Design in the Public Square: Supporting Cooperative Assistive Technology Design Through Public Mixed-Ability Collaboration (CSCW 2019)
Mark. S. Baldwin, Sen H Hirano, Jennifer Mankoff, Gillian Hayes
From the white cane to the smartphone, technology has been an effective tool for broadening blind and low vision participation in a sighted world. In the face of this increased participation, individuals with visual impairments remain on the periphery of most sight-first activities. In this paper, we describe a multi-month public-facing co-design engagement with an organization that supports blind and low vision outrigger paddling. Using a mixed-ability design team, we developed an inexpensive cooperative outrigger paddling system, called DEVICE, that shares control between sighted and visually impaired paddlers. The results suggest that public design, a DIY (do-it-yourself) stance, and attentiveness to shared physical experiences, represent key strategies for creating assistive technologies that support shared experiences.