Evaluating technologies with and for visually impaired people

30 years of evaluating innovative accessible or assistive technology in Human-Computer Interaction research and how we could do better

Quantitative, if possible experimental, studies and evaluations are central in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and to motivate policy initiatives. Yet, few technologies for children with visual impairments have been evaluated this way in education research; it is also an issue in research on technology for locomotion and mobility. Even if they were evaluated: the current replication crisis calls for revisiting our practices, and standards for quantitative evaluations have changed through time. We set to investigate how quantitative empirical evaluations of technology for visually impaired people are conducted in papers published by top HCI venues in this area (CHI, Tochi, Assets, Taccess), and to identify areas of improvements. We suggest that single subject experiment designs might be more adequate with this group. We also outline practical steps for authors and reviewers to improve their evaluation practices.

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Micro-ethics in Participatory Design with Children

A summary of our recent work on ethics in Participatory design with Katta Spiel.

There has been quite some interest in micro-ethics in (participatory) design in the recent years. By micro-ethics, I refer to research on ethics focusing on situated moral judgements and decisions – by contrast to, for instance, rights or moral principles, and procedural ethics approaches. In computer sciences and engineering, previous research on micro-ethics has focused « individuals and the internal relations of the engineering profession, » and the risks they embed in products. We are, in this article, outlining ethical challenges in participatory design with children and calling for this type of case studies to be used in the training of new researchers and outline research themes in this area that could be developed.

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Curious and Dangerous: Participatory Design Research and Identities

A summary of a recent article, co-authored with Dr Katta Spiel.

We, design practitioners and researchers, care a lot about our participants’ identity. We invite them to participate because they belong to a group – a company, a classroom, a labor union, a community. Or because of one of their characteristics – they are children or they are over 60s. We try bringing to the fore marginalised point of views. We care about how our participants enact their identity through materials and crafts. We are attentive to our roles in the participatory design activities, mirroring our attention to the roles taken by children or adult participants. We rarely, however, describe our characteristics as researchers and designers and how they affect this process. Nor do we examine how participants may reject the very characteristics or identity labels that led us to invite them to participate.

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