[Mini Blog] 2010 in Review

With 2011 now underway I thought I would briefly summarise 2010. It was a busy yet creative year were I predominately focused on my PhD research, this seemingly ENDLESS task will likely consume much of my time this year. I achieved a lot: completion of 2 studies: interviews and observations including research ethnic’s (and we all know how lengthy this can be), MPhil to PhD transfer examination, countless paper submissions which led to a major conference acceptance, and constant academic reading among other items. 2010 was also a year for sharing my research and reaching out to charities and disability and accessibility community via presentations and seminars, HCID CP Day, demo session and most surprisingly an unconference. These opportunities enabled me to meet and work alongside fantastic people whom had different experiences and insights of which I highly value. 2010 also presented the opportunity to regularly volunteer at user-led organizations directed at young adults with disabilities, learn British Sign Language (BSL) and par take in charity running e.g. Sports Relief 3 Mile run, Race for Life 5k and British 10K run. Furthermore, personally 2010 allowed me to expand on some of my ‘odd’ interests mainly concerning all-things Apple, Wii gaming, Star Wars, Vampires (books, films and TV shows etc.) and most importantly Guinea Pigs. I can now officially state that most, if not all, of my social media friends are aware of these ‘interests’ and are likely frustrated with my constant chatter; but having obtained a overshare badge on foursquare, this is unlikely to change – sorry :). But 2010 also presented challenges e.g. constant Crohn’s disease flare ups, a family bereavement, a distressing motorbike accident, being a carer with limited support etc., such challenges did not prevent me from pushing forward but provided strength and persistence – these acquired attributes are highly valued and will be undoubtably drawn on in the coming year. I hope that 2011 will bring exciting web accessibility research and technology,  new apple products 🙂 and most importantly happiness and success. I will end this mini blog by wishing all those who read this a prosperous 2011.

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iPad, can it benefit the cerebral palsy community? (@cityuni_hcid Demo Session)

Centre HCID using iPad
@cityuni_hcid researchers trying out Tap Tap Radiation

With a To-Do list that increases daily,  I often demote tasks that aren’t directly related to my PhD, unfortunately this has been one of those tasks. I was asked to write a blog about a demo session I ran at @cityuni_hcid on 8th June 2010, better later than never I guess.

— On May 28th 2010 I brought my iPad to @cityuni_hcid were it sparked considerable interest, I suspect it was because at the time it was one of the very few within @CityUniLondon. For the next week I found myself answering the same questions: what do you use it for? what sort of apps are available? is it worth spending £427+?. As a result, I decided to run a small demo session inviting @cityuni_hcid researchers to try the iPad and ask questions all in one go.

To ensure the session was interesting, esp. for researchers waiting to use the device,  the following was asked: iPad, can it benefit the cerebral palsy community?. It’s purpose was to enable the researchers to identify potential apps and or areas the iPad could be used to benefit users with cerebral palsy. To stimulate discussion I carried out an impromptu study that observed 2 iPad users with cerebral palsy. Photos and video clips were recorded via my iPhone 3GS and littered throughout the @cinterationlab. Unsurprisingly, the video clips appeared to encourage discussion more so than the photo’s, so I thought I would share it with you…

(Right) Photo's of the 2 iPad users with cerebral palsy using various apps and iPad accessories. (Left) A list of some of the discussed benefits.

Some of the benefits identified included: rehabilitation e.g. PocketPond app increased dexterity over the course of the observation; eLearning e.g. iBooks app and Memory Cards app provided independent learning; independent input especially when shopping (inbuilt Safari) and communicating was discussed by both participants as key to their iPad use; arts e.g. Granimator app  provided creativity and obviously entertainment e.g. Need for Speed Shift app.

There are many other benefits discussed and considerably a lot more that I can think of now, but it would be interesting to know what you think: iPad, can it benefit the cerebral palsy community?. Please feel free to leave a comment.

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