CWUAAT is a Cambridge-based inter-disciplinary workshop on universal access and assistive technologies. I was presenting Representing Children Living with Visual Impairments in the Design Process: A case Study with Personae, based on the Accessimap Project.

So, first things first, Cambridge is a sunny city:


Recap and notes:

The conference started with a presentation on Intersectionality and web accessibility: how can subaltern studies help reframing and broadening accessibility? What are the parameters to take into account? How to deal with somewhat contradictory needs (for example between the accessibility current norms that might not be well implemented on old devices/softwares)? How to raise web-developers'/web-designers'/managers' sensitivity? Rena Bivens' essay on facebook misgendering users may also be discussed in this context: accessibility is not only a technical, but also a linguistic matter. One cannot feel well online when being misgendered.

I particularly liked N. Evans' presentation on A Cloack That Does Not Tell the Time, presenting a contextual and language based clock by Designability for people living with dementia and losing the sense of time.


Another presentation, Collecting Data for Inclusive Design: Emerging Tools and Methods by Weining Ning, discussed new means for designers to collect data. 3D scanner was proposed as a mean to capture anthropometric data. And the use of photography in field study by designers was a bit discussed, although the presentation did not investigate the type of knowledge thus built (which is highly discussed in anthropology).

In the poster session, Yonghun Lim presented his work aiming at defining the psychosocial dimensions that should be used in design.

Ann Heylighen's presentation on older residential care facilities highlighted the contradictions between current care practices and infrastructure / architecture. Through participant observations, issues with the existing infrastructures were identified (either quite functional, such as floor organization, or qualitative, like material and lightings). As such, she addresses psychosocial dimensions of dementia through architecture, building upon a value-sensitive approach to the built environment.

I've also discovered the Helen Hamlyn Centre, in London, and the Inclusive Design Research Centre in Tongji University, both conducting super interesting research on inclusive design and design for health.

There were various "impairments simulation" to try out. So I was cyborgized by one of them, aiming at having people experiencing dexterity impairment:


Raymond Holt's presentation was concerned with upper limb impairments, and proposed insights in how environmental factors (modified by inclusive design) may enable daily activities. To do so, he's developing other ways than anthropometric, static, measures, to evaluate dexterity abilities. He argues that prehensile control varies predictably as a function of object properties and individual differences, which could become an inclusive design tool.

Jim Mueller presented their longitudinal study of personas (over 12 years). How do you craft your personas so they can "live their own lives"? He presents personas as: snapshots of diverse population datas; Antidotes to denial, discomfort, assumptions; Models for teaching participatory design; Templates for recruiting user testers. He uses them with students, and they had a positive impact on the design process. He made the case for personas related to demographic data, with a background story evolving over the years. Students were encouraged to relate personas to their personal experience and to the people surrounding them with similar experiences.