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Cognitive Accessibility for Mentally Disabled Persons
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Media Technology and Interaction Design, MID.
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Media Technology and Interaction Design, MID.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2411-6417
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Media Technology and Interaction Design, MID.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4200-6385
2015 (English)In: Human–Computer Interaction, Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2015, 418-435 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The emergence of various digital channels, the development of different devices and the change in the way we communicate and carry out various types of services have quickly grown and continues to grow. This may offer both new opportunities for inclusion and risks for creating new barriers in the society. In a recent study we have explored the questions: Is the society digitally accessible for persons with mental disabilities? How do persons with mental disabilities cope with their situation? What are the benefits and obstacles they face? Based on the answers to these questions we wanted to explore if there is a digital divide between the citizens in general and the citizens with mental disabilities. And if so; what is the nature of this divide? Methods used in the study were Participatory action research oriented with data collection via research circles. In total over 100 persons participated. The results show that a digital divide is present. Persons with mental disabilities differ from citizens in general in how they have access to digital resources. The result also indicates that services and systems on a societal scale do not deliver the expected efficiency when it comes to supporting citizens with mental disabilities. And finally the results indicate that the special needs this group might have are often not identified in wider surveys on the citizen's use of Internet, digital services and use of different technical devices. Several of the participants describe this as being left outside and not fully participate in a society where digital presence is considered a prerequisite for a full citizenship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2015. 418-435 p.
, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, ISSN 0302-9743 ; 9296
Keyword [en]
Mental disability, Mental problems, Cognitive accessibility, Digital society, Inclusion
National Category
Computer Science Robotics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-177433DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-22701-6_31ISI: 000363681800031ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84945531079ISBN: 978-3-319-22701-6ISBN: 978-3-319-22700-9OAI: diva2:872852
15th IFIP TC.13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (INTERACT), SEP 14-18, 2015, Bamberg, GERMANY

QC 20151120

Available from: 2015-11-20 Created: 2015-11-20 Last updated: 2016-03-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards a framework to understand mental and cognitive accessibility in a digital context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards a framework to understand mental and cognitive accessibility in a digital context
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This digitalization has in many ways contributed to greater inclusion but access to the digital community is not evenly distributed in the population, and we can see that groups of citizens do not feel involved in the transition to a digitalized society, or are not involved as much as they would actually like.

The purpose of this thesis is to discuss how designers and developers to a greater extent can be able to take account of accessibility requirements for people with mental and cognitive impairments. The discussion is based on the study “Pilot study on accessibility of electronic communications for persons with mental disabilities”, literature reviews and my experience from almost 25 years of work in the field.

The design and development processes I primarily want to highlight are those that produce digital products and services in what we call the mainstream.  Mainstream is the society in which we act as citizens have rights and duties, and where we should be able to realize our dreams, wishes and needs, where we find friends, family, education, livelihood and meaningfulness in the activities and the tasks we perform.

The persons who participated in the study describe situations where:

  • Design and development processes often fail to meet the need for cognitive simplicity.
  • Many in themselves relatively simple functions, processes and activities can, used together create new and unknown difficulties.
  • Support processes malfunction.
  • Knowledge of user requirements is missing or does not reach out to the people and the processes where this knowledge would be useful.

The people also describes that they are never involved in the design- and development processes, and that the knowledge and experience they possess is not being utilized.

There is a need for a transfer of knowledge from the areas that produce knowledge today (rehabilitation, assistive technology, special solutions) to the mainstream. There is a need to explore and describe the knowledge and experience persons with mental and cognitive disabilities possesses. There is a need to work closely with persons who have mental and cognitive disabilities directly in mainstream-solutions in order to improve the digital society. Methods seem to be further developed on how to do this cooperation, in research, in innovation and in ordinary societal processes.

The thesis presents a proposed framework for the design and development processes to be able to meet accessibility requirements for persons with mental and cognitive disabilities.

Abstract [sv]

Digitaliseringen har på många sätt bidragit till ökad inkludering, men tillgången till det digitala samhället är inte jämnt fördelat i befolkningen. Vi kan se grupper av medborgare som inte känner sig delaktiga i övergången till ett digitaliserat samhälle, eller som kanske är med fast inte lika mycket som alla andra och inte lika mycket som de egentligen skulle vilja.

Avhandlingens syfte är att med utgångspunkt från studien ”Pilotstudie om tillgänglighet till elektronisk kommunikation för personer med psykiska funktionsnedsättningar”, aktuella litteraturöversikter och snart 25 års arbete på fältet diskutera hur designers och utvecklare i högre utsträckning ska kunna beakta krav på tillgänglighet för personer med psykiska och kognitiva funktionsnedsättningar.

De design- och utvecklingsprocesser jag i första hand är intresserad av att belysa är sådana som producerar digitala produkter och tjänster inom det vi kallar mainstream, det samhälle där vi agerar som samhällsmedborgare har skyldigheter och rättigheter och där vi efter bästa förmåga ska kunna förverkliga våra drömmar, önskemål och behov. Där vi hittar vänner, familj, utbildning, försörjning och meningsfullhet i de aktiviteter och de sysslor vi utför.

De personer som medverkat i studien beskriver situationer där:

  • Design- och utvecklingsprocesser ofta misslyckas med att tillgodose behov av kognitiv enkelhet
  • Många i sig relativt enkla processer och aktiviteter skapar sammantaget nya och okända svårigheter
  • Stödprocesser fungerar dåligt
  • Kunskap om användarnas behov saknas eller når inte ut till personer eller till processer där den skulle göra nytta

Personerna beskriver också att de i inte är delaktiga i design- och utvecklingsprocesser och att den kunskap och de erfarenheter de besitter inte tas tillvara.

Det finns behov av en överföring av kunskap från de områden som producerar sådan idag (rehabilitering, hjälpmedel, särlösningar) till mainstream. Det finns behov av att utforska och beskriva den kunskap och erfarenhet som finns hos de berörda personerna och till sist finns behov av att direkt i mainstream-samhället och tillsammans med personer som har psykiska och kognitiva funktionsnedsättningar göra detta samhälle mer tillgängligt. Metoder för hur detta ska gå till förefaller behöva utvecklas. Det gäller särskilt metoder för hur personer med psykiska och kognitiva funktionsnedsättningar ska få inflytande över och vara delaktiga i design- och utvecklingsprocesser.

Avhandlingen presenterar ett förslag till ramverk för hur design- och utvecklingsprocesser bättre ska kunna möta kraven på tillgänglighet för personer med psykiska och kognitiva funktionsnedsättningar.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 61 p.
TRITA-CSC-A, ISSN 1653-5723 ; 16:02
Accessibility, cognitive, mental, disability, design, universal design
National Category
Interaction Technologies
Research subject
Human-computer Interaction
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-183168 (URN)978-91-7595-871-2 (ISBN)
2016-03-16, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

QC 20160303

Available from: 2016-03-03 Created: 2016-03-03 Last updated: 2016-03-07Bibliographically approved

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