The HAPTIMAP project will deeply embed accessibility into digital mainstream maps and mobile location based services. Our strategy is twofold, firstly to develop tools that make it easier for developers to add adaptable multimodal components (designed to improve accessibility) into their applications and, secondly, to raise the awareness of these issues via new guidelines and to suggest extensions to existing design practices so that accessibility issues are considered throughout the design process.
The concrete outcomes of the project will be a developer toolkit together with a set of design guidelines that help developers of mainstream applications make maps in general more accessible and easier to use (not only for disabled users but for everyone). We will raise the industrial awareness of accessibility issues by arranging workshops and also by providing an educational module targeted at engineering and design students. Furthermore we will develop design methods and tools that support existing development practices so that it becomes easier to embed ‘accessibility’ into the design process, making it an integral part of the work instead of being added afterwards as is currently often the case (if the issue is addressed at all). Finally, example applications that illustrate the use of the toolkit and guidelines will be developed and will be evaluated and demonstrated in multiple real life scenarios
In this project we have chosen to focus on digital maps and location based services, since these are strongly emerging information services used for a wide range of PC and mobile applications. Since maps and location based services involve the display of spatial and temporal relations, and these kinds of relations also exist in other types of applications (the windows desktop is one obvious example) we expect many of our results to be generally applicable. The result of the design method development is another part of the work that is not tied exclusively to maps and location based services, and which will be relevant for a wider audience.