Adaptive Techniques for Universal Access

Abstract

This paper discusses the contribution of adaptive techniques to Universal Access in Human–Computer Interaction. To this effect, the paper revisits the concept of Universal Access, briefly reviews relevant work on adaptive techniques, and follows their application in efforts to provide accessibility of interactive systems, from the early, product- and environment-level adaptation-based approaches, to more generic solutions oriented towards Universal Access. Finally, the paper highlights some of the research challenges ahead. The normative perspective of the paper is that adaptive techniques in the context of Universal Access have the potential to facilitate both accessibility and high quality interaction, for the broadest possible end-user population. This implies the design of systems that undertake context-sensitive processing so as to manifest their functional core in alternative interactive embodiments suitable for different users, usage patterns and contexts of use. Such a capability needs to be built into the system from the early phases of conception and design, and subsequently validated throughout its life cycle.