What role can technology play in inclusive design, if any?
Miranda BCathy Wissink: When we build things how do we make sure that tent is big enough that we can include a lot of people and what are the benefits
Aaron MWhat are some of the benifits in making sure everyone is included?
Ben Wilson, Museum of Science. Web, mobile, AV. Museum of science has a long history of thinking about a universal design. experiences that benefit their entire audience. Can we add audio and tactile experiences for visitors. Inclusivity is a core part of their DNA. Do extensive visitor testing, iterative, and through a prototyping process. include people with an enormous variety of abilities throughout it. Include blind, hearing impaired. Multi mobile and multi sensory experiences.
Chief digital officer, city of boston.
Audience is everybody. Enormous implications for the city of boston and think about inclusivity very broadly.
think about access for people with various disabilities, but also think about the reading level of the website. the national average is 6th grade, but the boston website is at 11th grade or a graduate level reading level.
also thinking about which devises are accessing the webpage. Low income people are predominatly using mobile. The price per MB of loading a complicated webpage. You need the website to be cheap and accessible
Laura, Business Manager at Microsoft
Inclusive hiring arm at Microsoft. Autism hiring program. hugely succesful program.
Laura is on the customer support arm to support consumers who are using Microsoft products at home who have disabilities.
Also supporting Microsoft's enterprise arm who need to meet standards for accessibility. e.g. need to hire people who have visual impairments.
Finding that some of the prodcuts need some work and are being very transparent about it. Are very engaged in getting feedback from consumers. Building new products like a screenbox navigator for visually impaired. Working to ensure that Windows 10 is easily used.
Inclusive design, is really about building from the edge
Mary Martin, rising Junior at Olin College
Working in the accesibility and design space
Need to get people to tell you their stories to understand their prespective and so that your process is inclusive.
how do we maximize the availabilty of a given product to everyone who uses it.
Founder of code for Boston
Need to make sure that the right people are at the table when we are doing a build.
'You are designing for everybody'. Everything needs to work on multiple devises, formats, even data plans.
Cathy: What are some of the challenges in this space? What are the greatest challenges in designing for Everyone
Harlan: trying to build an organization that works with government and community groups. Many of the volunteers come from the technology community in Boston. The group wants to tackle the hard problems, but because of who is at the table, they don't neccisarily experience those problems. "For a straight white dude, it's challenging".
Partnered with resilient coders at the Roxbury innovation center.
technosolutionism is no good
Laura: Microsoft needs to have a change in mindset. 10, 15 years ago we weren't where we need to be in the accesibility mindset. changing it for the development teams, but also the sales and support teams. Need to understand the audience who you are speaking to.
Shift that Microsoft's CEO is really driving accessiblity. products need to be both accessible and inclusive. Not everyone is using microsoft's software the same way.
Lauren: It's very difficult to reach audiences that don't use Boston's website. Have been spending time on the Boston 311 center. Working with groups like 'tech goes home' which are communities with limited access to technology. "how do we reach the grandmother in dorchester who needs access to a service".
Ben: trying to facilitate expereinces that can take 15 seconds. a lot of the traditional supports, someone needs to learn how to use a particular intrface. It's a challenge to come up with a solution that is immediately accessible.
it's expensive to design for motimodel resources.
Cathy: All of these organizations, with the exception of Microsoft, are operating in a resource constrained way. Inclusivity takes additional time. How do we convince people to do it. How do you convince constituens?
Laura: Micrsofot's resource constraint is time. in the past, microsoft had a three year development cycle. Sometimes accesbility features were left out. The upfront cost of hours makes it 100x easier to make sure it satisfies everybody.
Over the last several years, There has been a cultural mindset to include everybody. We are challenging developers to use Microsoft's screenreader and turn their monitor off to see how they can write an email.
Inclusion is in Microsoft's mission statement. The people at the margins is getting larger and larger.
Lauren: Other organizations are not constrained by the same ROI metrics. Designing hasn't occured to people at city hall in the past. now, the RFP process is making sure that inclusivity is part of the process. making design for inclusivity is systematic.
Harlen: was an innovation fellow at the commonwealth before his current role. Accessibility is better when it's built in. Made a great looking contemporary website with flat buttons, but elderly individuals didn't know what to do with it. went back and changed the design, and later had almost a 100% completion rate. 'really hard, it's a huge pain, and absolutely the most worthwhile thing you can do'.
Mary: disability aids can be extremely costly. worked with a woman to create custom solutions for a quadruple amputee. was more effective than creating a fancy gadget. https://ablersite.org
Harlen: another good motivator is also shame. It's a hugely emotionally bad experience to let your users down.
Lauren: it's helpful to find the people building something are physically in the room with the user. Make sure that they are in the room--by co-testing you see the mistakes.
Ben: Have an inhouse research and evalution team. have a lot of data to evaluate if we are making hte product better for everyone.
Cathy: If you had advice for people entering this space, what advice would you give them
Ben: observe directly
Lauren: leave the building
Harlen: live it.
QUESTION Margarita Barios Ponce (Northeastern)
: For the City of Boston: How do we create the word of mouth environment that makes a city work? How do we recreate the word of mouth environment.
City hall to go. Mobile city hall. goes to where users are. Need to meet users where they are. Can do a better job of humanizing the digital experience. It feels like people are interacting with a robot. the more that we can be conversation and warm, the more people feel a human connection with someone who is being reasonable and sensible.
Harlen: Need to have assurance that government services will be there. Need to make the interaction human.
QUESTION Professor Alper (northeastern): interested in cultural accessiblity. thinking about strengths of designing with people who have a disability.
Mary: works with professor Sarah Hendren (website: https://ablersite.org, check it out!) engineeringathome.org project for accessible solutions in someone's own home. Worked to create an accessible cycling for people who have a disability.
class called user oriented collaborative design. working with coaching and athletes to provide coaching solutions that are actually useful instead of engineering within a bubble.
Laura: autism hiring program has been hugely succesful. Cheif accessibility officer is deaf. bring the sense of bringing people into whatever team that might be. Hired someone who is a jaws user. get the best product when you get people in those positions. Ensures that we bring people into the building or leave the building in a different way to get a wider perspective at the edges.(Autism hiring program started in US, now UK, native ASL speakers on helpline)
QUESTION: Marcy: has been working on making systems more accountable to the public interest. Cities have multiple sources of power. when considering collaborative design, how do we work with institutions that are part of civic society in Boston. E.g. churches, Islamic community, libraries. what about intermediary institutions that are part of your user universe.
Lauren: people have a deep skepticism about government. Always looking for ideas for other places to collaborate. We're a small team and are always looking for ways to collaborate.
Harlen: almost exclusively works through collaborating with people. Building applications in partnership with community groups is something that we do almost exclusively. working with groups in sommerville, other parts of the city.
QUESTION: Lisa, web designer at a big state university in MA. what are the favorite models of existing sites that meet inclusivity models.
Lauren: has been a big focus on better digital tools ince healthcare.gov fiasco. therea are a lo9t of places that are doing better. in the UK, Phili and the VA are doing this really well. are starting with just a user flow and no design. are then doing it iterively. launched an alpha and made changes every two weeks. city of boston is just copying that model. are adding a new aspect of it each month. iterative development is what's really important.http://pa11y.org
Laura: Microsoft is working on this.
Microsoft has thousands of websites. Working to make them all accessible.
pa11y has a plug and play dashboard to see if your website is meeting the requirements.
Steve from Office of New Urban Mechanics - improving narratives for communicating w/ citizens
How to Solve a Social Problem
Awareness & Education
Kahn's 3 types of citizen:
personally responsible - aware that there is a problem "donates to food bank"
participatory - more actively serve "organizes a food drive"
justice oriented - citizen engages in policy "why are people hungry in the first place"
society needs all types of citizens, but justice-oriented citizens are most difficult & rarest
America ranked 139th out of 172 participatory democracies when it comes to our voting rates
Generation Citizen works to ensure that every student in the US receives an effective action civics education, which provides them with the knowledge and skills necessary to become engaged in civic life.
The Advocacy Hourglass:
It takes a lot of research to figure out opportunities & develop advocacy
Generation Citizen is oriented toward policy, so solutions will be government-based
A general timeline of the Generation Citizen Classroom:
Focus Issue > Policy-Level Solution > Advocacy Hourglass > Real Action > students gain skills, knowledge & experience in civic engagement
How can civic media help...
students understand the issues facing their community
understand the systems related to their issues
understand possible policies to address a systemic root cause
what have other states/munis done
what are groups advocating for
what gov't leaders are involved in this policy and how can we reach them
convince our decision-makers or mobilize larger groups
Civic Tech Challenge
Farm.fathom.info: Commercial Farming and Civic Tech (Fathom Information Design)- Mark Schiffer