The story of Human Access…

11/25/2013

bannerIt’s been a while since I last wrote on this blog and this post will partially explain soma reasons.

One of the things I learned from my few years in accessibility related research is that the needs of persons with disabilities are everybody’s needs. We just don’t usually get as annoyed as a person with a disability when for example we carry our baby on a stroller and there is no ramp to get into a building. most people can find a workaround. Persons with disabilities cannot! Or at least it takes more effort and time to do so. So providing solutions for accessibility in our everyday life does affect everybody’s lives. It can generally make our lives easier!

Another thing that fascinates me as a trend is the check in apps trend. People nowadays feel more comfortable than ever to share their presence on a specific place. Tha led services like Facebook checkins, Foursquare and Google places to posses a huge amount of geographical information of public points of interest. So, today you can go to a place you’ve never been before and people living there or passing by have already taken care of telling you what’s around the next corner and even more. They are telling where you can find the best food, what’s the offer of the day, and much more related information about any kind of place. There is only one thing missing. How easy is the access to that place. What if I am carrying a huge suitcase, or cannot see very well, or just had an accident and my mobility is limited. There is a huge amount of access-related information that’s missing. Information that ould make our everyday lives become so much easier!

… and that’s how Human Access came to life. At least the idea about it.

The actual Human Access app took a little bit longer. Some months of coding and we are now proud to present our first mobile app. A new Greek start-up company with a team of people full of enthusiasm for new technologies and innovative ideas with the strange (for some) name “Caretta-Net Technologies” managed to finally make the idea come true. Human Access is now live on Google Play Store and you can get it and start rating public points of interest for their accessibility using (for the time being) a simple set of 6 attributes. This is only the beginning. We are now waiting for your help and feedback for improvements and features you’d like to see. We want this app to make everybody’s life easier but most of all we want it to become YOUR app. Tell us your needs… your bad and good experiences… inspire us to come up with even more attributes that will improve our lives. Because accessibility matters… even for young mothers!

Our plans include a series of new features to come within the next months. For example, we plan to improve even more the look and feel so that you can understand which places are rated and how many users have rated a place, translation of attribute names and descriptions to major languages, improved search of places based on ratings, relieve reminders to rate a place when you check in on it etc. Even later, we are also thinking of integrating with Facebook checkins, combine statistics of Foursquare with accessibility ratings to produce “hall of fame” and “hall of shame” lists, and even suggest to you place that fit your needs. In parallel, we are going to develop our website to include relevant information on maps so that you can plan better your next vacation trip to Greece (or wherever you choose). And for those of you without an Android phone…. don’t worry. We are thinking of you too. You ‘ll just have to wait a little bit longer.

However, what we most of all need right now is your help! Get out there and start rating! It’s for a good purpose and it only takes a few seconds! Spread the news and tell your friends about our cause. Inspire them and make them start rating too. Help each other make our everyday lives easier. We believe in you!

I know I may sound over excited or too enthusiastic… but this is how we feel right now.

A beautiful journey has just started and we want you to share it with us.

Find out more about the app on …

The official site

Google Play Store

Facebook page

Twitter

Google+ page


Never stop the magic!

04/16/2013

A magic hatA few days ago, browsing my feeds, I saw an article title that really caught my attention. The title was “I’m boycotting intuitive interfaces“. John Pavlus explains the concept of intuitiveness and to some extend it reminded me my post on instincts, intuition and the famous… nipple!  As John puts it, intuitive is a UI that feels familiar. It feels like you know how to use it. But the word itself might lead to different expectations and possibly fears.

Intuitive is not supposed to be something that senses your intends and acts accordingly. Or at least… it should not be doing so unless you know why, when and how it does it and have a certain amount of control on it. Read the rest of this entry »


A social media to educate me, you, everybody!

04/01/2013

It’s been quite long ago that I’ve seen this interesting TED talk by Eli Pariser discussing how filters applied today by social networking and generally major information gateway sites lead us to live in our own small information bubbles. It turns out that every now and then, when going through my Twitter or Facebook timeline this talk comes to mind. How small is my information bubble? What does it include? Who else is sharing similar interests out there and lives on his/her own small information bubble? Read the rest of this entry »


The web as I want it!

02/19/2013
A responsive web site shown on different devices.

Responsive web site design

Just a few days before the turn of the year and I was bombarded in my social media and feed reader streams with articles about the things to wait in technology for the next year. Well… this year.

I will concentrate on a few of them that focus on trends to expect for 2013 in web design and I will give a sample of the articles I’ve seen. The next web presented 10 web design trends you can expect to see in 2013 in their article. Mashable, also presented a number of trends you should keep an eye on. The smashing hub presented 6 design trend expected fro 2013. I won’t continue with the list but as you can see from the small sample there is a common and usually number one trend in all articles.  Yes… if you are thinking responsive web design you are correct! Read the rest of this entry »


Is language a disability?

02/11/2013

Language barriersImagine the following scenario. You are in foreign country where you don’t know the language. You might be fluent in English but that doesn’t count too much because most people in the country don’t know English. You are list in the underground trying to find your way back to the hotel. You are struggling to find a map with English on it. You are struggling to find someone to talk and be understood so that he can help you. For many people this is a quite stressfull situation. Personally, I find it a bit amusing and it’s one of the “remember the time when we… ” moments that you tell your friends about and laugh your herat out. However, if you are not on vacations and you are on business travel and have to catch a really important meeting, I could see myself stressed too. Read the rest of this entry »


Death, depression and… Social media.

02/04/2013

Death in comicLately I happened to come across a number of sources that discuss what happens to our social media an generally digital accounts when we die.

The most recent article I’ve seen was on Mashable a few days ago. It brought back discussions of the matter with friends. Really what happens to our digital footprints when we die.  Well… the article explains quite good how different social media are handling such cases and in most cases there are options for relatives to either “shut down” the account and delete all data or put it in a specific state where it cannot be updated but can be used to post messages in memory of the lost person.

A few months ago I also read another quite interesting but spooky story about a new (back then) Facebook app called  “If I Die”. To be honest, after searching and reading a bit about the app I found the idea quite cool. What the app is doing is that lets you assign 3 persons responsible for verifying your death. When this happens they are then given a “key” to open your digital will. It could be a video, a document, a collection of photos… whatever you wish to say to them when you… you know… die! Read the rest of this entry »


From live web analytics to… live learning analytics!

01/28/2013

Learning analytics written on a blackboard.We have discussed in earlier posts about personalized learning could affect students with disabilities.

A keystone need for personalized learning systems and curriculum differentiation has to do with assessment of learners’ progress. Assessment has to take under account specific factor for each student and adapt accordingly. Using technologies to assess students’ progress can have a series of benefits but most importantly it can support easier the adaptations needed for assessment for students with disabilities. Designing assessments for students with disabilities has to take under account various factors such as time, place, objectives etc. in order to be in equal terms with other peers. Read the rest of this entry »


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