The GPII Needs and Preferences Discovery Aid
The NP Discovery Aid will be an on-line tool that helps users identify changes to interfaces, or alternate interfaces, that would make ICT and electronic materials of all types easier/possible for them to use.
Individuals can work with professionals, or, if expert help is not available, use the NP Discovery Aid themselves. The Discovery Aid will guide the user through a set of interesting exercises and ask them questions that will allow the NP Discovery Aid to detect problems and test different options for presentation and control. From this information the NP Discovery Aid will generate a user preference profile that can be used both to adjust features on products and to identify assistive technologies that might be of benefit to the user.
Other GPII components that would make use of the preference profiles include:
- Needs, Preference & Permission Storage System – would store this profile and serve it to products and systems along with specific device and AT preferences, settings and permissions.
- Shopping Aid - can use the preferences to list available access features and products that may be of use to them.
- Auto-Personalization Infrastucuture - uses the settings to change the interface of devices and materials to fit the user.
Key to most of the functionality of the GPII (and the access features and technologies to be delivered through it) is understanding which types of adaptations are appropriate for a given user -- and what the settings for that adaptation should be for that user. Without this information it isn't even possible to get the device(s) set up sufficiently that a user could make further adjustments. Most people do not have any mechanism to find out what they would need. Professional evaluations are best, but many people cannot afford one -- or there simply isn't anyone available in their area to do an evaluation.
Also - a key to adoption of access features by elders and others depends on their being treated as usability features or extended-usability features rather than disability access features. Formal evaluations make many people feel like they are broken - rather than just needing some adjustments to their interfaces to make them easier to use.
The goal is to make the evaluation tool something that anyone might use to figure out how to make interfaces fit their needs and preferences.
Bringing together the work of many
The NP Discovery Aid will draw from, and build on, the work that has already been done by different teams to create tools for specific disabilities or platforms. The Discovery Aid will be cross-disability and cross-platform, and will be open source so that others may build on, extend, improve, or offer alternative mechanisms or services for creating preference profiles.
It will also be possible to combine the results of the general NP Discovery Aid with the output of wizards that are designed for specific platforms. For example, if a particular platform or technology has a wizard that is effective at determining the setting for its platform, the output of that wizard could be captured in the standard format and used to inform the GPII’s more general NP Discovery Aid. Later - when users are on that platform - the platform specific settings will be brought forward and used.