From Science Daily:

A tool developed by researchers from UPM allows us to assess usability during the design and testing process of accessible ICT-based applications.

Researchers from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), led by María Fernanda Cabrera-Umpiérrez, have developed a set of parametric cognitive virtual models of users with disabilities that can be used to simulate the user interaction with Information and communications technology (ICT) applications. This simulation will allow researchers to develop more efficient and accessible ICT applications for people with functional limitations and disabilities.

Despite the speedy evolution of ICTs and the growing recognition of the importance of the concept of universal design in all domains of daily living, mainstream ICT-based product designers and developers still work without any truly structured tools, guidance or support to effectively adapt their products and services to users’ real needs. In an attempt to improve this situation, researchers from Life Supporting Technologies group (LifeSTech) have carried out a research within the framework of VERITAS European project.

Firstly, researchers identified the main cognitive functions and their corresponding parameters that are relevant to each type of cognitive impairment of interest (Alzheimer’s disease patients, Parkinson’s disease patients, and people with visual, hearing and speech impairments).

Secondly, this data was classified by using ACT-R cognitive architecture which interrelates how people perform tasks with the parameters that define their cognitive functions. Additionally, specific needs of end users and recommendations, such as guidelines and parameters that support the developer decisions during the design process, were included in the models.

In order…

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