Cloud4all/GPII has been primarily designed to solve technology barriers for people with disability. A few examples of daily life situations that need a new approach can help understand these barriers:
- Every day a new gadget appears. The number of machines, platforms, OS and programs are growing around us, even exponentially with the advent of the Internet of Things. Every OS in every machine has its particular way to access to configuration options and enabling ATs. Smartphones, ATMs, ticket vending machines, TVs and PCs coexist in a complex environment where some people with disability and non-savvy tech users find difficulties to interact with technology.
- Schools, universities or even workplaces force users to share computers. If a user has a disability, IT staff or teachers need to spend quite a lot of time to set up these computers. They, very often, lack the knowledge to provide a proper configuration to the user. What is more, one single computer is devoted for “the disabled”. Apart from making inclusion more difficult, it is usually a lot of time and effort to make things work properly. What is more, very often, students need to work in pairs in a lab, or members of the family watch TV together. These are cases where devices need to be shared simultaneously, so that they have to resolve conflicting or co-mingled needs. This is usually handled with time-consuming a trial and error process.
- Sometimes adaptations need to occur at different levels. As an example, some people with visual impairments use high contrast configuration in their OS. When high contrast is activated, many applications change their graphical aspect to a white on black theme, but web apps don’t. Without Cloud4all/GPII, a user-defined CSS or an extension needs to be configured to make websites high contrast.
- Disabilities can be acquired throughout life and they are positively correlated with age and people are usually unaware of the assistive technology or technological solutions that would be helpful for them. Besides, as each situation is different, users may find that ordinary ATs do not match their needs. We call them “the tails of the tails”, referring to the population distribution. Driven by the market, companies create products that match the needs of the largest population groups, even populations with disability. These individuals could benefit from a mixture of existing solutions.
In order to mitigate this situation, Cloud4all/GPII brings its own approach: let any user customize any device with a simple method. In that respect, the Project brings two key innovations: an architecture to personalise from preferences any device, and the seamless integration of multiple software layers.