9 November 2013

All technology is assistive technology

Be the first to share

All technology is assistive technology, argues Sara Hendren in a long and very insightful article.

“Honestly – what technology are you using that’s not assistive? Your smartphone? Your eyeglasses? Headphones? And those three examples alone are assisting you in multiple registers: They’re enabling or augmenting a sensory experience, say, or providing navigational information. But they’re also allowing you to decide whether to be available for approach in public, or not; to check out or in on a conversation or meeting in a bunch of subtle ways; to identify, by your choice of brand or look, with one culture group and not another.” […]

“Undoing the distinctions between design for disability and design in general yields a couple of goods: It brings new attention to technologies that are profound in their use and impact on physical and political accessibility. The advanced replacement limbs, all-terrain wheelchairs, and exoskeletons you can find now are evidence of this new attention.

It also brings a productive uncertainty and a powerful friction to the task of designing technologies of all kinds. Whether you’re designing for an established need or seeking an application for a technical novelty, you might take more time before confidently assigning it to a user, or to over-determining its modes of deployment—it might be for practical ends, or for play, or for something else you’ve not yet imagined.”

The author then goes on to suggest some possible dispositions for designers and artists taking a look at ability and disability:
1. Question invisibility as the assumed goal.
2. Rethink the default bodily experience.
3. Consider fine gradations of qualitative change.
4. Uncouple medical technologies from their diagnostic contexts.
5. Design for one.
6. Let the tools you make ask questions, not just solve problems.

Be the first to share
16 April 2015
Essay Collection: Designing Democracy
Designing Democracy: How designers are changing democratic spaces and processes An inquiry by the UK Design Commission March 2015 Abstract Featuring essays from leading designers, MPs and policymakers, 'Designing Democracy' asks what contribution design could make to improving both …
24 March 2015
Presentations online of IEA energy efficiency behaviour workshop
The 11th and 12th of March, the International Energy Agency [IEA] in Paris hosted a workshop on energy efficiency and behaviour in the buildings sector. The goal of this workshop was for representatives from IEA …
18 March 2015
The considerations and limitations of feedback as a strategy for behaviour change
The considerations and limitations of feedback as a strategy for behaviour change Garrath T. Wilsona, Tracy Bhamraa & Debra Lilleya, Loughborough Design School, Loughborough, UK Published online: 12 Mar 2015 - Taylor & Francis Design for Sustainable Behaviour …
16 March 2015
Workshop_40/Wild energies: wind, fire and people in movement
For those in Torino: Workshop_40/Wild energies: wind, fire and people in movement Conducted by Marguerite Kahrl e Marjetica Potrč Friday, March 20 3.30 - 5.30, meeting with stakeholders Saturday, March 21 10.00 - 4.00, Participatory design in groups In …
5 March 2015
Is it time to re-examine human-centered design?
Is it time to re-examine our anthropocentrism in design, asks ASU design professor Prasad Boradkar and to extend design's locus of action towards biocentrism. "Clearly, the things we design with such diligent research and utmost care …
2 March 2015
Ethnographic film and book on people living off the grid
Life Off Grid is a two-year journey exploring the lives of Canadians in every province and territory who have made the choice to disconnect. Life Off Grid is a film and book about people who …
1 March 2015
Towards multi-species ethnography
The well known anthropologist and sociologist Anne Galloway just announced the launch of the More-Than-Human Lab at Victoria University (New Zealand), which extends and augments human-centered design practices to our multi-species ecosystems. "What if we refuse …
11 February 2015
The Internet of Insecure Things
In a recent study, every connected home security system tested by HP contained significant vulnerabilities, including but not limited to password security, encryption, and authentication issues. HP's Fortify on Demand security service assessed the top 10 …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

See all articles