. Speech and audio to text (Maija Hirvonen)

The module covers the basic principles and methods of translating speech and audio to text. Both human-led methods and automatic technologies are introduced, including audio captioning, print interpreting, speech recognition, re-speaking.

  1. Web accessibility I (technical) (Biju Thankachan, Tero Avellan)

The thematic modules Web accessibility I and II introduces guidelines and other standards related to web accessibility, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The first module explains the web accessibility principles (POUR), but focuses on technical specifications, primarily explaining the WAI-ARIA, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications suite of web standards.

  1. Web accessibility II (content) (Biju Thankachan, Tero Avellan)

The thematic modules Web accessibility I and II introduces guidelines and other standards related to web accessibility, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The second module explains the web accessibility principles (POUR), but focuses on the content to make it readable and understandable, including requirements that address cognitive accessibility.

  1. Linguistic accessibility and machine translation (Mary Nurminen)

The module introduces the ways MT is being used today, specifically when it is used for ‘gisting’, or achieving an understanding of a text that is in a language a person does not speak themselves. The module will then focus on the various proposals and projects focused on using MT to promote linguistic accessibility.

  1. Accessible AI (Tero Avellan)

The thematic module briefly introduces the student to artificial intelligence (AI) and some of the ways in which AI is used to empower people with disabilities. Lectures focus on three cases; 1) communication and connection, 2) employment and 3) daily life. AI can empower people with disabilities, but there are also concerns about the diversity, inclusiveness, and accessibility of AI, which are also briefly addressed.

  1. Trends in accessibility research (Sumita Sharma)

From designing for disability, to designing for abilities and for augmenting human capabilities, this thematic module takes a broader look at the trends in research on accessibility with a focus on ideas, designs, prototypes, and products for the 21st century. The module will introduce ongoing research on Cyborgs, artificial limbs and augmentations, brain-computer interactions, AI, etc., through published research in HCI and accessibility, and other avenues. The module discusses how our understanding of human abilities is changing, and the different research trajectories from where we are today.

  1. Accessible Documents (Pauliina Baltzar)

During this module, the student will modify their own document (thesis, publication, course work…) to make it more accessible. The module teaches how to make documents accessible and what kind of methods are available. The module introduces for example how to make accessible tables, images, footnotes, and charts