Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 19, Issue 5–6, pp 853–880 | Cite as

Build me a Ubicomp: bespoke ubiquitous accessibility in live television production environments

  • Reuben KirkhamEmail author
  • Tom Bartindale
  • Michael Evans
  • Patrick Olivier
Original Article


Live television production remains driven by platforms which are modelled on systems developed before digitised technology, with specialised components and systems which were designed and developed entirely for a non-disabled plurality. The effect of this is that skilled production staff who become disabled are unable to continue within their roles, in many cases becoming forced into leaving the television industry entirely. This investigation explores the possibility of using bespoke ubiquitous computing systems to circumvent existing practical and strategic restrictions upon reasonable adjustments in production roles. To make our findings, we draw upon twelve criticality-informed interviews with both production specialists and assistive technology experts, and an ethnographic study conducted in a television production environment. This investigation had a particular emphasis upon what practices are (legally) reasonable to adjust in a production environment, and thus allow the realistic targeting of adjustments to particular combinations of roles and disabilities. Through doing so, we describe a space for re-configuring existing user interfaces, practices and workflows in the production environment, introducing a new paradigm of bespoke assistive technologies. We also discuss the novel implications for both disability discrimination law and ubiquitous computing that arise from our investigation.


Accessibility Assistive technology Bespoke assistive technology Disability Production environments Television Ubiquitous computing Wearable computing Video editing 



We are grateful to our participants for the insightful contributions that they offered to this work. We are also grateful to both CanAssist and the British Broadcasting Corporation for enabling this research to be completed. The first author was funded by an EPSRC DTA award, as well as the British Broadcasting Corporation for the period of this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reuben Kirkham
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tom Bartindale
    • 1
  • Michael Evans
    • 2
  • Patrick Olivier
    • 1
  1. 1.Open LabNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.BBC R&DMediaCity UKSalfordUK

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