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8th European e-Accessibility Forum
User-driven e-Accessibility

31/03/2014, 09:00 - 18:00 - Registration from 8:30
Cité des sciences et de l'industrie - Universcience - Paris

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User-driven assessment and user participation in standardisation for people with cognitive disabilities and mental illnesses

Stefan JOHANSSON (Stokholm)
Funka Nu AB

Speaker's information

Stefan Johansson

Stefan JOHANSSON is Accessibility Expert at Funka Nu AB. He is one of Scandinavia's leading experts on accessibility and universal design, working with both e-Accessibility and the built environment. He is a senior consultant and ideologue at Funka Nu AB, and has worked in this field since the early nineties. Stefan is an industry PhD student, mixing research with practical work. Recent assignments include extensive end user testing and development of criteria for cognitive accessibility. His research is connected to the Royal Institute of Technology, School of Computer Science and Communication (KTH) in Stockholm.



Traditional methods such as surveys and statistical analyses often exclude persons with cognitive disabilities and mental illnesses. In broad nationwide surveys we often simply can’t find these groups among collected data.

Persons with cognitive disabilities or mental illnesses are often regarded as “difficult to work with” and meet different kind of prejudices. We have a lack of knowledge regarding the problems these persons might have when using modern ICT and engaging with our modern “e-society”.  There is also a need to develop methods that assure people with cognitive disabilities and mental illnesses have an equal position in evaluation and design processes.

In two projects, Funka Nu is exploring ways to improve user participation in assessment, standardization and design processes for persons with cognitive disabilities.

The Begripsam project and pilot study Electronic communication for persons with mental illnesses are the first studies of their kind in Sweden to assess the everyday life of these “difficult users” through an “accessibility filter”.

Both projects set out to achieve the following objectives:

In the pilot study a method called “Three evenings about accessibility” has been developed. A group of people with different mental illnesses meet with researchers and accessibility experts to discuss real-life situation. Documentation (text and pictures) are delivered the next day and a new meeting is held the following week. This process can be reiterated as often as necessary, but a lot of information can be gleaned within a three week cycle.

The findings so far suggest that there are significant digital gaps between persons with cognitive disabilities and mainstream society and that there are even larger gaps for persons with mental illnesses.

The results also suggest that these large gaps can be explained by poverty rather than mental illness in itself. 

video of the presentation by Stefan Johansson

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