Human-Computer Interaction: Communication, Cooperation, and Application Design

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

Improved HCI accessibility: An account of costs involved

E. Bekiaris1, P. Oxley2


1 Introduction

It is common practice that any investment in the public or private sector has to be accompanied by a cost-benefit analysis, as part of the Marketing plan that usually proceeds this investment. This rule did not apply until recently in the area of aids for elderly and disabled people (E&D) as these costs were associated to societal factors and human rights. However, the recent hardships in EU and world economy have undermined the policy of "unlimited" social funds that was followed by many EU countries (i.e. the Nordic countries and Germany). Hence, more and more cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and marketing factors are associated to the viability and social funds support of such aids. On the other hand, the so-called "design for all" principle has been anything but applied in the general consumer Market especially in Europe. Manufacturers have considered for many years the E&D sector as a marginal and niche Market, for which specialised SME's should adapt their products. Reasons of prestige (a car "for Elderly" can not be promoted in the general Market) and economies of scale have always kept good design practices for E&D away of the major manufacturers design teams. The result has been products, which are not user friendly for all and require heave and expensive adaptations for E&D. A typical example can be drawn from the automotive industry, where all car conversions for E&D were performed by Car Adaptations Manufacturers (typically local SME's), hence resulting in one of a kind or "local" solutions. Only recently have car manufacturers realised the real extent of the E&D Market and the benefits to the whole Market if they follow "design for all" principles in their

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1
TRD S.A., 28, Alexandras Avenue, 106 83, Athens, Greece email: trnspcon@compulink.gr
2
Cranfield University, MK43 0AL, Cranfield, Bedford, UK, email: P.Oxley@ Cranfield.AC. UK

-853-

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