Diversity and inclusion: not the same thing

The feet of two dancers. The woman is wearing red and white shoes and the man regular black shoes“Diversity is being asked to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” This is a great quote from Verna Myers. Her context is the workplace and the employment and advancement of women and people of colour. But of course, it is relevant to all other groups that are seeking inclusion. The Harvard Business Review in its article, Diversity doesn’t stick without inclusion discusses this issue. It is one thing to have a diverse population, but that doesn’t mean equity or inclusion will automatically follow. The HBR puts it in the employment context, “Part of the problem is that “diversity” and “inclusion” are so often lumped together that they’re assumed to be the same thing. But that’s just not the case. In the context of the workplace, diversity equals representation. Without inclusion, however, the crucial connections that attract diverse talent, encourage their participation, foster innovation, and lead to business growth won’t happen.”

Editor’s note: I co-wrote a paper on inclusion being something where you have to wait for the “mainstream” group to invite you in. Inclusiveness is something that is present, it is happening now. You can see the slideshow version too which has some explanatory graphics.

Inclusive Digital Access: An inclusive training method

A blackboard with the words, I want to learn more about information science and technologyWalking the walk and talking the talk in training sessions is an important factor in adult learning. So when running a course on digital access, the course designer and facilitator needs to think about both their learners as well as the learners of those taking the course. The way to do this was the subject of an interesting Masters study in Canada using ethnographic techniques. The conclusion lists some useful points that every course designer and trainer should think about regardless of the topic.

In her introduction, Keshia Goodwin makes some pertinent points, “The result of a design is dependent on the outlook of the designer, and the design process they use. In very general terms, standard designs follow the standard design iteration process: define the problem, collect information, brainstorm and analyse, develop, test, revise, repeat. The designer continues this process until the design performs as expected. There may, or there may not be feedback from the potential user of the design while the designer tests for solutions.”
“While developing my design I learned that not only did the learners need to be aware of what an end user may need; I, the instructor, needed to be conscious of, and accommodate learning barriers to my end users. I needed to be inclusive in my instructional approach, and, be accommodating to what my audience may need when I delivered training. The design, at that point, had come full circle, being inclusive and accessible to learners, and to the learner’s future audience”

The title of the study is, Inclusive Access: An Inclusive Design Approach to Digital Accessibility Skills Training

 

Lifelong mobility with automation

cars on a two lane highway Connected and automated vehicles are being trialled across the world, but will their use and facility be universally designed? The arrival of the self-driving car could be life-changing for people who have been unable to own and/or drive a car. In their article, Towards Life-Long Mobility: Accessible Transportation with Automation, the authors explore some of the challenges and opportunities for automated vehicles for people usually excluded from driving. They conclude that the future of automated vehicles for currently excluded people seems to be promising.

Abstract
Despite the prevalent discussions on automated vehicles, little research has been conducted with a focus on inclusiveness of traditionally excluded populations from driving. Even though we may envision a future where everyone can drive with perfect automation, the problem will not be that simple. As with any other problem domains, we need to scrutinize all the design considerations – not only each population’s characteristics (capabilities and limitations), but also the entire system, technological limitations, and task environments. To this end, the present paper explores challenges and opportunities of automated vehicles for multiple populations, including people with various difficulties/disabilities, older adults, and children. This paper brings up some controversial points and is expected to promote lively discussions at the conference.

Electric vehicles and wheelchair users

White box shaped vehicle with green trim, shown here with the lid style front door raisedGood to see designers thinking about customising for the independent travel of wheelchair users. The designers claim that you can wheel yourself into the vehicle and drive yourself without the need for assistance from others. Customisations to suit individuals are available. Because the vehicle is small and box like, the wheelchair user can park so that the ramp will lower directly onto the footpath. Nifty. This vehicle is available in the UK. We might have to wait for more electric vehicles to appear in Australia before this option is available here. See the website for dimensions and other information and more pictures. Perhaps driverless vehicles of the future for everyone might look something like this.

Empathetic understanding using virtual reality

Against a dark starry background a young woman in a dark top looks upwards through transparent gogglesRemarkable website has posted an article titled, Building the Ultimate Learning Engine for Empathetic Understanding. It all sounds interesting especially as attitudes to people with disability and older people are ingrained and hard to shift. Perhaps this virtual reality tool will help. The website says, “Equal Reality’s interactive VR app teaches you to recognise unconscious bias by putting you in a scenario where you are on the receiving end unconscious bias. Immersed in the scenario, you’re required to signal when you think you’re receiving this bias. The whole experience is designed to trigger empathy, then reflect on your experience.”

There is a demo app available

Look here: Kitchen lighting refocused

A modern kitchen with a bowl of fruit in the foreground and a stove and microwave in the backgroundDoug Walter writes in ProRemodeller magazine about new research in kitchen lighting. He says, “Most kitchens are woefully underlit. Lighting is often an afterthought, yet even when it’s carefully planned, designers and lighting experts often don’t agree on which lamps work best in particular fixtures and where those fixtures should be located.” It seems housing standards aren’t much help and it is left up to the kitchen designer or the homeowner to work it out for themselves. The article offers practical and technical advice about lighting the kitchen so you can see what you are doing, safely and conveniently. 

Lighting is of particular importance to anyone with low vision – even people who wear glasses need good light to make sure the work-space and benches are hygienic and safe. And more light isn’t always better if it produces glare.  

Advances in design for inclusion – book

Front cover of the book: yellow background with dark blue text.This book is practice-orientated and covers many fields of design.The overview of this publication states, “This book focuses on a range of topics in design, such as universal design, design for all, digital inclusion, universal usability, and accessibility of technologies independently of people’s age, economic situation, education, geographic location, culture and language. … Based on the AHFE 2016 International Conference on Design for Inclusion, held on July 27-31, 2016, in Walt Disney World®, Florida, USA, this book discusses new design technologies, highlighting various requirements of individuals within a community. Thanks to its multidisciplinary approach, the book represents a useful resource for readers with different kinds of backgrounds and provides them with a timely, practice-oriented guide to design for inclusion.” You can download the promotional flyer or go to the link allows you to download the Table of Contents.

National Land Transport: 2017-2040

Front cover showing a man wearing glasses and a beanie and holding a smartphone The National Transport Commission of Australia has released a slide show document, Land Transport Regulation 2040: Enabling next generation mobilityIt asks the question, How could or should we regulate land transport in the future? A good question given that advances in technology mean we could all be potential users of driverless, autonomous vehicles in the very near future. So the document proceeds to answer the question. It discusses why regulation is needed and then goes on to discuss four plausible futures using scenario analysis. As a slide show of their report, it captures the key points succinctly and clearly. The graphics add a nice touch.An explanatory graphic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Automated, Driverless Cars – a new horizon

Self driving vehicle on the road.From the Editor: I recently attended a workshop jointly held by Transport for NSW, NRMA and the Committee for Sydney. The half day session encouraged us to think 40 years ahead in terms of planning for transportation, particularly automated and WiFi connected vehicles. All seems too sci-fi? Think again. Sitting with experts in the field of vehicle automated technology and transport planning, it was a real eye-opener. Just think what driverless cars will mean for people who cannot currently drive or no longer have a licence. It can mean a whole new world for people with disability – but we have to make sure everything is universally designed – inclusive of everyone.

Discussions revolved around several issues, some positive, some negative. If you can dial up a car to come to your doorstep via your mobile phone any time you need it, you won’t need to buy a car. That frees up your money to be spent elsewhere in the economy. But what if this brave new world means that people give up walking – what will that mean for active travel and the associated health benefits? The design of cars will no doubt change – a box-shape on four wheels will do the job – maybe cars for one person will be quite small and others could be large enough to carry the footy team. graphic of a car, a truck and a section of roadHuman error is the major factor in road accidents. Think how much health money and personal distress could be saved if we reduced the road toll to virtually nil. And could the savings in health costs offset the reduced income from road taxes, and when we go fully electric, fuel excise and taxes?

There were many other discussion points, but I was left with one lasting impression: Automated and connected vehicles are on their way and here to stay. Semi automated vehicles are already here – self parking, cruise control and automated braking, automatic wipers and headlights, and sensors that can tell if the driver is feeling drowsy. We already have automatic pilot on aircraft, agricultural and mining vehicles, and warehouse forklifts and dockside loaders that all operate without human intervention. So if you thought it was just talk, think again.  More importantly, think what it might mean for the universal design of vehicles, transport policy and transport planning. It all needs to be inclusive – everyone has to benefit.

Incidentally, Intelligent Transport Systems Australia is holding a free networking event in Sydney on 4 July.  To find out more about what Transport for NSW is doing on this topic – go to their dedicated website future.transport.nsw.gov.au. There are surveys for community members and business – so you can have your say.

Jane Bringolf, Editor

What is audio description?

logo for Audio Descriptions. black bacround with white upper case letters AD and three curved lines indicating soundIf you’ve ever wondered what audio description is, then the Microsoft video below is a good example. Audio descriptions tell people who are blind the visual information on the screen during natural breaks in dialogue. In the Microsoft example, the speech of the audio describer is a bit fast in places, but it shows the type of describing they do. The video was developed as a staff training video on disability awareness and the first three and a half minutes are dedicated to basic information. The video descriptions start at 3 mins 27 seconds into the video. They use different case studies to show where audio descriptions work well in enabling people to be productive in the workplace.

You can find out more about audio describing from Media Access Australia, and an article on a trial of audio describing with ABC iView.