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Cognitive Accessibility for Mentally Disabled Persons

Abstract : The emergence of various digital channels, the development of different devices and the change in the way we communicate and carry out various types of services have quickly grown and continues to grow. This may offer both new opportunities for inclusion and risks for creating new barriers in the society. In a recent study we have explored the questions: Is the society digitally accessible for persons with mental disabilities? How do persons with mental disabilities cope with their situation? What are the benefits and obstacles they face? Based on the answers to these questions we wanted to explore if there is a digital divide between the citizens in general and the citizens with mental disabilities. And if so; what is the nature of this divide? Methods used in the study were Participatory action research oriented with data collection via research circles. In total over 100 persons participated. The results show that a digital divide is present. Persons with mental disabilities differ from citizens in general in how they have access to digital resources. The result also indicates that services and systems on a societal scale do not deliver the expected efficiency when it comes to supporting citizens with mental disabilities. And finally the results indicate that the special needs this group might have are often not identified in wider surveys on the citizen’s use of Internet, digital services and use of different technical devices. Several of the participants describe this as being left outside and not fully participate in a society where digital presence is considered a prerequisite for a full citizenship.
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Stefan Johansson, Jan Gulliksen, Ann Lantz. Cognitive Accessibility for Mentally Disabled Persons. 15th Human-Computer Interaction (INTERACT), Sep 2015, Bamberg, Germany. pp.418-435, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-22701-6_31⟩. ⟨hal-01599467⟩

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