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A methodological approach for designing and developing web-based inventories of mobile Assistive Technology applications

Abstract

Mobile technologies provide radical opportunities in the domain of Assistive Technologies (AT) for persons with disabilities and the elderly by facilitating them to access multimedia content and improve their social interaction. The search for mobile AT applications that meet specific user needs is not an easy task for the disabled users, their facilitators, and rehabilitation professionals, as the mobile app stores do not include a category for AT or a classification by disability. In this work, we first provide an analysis of the disabled users’ needs along with the required mobile software adaptations in order to fulfill them. Then, we introduce a methodological approach for the design and development of web-based inventories which make the search and selection of AT apps simpler and efficient. This methodology has to main parts, first it is based on experts in an AT lab thoroughly testing each application, and second, the creation of a consistent and well-documented presentation of the information for each app. Finally, we present the mATHENA repository of free AT apps for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), which has been created by following the suggested methodology for creating AT app inventories. Currently, mATHENA includes 420 free mobile AT applications, carefully selected from a total of 1100. The features of mATHENA are compared with the functionality and social interaction services of six other inventories for AT applications.

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Acknowledgments

This research has been partially financed by the project UDLnet: Universal Design for Learning: A Framework for Addressing Learner Variability (540659-LLP-1-2013-1-GR-COMENIUS-CNW) [www.udlnet-project.eu], funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Correspondence to Georgios Kouroupetroglou.

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Kouroupetroglou, G., Pino, A. & Riga, P. A methodological approach for designing and developing web-based inventories of mobile Assistive Technology applications. Multimed Tools Appl 76, 5347–5366 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11042-016-3822-3

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Keywords

  • Mobile human-computer interaction
  • Multimedia accessibility
  • Mobile devices
  • Assistive technology
  • Apps
  • Disabilities