Prosperity4All will address its challenges through high level innovative strategies that will help us achieve the P4A objectives.
1. Introduce a holistic approach to inclusive design
Rather than being focused on a particular sector or component or technology, this proposal is focused on the creation of an infrastructure as a whole. It does not focus just on supply, or on demand, or on a product or a technology or a technique. Instead it focuses on creating the infrastructure for a system that can bring together the research, development, commercial transfer, service delivery, support, dissemination, and marketing etc. aspects, all of which must be in place and work together to address this problem.
2. Introduce a technology‐enhanced crowdsourcing and gaming principles in inclusive design
We see crowdsourcing and gaming principles not only as powerful new tools, but essential components in any new ecosystem for this area. In the proposed infrastructure they are used in many ways including: to engage new contributors; to enable new ways to collaborate; as a mechanism to draw in new scientists to focus on very specific barriers; and as ways of better tapping the talents of professors and students in our universities as well as our lead clinicians and other service delivery personnel. We intend to incorporate gaming principles not to create game like interfaces, but within the overall design of the infrastructure and its individual components to encourage participation and collaboration by a) creating tasks that match the interests and skill levels of different types of participants (clinical to scientific), b) chunking down the tasks to the point where they are small enough to “try” even if a person isn’t sure they can succeed, and also small enough that if they fail they have not invested so much that they won’t try again, and c) fostering an environment where the participant gets immediate feedback about their performance, and where failures might occur but are mixed with frequent success and rewards to encourage adventure, innovation, experimentation, and challenge. These principles are also key to growing and diversifying the community needed to develop and deliver these new solutions. In Prosperity4All one can see crowdsourcing and gaming principles applied throughout, from researcher through to clinical and consumer involvement.
3. Create a service‐based infrastructure for inclusive design
We will be introducing and building all of the key infrastructure components for a service‐based (versus product‐based or device based) ecosystem to augment the current product based system. A marketplace and micropayment infrastructure will be constructed that can support not only the “leasing” of traditional assistive technologies but also selling or leasing of “features” and “enhancement”, as well as document and media transformation and Assistance on Demand services of all types. This new service infrastructure has profound implications both for the future of AT and for a diverse new field of ‘assistive services’ that can both serve and employ less technically oriented users and providers (organizations and individuals).
4. Promote a prosperity‐based ecosystem for inclusive design
The entire infrastructure will be designed to identify and address the issues needed by each of the key players in the development‐delivery‐support system. SP1 will start by identifying what the needs for each of these players is. These will then be used to shape all of the other activities involved in creating the infrastructure for the ecosystem so that the business case or value proposition for each stakeholder can be met. Where these needs cannot be met by the infrastructure, they will be identified including which other players or forces are needed to provide these components. This approach is in sharp contrast with the usual “social value” or “technology” based approaches of the past.
We see this focus on prosperity/business cases/value propositions (rather than the traditional focus on just social justice and human rights) as being a critical component to any successful ecosystem. Social justice and human rights might help drive policy and perhaps even service funding, but if policy and service funding do not translate into business cases or value propositions, nothing will happen that actually impacts users in terms of new or better solutions.
5. Create a system for comprehensive developer support
A significant part of the project (i.e. a major part of its second subproject SP2) is focused on providing comprehensive support to developers to make it easier and less expensive for them to develop solutions and to enhance the market reach and penetration of their products. This includes support both for assistive technology vendors and for mainstream product companies. It includes provision of background and starter information so that AT and mainstream developers have access to consumer‐based needs, as well as information on all existing assistive technologies and access features of other products like there’s. It includes both open source and commercial components that they can use to construct solutions (both standard components and special components such as head and body control interfaces, braille translations, web app components, universal remote console sockets etc.). It provides frameworks and tools as well as team support from consumers. It includes a new approach for the mainstream design of web applications that combines the concept of an interface socket or API coupled with an Individual User Interface Generator (IUIG) to allow mainstream vendors to create highly flexible interfaces that can address a wide range of disability, literacy, digital literacy, and aging related barriers without the mainstream vendors having to understand any of these. And it provides tools and components to make it easier to create assistive technology as a service, to tie into the proposed assistive‐service infrastructures, and to incorporate the Cloud4all/GPII auto‐ personalization from user‐preference capability in their products.
6. Create mechanisms that promote consumer‐developer connections
The development of and integration throughout the infrastructure of closer consumer–developer connections is intended to help shift the field from a “push” market (where features are determined by developers and then offered to consumers) toward more of an “Pull” market (where the features that are offered are the result of consumer need and direction). To accomplish this we will be introducing mechanisms throughout the infrastructure to allow consumers to provide a) “feedback” on existing products and features, b) “feed‐peer” to allow consumers to communicate the best information on successful solutions to each other as well as strategies for using existing solutions better and in new ways and c) “feedforward” mechanisms to affect the design of future or currently ‘in‐design’ projects. In addition, mechanisms are provided to allow vendors and developers to more closely incorporate consumers in their development process, from identifying new approaches and features, to evaluating ideas, to shaping development, carrying out testing on prototypes, etc. to push development back toward users. In Prosperity4All ecosystem, users will have the chance to identify a desired service and issue donations (through the Prosperity4All micropayment system). Once donations and bids reach critical thresholds, the creation of the service will be possible, even allowing from contest‐based decisions on the entity to build the service.
In addition to the participation of consumers in development (discussed above) we are also tapping recent developments in visual/non‐visual model based programming to create tools that would allow technically oriented (but nonprogrammer) professionals and consumers to be able to fit, modify, or design (depending on their skills) assistive technologies to meet the needs of themselves or other clients/individuals.
7. Develop new mechanisms to expand market reach and penetration (for vendors and service providers):
This includes everything from tools to facilitate localization to other languages, to guidelines for creating products that are acceptable to and support different cultures, to the Unified Listing that will allow them to better reach dispersed user bases and international audiences. The Unified Listing will be expanded from the federated assistive‐ technology database in Cloud4all to one that also includes access features in mainstream ICT, providing enhanced motivation and reach for these products and features as well.
8. Develop targeted mechanisms to engage new players, with new skills, and to develop an expanded solution providers base
In addition to the modularization and other crowdsourcing/ gamification efforts discussed in number two above, the infrastructure will build additional specific mechanisms to reach out to specialists and others who may be able to address specific technical issues such as the use of advanced machine vision to facilitate complex document access, language translation to facilitate internationalization, semantic modeling to facilitate interface transformation etc. We will also be exploring the use of the same visual/non‐visual model based programming technologies used to push interface development out toward consumers to provide the tools that could be used to explore the introduction of accessibility, and assistive technologies, to early primary education students as a way of both introducing the concepts of accessibility and (through allowing them to create assistive technologies for the example users with disabilities) allow them to discover that they can design, create, and shape technologies to address human/social issues. This might be especially helpful in engaging those individuals who would later be dissuaded from exploring these areas (technology and programming) by social pressures as they grow older.
9. Develop new mechanisms to target the tails, and the tails of the tails
A key theme throughout the proposal is creating an infrastructure that allows these stakeholders to move beyond the “mainstream disabilities” and to be able to function profitably and successfully in the tails. This goes beyond research and through to delivery, and the ability to provide cost‐effective and effective delivery to the tails and the tails of the tails. In particular the proposal is concerned about individuals with cognitive, language, and learning disabilities as well as those facing barriers due to digital literacy. Guidelines, components, and frameworks to facilitate the development and delivery of solutions for this group are included in the proposed infrastructure. In addition the proposed infrastructure provides for a robust Assistance on Demand infrastructure to allow people and organization to develop and deploy a wide range of personal and commercial Assistance on Demand services to address those that cannot be easily addressed through technology. Of particular interest is the proposed very user‐friendly “do‐it‐ yourself” Assistance on Demand infrastructure tool that could allow an individual to create a personal Assistance on Demand support system for someone in their family, even when they cannot afford a commercial service. Another important building block to successfully target the tails and the tails of the tails is the Unified Listing and Marketplace (WP 201). They will make it easier for consumers with orphaned needs to find unique, small market AT. On the other hand, new and small vendors will be supported in reaching thin markets and thus, allowed successful sales to the tails. Finally, the sales of small market AT will be increased by the outcomes of SP 2: Their creation and their marketing and selling will be made profitable enough by dedicated developer tools and the Unified Listing/Marketplace.
10. Integrate an open economic/fiscal platform into the ecosystem to broaden participation
Another theme in the work packages is the integration of different infrastructure elements to facilitate a broader participation in the ecosystem by smaller entities and even individuals. This includes a micropayment system to a) allow developers of any size (including individuals) to be able to easily market products or even individual features internationally and have the finances/conversions etc. handled automatically for them, to allow Assistance on Demand services including micro‐Assistance on Demand (for as little as 30 seconds), and b) allow micro‐financing (e.g. many users each contribute a small amount to finance future, capability or technology, ala Kickstarter) etc. The infrastructure also includes an Open Marketplace to make it easy for smaller companies that cannot provide their own international marketing to be able to offer their products in a place that can be easily found, that provides international exposure, and that is tied to the new tools being developed to allow users to find solutions that match their particular needs and preferences. The Assistance on Demand infrastructure will also allow anyone, in any country, to set up a service without having to build an infrastructure. It would allow them to provide, and market, any type of Assistance on Demand, in any language, and in a form that is appropriate to local culture and economic scales, by simply providing their service over the Prosperity4All/GPII Assistance on Demand infrastructure.
11. Integrate an innovative cascading hybrid technology and human service delivery approach into the ecosystem
As noted above there are some groups, (particularly those involving cognitive, digital literacy, or aging related barriers) where what we can do today through technology alone is limited. However where technology could meet part of the needs it is often not employed because it cannot be relied upon – and when it fails it can leave the user stranded and unable to cope. By combining technology and human services in a “try harder” cascading approach it may be possible to have individuals use technology‐based solutions that are backed up by human assistance. This would both to help researchers and consumers gain experience with these technology‐based solutions in the field and lower costs by using technology were works and humans only where it does not. To help researchers and practitioners to explore this approach more, we will be building this capability into the infrastructure.
12. Design for diversity across all dimensions
The system needs to be designed tools that will match real life. They must work across platforms, across conditions, in all domains of life, for all cultures etc. This is quite different than ordinary access product design. We address this from the most basic architectural aspects (modular, platform independent of arch, auto‐personalization from user needs and preferences – and also from environmental and
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even user affect) to the tools and resources (localization tools, cross cultural guidelines) and through the components and systems.
13. Focus on a diverse set of strategies for both assistive technology vendors and mainstream vendors
Necessary in order to better address both the diversity of user needs and the spectrum of constraints that different vendors encounter; different constraints that are encountered even in the same company for different products or applications.