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

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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 »


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 »


The TV that… feels you!

12/10/2012
Elderly person using a smart TV

Elderly person using a smart TV

Why should people get sleepy while watching TV? Why shouldn’t a user friendly TV read our eye lids and take the courageous decision to either close or change program? Why shouldn’t the user friendly TV take the liberty to freeze the running of a movie to let us go to the toilet or alert us to go to the toilet in case we need to but are unable to see the risk? Why shouldn’t our user friendly TV adapt viewing settings so that we don’t need our glasses – a self-calibration of the presented images would allow the user to watch his or her favourite program without changing the settings.

So, the TV is a device that enables access to content but may also have decision-making capabilities. Access to content does not take place the way we have been used to: a child is not enabled to follow an adult film, same way as a manic depressive person is not allowed to have access to certain broadcasts, while a deaf person is given the necessary support through captioning and / or subtitling so that he / she may follow the program. Read the rest of this entry »


Thank you wallet!

12/03/2012
Mobile phone used as wallet

Mobile phone used as wallet

I started this blog some months ago looking at the shopping process and how smart shelves could become a helpful tool for customers with disabilities instead of just helping a company with their logistics and storage management. The shopping experience however doesn’t stop in the shelves. There are a number of other steps and today I am looking at the payment.

Usually customers in a large shop are going through the checkouts where the paying process takes place either in cash or using a credit card. In many cases, stores are also issuing loyalty cards to customers giving them special offers in exchange of the information they are providing when using the card. The latest trend in payment is mobile payment. Major players in the mobile computing domain have shown interest in the area of mobile payments with Google entering the competition by introducing Google wallet. Read the rest of this entry »


My device is my work.

11/19/2012
Stephen Hawking and his device

Stephen Hawking and his device

In September-October 2011 the Economics Intelligence Unit surveyed 567 executives from all major industry sectors and all parts of the globe, for their opinions on how technology would change business between now and 2020. The survey entitled “Frontiers of Disruption: The next decade of technology in business” was released in 2012 and is available on the website of the Economist.

Almost 60% of executives feel that the vertical markets in which they will operate in 2020 will bear little or no resemblance to those in which they operate today. 70% expect to see a high degree of convergence between previously distinct business sectors. Many fear that their own company may no longer exist in 2020. More than half of ICT executives fear that their company will not be able to keep up with change and will have lost their competitive edge by 2020. Read the rest of this entry »


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