The CARDIAC Project is a Coordination Action funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme which aims to improve the overall success of Challenge 7, ICT 2009 7.2 ‘Accessible and Assistive ICT’ by preparing research agenda roadmaps that highlight research priorities that will favour eAccessibility.
It aims to do this by looking into the wide range of issues that play a role in the availability of accessible and assistive ICT. The issues range from future research priorities, development and design aspects, right through to making the business case and the adoption or non-adoption of a particular technology or service.
In recent years, a large number of international projects had to address the need for guaranteeing accessibility and usability in Human Computer Interaction. To this end, a number of diverse approaches, methodologies and technologies have been proposed. Many research and development activities have been carried out on different aspects of accessibility of ICT equipment and services with an Assistive Technology (AT) approach, and more recently, the Design for All approach has been explored.
Positive results have been achieved combining both approaches. In particular, accessibility problems of specific groups of users have been addressed through AT based adaptations, and systematic Design for All approaches have been elaborated and applied in various domains at a research level.
Still, the field is currently in need of a breakthrough towards the adoption in practice of design approaches, based on the accumulated knowledge, leading to accessible and usable inclusive interfaces.
One of the main objectives of the CARDIAC project is to generate a roadmap identifying issues in the area of Inclusive Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research and development priorities. This roadmap will be a document outlining essential areas and subsequent types of research missing that could facilitate the development of inclusive HCI technologies.
The purpose of this document is to provide a background and context to the second Structured Dialogue Design Process (SDDP) co-laboratory of the CARDIAC Project which is scheduled for the 28th – 29th of June in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain. The purpose of this event is to generate a roadmap in response to the Triggering Question "What type of research is missing that could facilitate development of inclusive HCI".
When considering the various methodologies for generating roadmaps, the Structured Dialogic Design Process methodology was selected due to its robustness and efficiency in gathering the collective wisdom of a wide range of different stakeholders. The SDDP methodology supports democratic and structured dialogue among a group of stakeholders and is especially effective in resolving multiple conflicts of purpose and values, and in generating consensus on organizational and inter-organizational strategy. A full description of the methodology and how exactly the methodology will guide the process of generating a roadmap is presented in a separate document.

Scope of the SDDP in Inclusive Human-Machine Interaction

Several research activities in the field of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) focus on more user involvement in the design process. The ISO standard 13407 Human-centred design process for interactive systems provides guidance on human-centred design activities throughout the life cycle of interactive computer-based systems. However also other research methods are available, for instance participatory and co-design. These approaches have in common that they all express the belief that all people have something to offer to the design process.
Moreover, adaptivity/intelligence on the one hand, and the analysis of the implications, from an eAccessibility perspective, of the emerging Ambient Intelligence (AmI) paradigm (with a clear orientation to creating "natural" interfaces) on the other, are becoming increasingly important aspects. The main difficulty lies in understanding and utilising the whole range of possibilities for inclusive Human-Computer Interaction.
Therefore, it seems necessary to propose a road-map towards achieving inclusive HCI based on the accumulated experience by diverse European actors. This could be addressed through a network of multidisciplinary experts, who can bring in their expertise in the different aspects of the issues involved, as well as propose solutions, in order to elaborate a balanced model incorporating different approaches.

Accessible Human-Machine interaction and Assistive Technology

According to the Wikipedia[[#_ftn1|[1]]], Assistive technology or adaptive technology (AT) is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to or changed methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish such tasks. Likewise, disability advocates point out that technology is often created without regard to people with disabilities, creating unnecessary barriers to hundreds of millions of people. Even the makers of AT technologies will often still argue that universal design is preferable to the need for AT and that universal design projects and concepts should be continuously expanded.
People with disabilities usually need assistive devices and programs that have been specifically designed to cover their needs taking into account their capabilities. These devices (e.g. Braille lines) are frequently used to access services or other devices (e.g. computers) that have not being specifically designed for them. The later also have to be designed in a way that does not impose extra barriers to people with disabilities.
Therefore, it is crucial to determine what are the technologies, methodologies and tools that allow the design of accessible and inclusive human interaction systems. These accessibility procedures must be applied to the design of both assistive technologies and main stream technologies in order to avoid any type of barrier or exclusion.

The human factor

The most distinctive characteristic of the accessible human-machine interaction is the critical importance of the human. Systems designed without taking into account the characteristics, needs, interests, likes, behaviours, etc, of the users are bound to the failure. Unfortunately, generally interaction technologies are designed for the mythical “normal user” ignoring the huge human diversity. One of the reasons is the lack of suitable methodologies and tools to include the users in the whole process of design and development. For this reason, CARDIAC aims to propose a road map on inclusive and accessible human-machine technologies, methodologies and tools that are rooted and centred in the users.