SDDP CARDIAC I: Technology transfer in accessible and assistive ICT products and services

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SDDP Local Authorities Troodos
SDDP Local Authorities Troodos
Report Title Mechanisms that ensure successful technology transfer in accessible and assistive ICT products and services
Triggering Question What mechanisms would ensure successful technology transfer in accessible and assistive ICT products and services?
Location Pafos
Dates 28th - 30th October 2010
Two 2h-long virtual sessions in the following two weeks
Lead Facilitator(s) Yiannis Laouris
Georgina Siitta Achilleos
Assistant Facilitator(s) Adira Zwelling
Author(s) Yiannis Laouris
Georgina Siitta Achilleos
Tatjana Taraszow
Editor(s) Yiannis Laouris
Total Duration 3 days f2f
Two virtual sessions in the following two weeks
Statistics Participants=21
Number of ideas=87
Number of Clusters=15
Ideas received Votes=47
Ideas on MAP R=34
Spreathink ST=51%
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Executive Summary

This report has been developed in the context of the CARDIAC project (FP7 - Coordinating Action: Grant Agreement 248582). The goal of the project is to create a platform that can bring together the various stakeholders in the area of accessible and assistive ICT with a view to identifying Research & Development gaps and emerging trends and generating a research agenda roadmap.

The Triggering Question (TQ) was
What mechanisms would ensure successful technology transfer in accessible and assistive ICT products and services?

The face-to-face part of the event lasted three days and was held between the 28-30th of October 2010 in Pafos, Cyprus. Two weeks ahead of the meeting the twenty participants were given the opportunity of submitting their initial responses to the Triggering Question via the CARDIAC Wikispace. Two remote sessions were then held after the meeting to complete the structuring using the software Elluminate LiveTM. The CARDIAC Wikispace was also used to gather further clarifications and analysis of the results.


In response to the TQ, the 21 participants came up with 55 mechanisms, which were categorized in 10 clusters. Following the voting process, 37 ideas received one or more votes and were structured to create the influence MAP shown below.

  • Cluster 1: Technology transfer process
  • Cluster 2: Consumers accessibility
  • Cluster 3: Future improvement
  • Cluster 4: Market supports
  • Cluster 5: Awareness
  • Cluster 6: User needs
  • Cluster 7: Technical design requirements
  • Cluster 8: Procedures
  • Cluster 9: General accessibility
  • Cluster 10: Target groups
  • Cluster 11: Policy
  • Cluster 12: Interconnectivity
  • Cluster 13: Positive monetary aspects
  • Cluster 14: Simplification of projects
  • Cluster 15: Marketing


The following * Ideas received votes:

  • Idea #17 (6 votes) Improve education and training about inclusion of people working in industry dealing with mainstream
  • Idea #42 (5 votes) Accessibility criteria in public procurement policy
  • Idea #1 (4 votes) A mechanism to understand where Ideas fall over or go wrong in the supply chain
  • Idea #49 (4 votes) New funding mechanism to assist in exploitation - commercial introduction phase
  • Idea #70 (4 votes) Consumers should not pay more for accessibility
  • Idea #73 (4 votes) Small projects instead of big frameworks
  • Idea #27 (4 votes) Fund the development of broker agencies for accessible products
  • Idea #15 (3 votes) Provision of procedures, easy to use tools and environments for accessibility testing
  • Idea #62 (3 votes) Translate user needs into product design
  • Idea #12 (3 votes) Open interfaces that allow products and services to interact among them
  • Idea #23 (3 votes) Support user involvement in all phases of product life cycle
  • Idea #25 (3 votes) Personalization for all and open interfaces when needed
  • Idea #29 (3 votes) Built a global public inclusive infrastructure
  • Idea #13 (3 votes) Progressive financial support to marketing assistive ICT
  • Idea #28 (2 votes) Make it more general rather than specific accessible and assistive ICT products
  • Idea #82 (2 votes) Consistency in policies for subsidies of assistive products and services
  • Idea #71 (2 votes) Success stories needed
  • Idea #21 (2 votes) Consistent adaptable user interfaces should be mandated for EU projects
  • Idea #33 (2 votes) Promote interoperability of accessible products and services
  • Idea #36 (2 votes) To improve the knowledge of technology potential to support an inclusive life
  • Idea #37 (2 votes) Improve the level of technological research in inclusion
  • Idea #7 (2 votes) Maximize potential user base for accessible products
  • Idea #65 (2 votes) Define technical interfaces between mainstream products and assistive technology products
  • Idea #44 (2 votes) Provide incentives to bring academia, industry and users together
  • Idea #46 (2 votes) Provide accurate potential user data to developers
  • Idea #20 (2 votes) Offer incentives to suppliers who offer effective accessible products and services
  • Idea #61 (2 votes) Analyze procurement methods in member states
  • Idea # 3 (2 votes) Accessibility filter in company product R&D process
  • Idea #56 (2 votes) Better understanding of the process involving research, development and technology transfer in ICT
  • Idea # 5 (1 votes) Focus on novel and creative designs
  • Idea #10 (1 votes) Studies that demonstrate the positive contribution of assistive and accessible ICT

Out of the population of 87 proposed ideas, 47 received one or more votes. This is described scientifically by the parameter of Spreadthink4 or divergence (ST or D respectively), whose value in this case is 51% of disagreement. According to numerous studies, the average degree of spreadthink is 40%. Spreadthink is defined as (V-5)/(N-5) where N is the total number of ideas and V is the number of ideas that received one or more votes.


Two remote sessions were held after the meeting to complete the structuring using the software Elluminate LiveTM. This web conferencing program was developed by Elluminate Inc to implement synchronous events4. Elluminate “rents” out virtual rooms or vSpaces where virtual schools and businesses can hold classes and meetings. This virtual space was the means by which all participants got together in order to be able to work on the virtual SDDSM. The image of the SDD software Cogniscope could be viewed by all remote participants; functions such as raising hand, voting“yes” or “no”, video, and chatting made this virtual SDDSM possible. A screen-shot of this environment is shown in the next image.

In this short video clip, Yiannis Laouris explains the setup for the virtual SDDP sessions.

The following diagram depicts the Influence Map generated by the participants during the face-to-face meeting in Paphos, as well as during the additional short sessions that have taken place virtually in the following week.


The ‘tree of influences’ or roadmap is made up of 7 different levels. Three pairs of ideas are cycled together (70 and 2, 27 and 56, 12 and 29) which means that these pairs of mechanisms were found to influence each other, to receive and to exert influences from and to the same factors. It is also interesting to note the location of the various ideas according to the amount of votes received. It is often the case that the ideas that receive the most votes find their way to the top of the roadmap. This is borne out in this case where the seven ideas that received most votes are all located towards the top of the roadmap (levels I-IV). The ideas that received the least votes are more randomly located all over the roadmap.

This can be explained by the fact that the ideas that manage to encapsulate widely-held aspirations, expressing the ultimate collective aim or vision may well receive the most votes but then require other more practical issues to be resolved before they can be achieved. The more practical ideas, which may or may not have received the most votes, are often located towards the foot of the roadmap (level IV-VII). These ideas have the greatest degree of influence and the rest of the analysis will therefore concentrate on these ideas. This phenomenon is known as erroneous priorities effect.

The collective wisdom of the participants revealed that the following four mechanisms were probably the most influential and that the stakeholders should give these a higher priority:

Level VII:

  • 15: Provision of procedures, easy to use tools and environments for accessibility testing
  • 44: Provide incentives to bring academia, industry and users together

Level VI:

  • 23: Support user involvement in all phases of product life cycle
  • 20: Offer incentives to suppliers who offer effective accessible products and services

The way this tree should be interpreted is that the actions which aim to support these four mechanisms will have the greatest influence in achieving large-scale organisational change. Progress made in these four mechanisms will create a positive chain of facilitation because they are influencing directly or indirectly practically all mechanisms that lie above them. The two mechanisms that lie at the root of the roadmap address improvements, which can take place within the ‘environments’ in which products are being envisioned and designed. Mechanism 15 calls for the need to have in place procedures and easy-to-use tools for testing products for accessibility.

Many companies lack the specialist skills to evaluate designs with disabled users. There is a need to provide methodologies, tools and test environments which companies can access to test their prototypes. Also they may need advice on whether their design meets any mandatory guidelines applicable in their target market. There may also be a requirement to have access to appropriate testing facilities at reasonable cost.

All too often evaluation is seen by companies as obtaining a product endorsement from a user organisation, whereas it should be seen as a method of obtaining information on how to improve the design of the product.

The problem can be broken down into three aspects. First of all the ‘Accessibility’ of a product/service is not a feature in its own. Instead it can be regarded in relation to the person who uses the product/service, with his intentions, capabilities and his assistive tools etc., and the conditions, environment and circumstances under which the persons uses the product/service.

Therefore it is practically impossible to achieve a 100% accessibility or to make a ‘complete’ check or proof of accessibility. Secondly, sets of “accessibility criteria” are typically abstract descriptions of certain product/service features. The more concrete they are, the more limited or incomplete they are. However, in order to be testable or checkable the criteria need to be concrete. Usually general (requirements) criteria need to be “translated” to checkable or measurable (test) criteria. Thirdly, the test criteria tend to focus on product features, neglecting the user and the application conditions.


  1. Dr. Anton Civit
  2. Dr. Bob Allen
  3. Mr. Bryan Boyle
  4. Mr. Demetris Sparsis
  5. Mrs. Gunela Astbrink
  6. Dr-Ing Helmut Heck
  7. Ms Ilse Bierhoff
  8. Dr John Gill
  9. Prof. Julio Abascal
  10. Dr. Katerina Mavrou
  11. Prof. Kjell Åge Bringsrud
  12. Mr. Leonor Moniz Pereira
  13. Mr. Michael Huch
  14. Dr. Noemi Bitterman
  15. Mr. Panayiotis Zafiris
  16. Prof. Patrick Roe
  17. Mr. Peter Ball
  18. Prof. Pier Luigi Emiliani
  19. Mr. Robert Hecht
  20. Mr. Sifis Klironomos

European Commission Observers

  1. Francois Junique, Project/Policy Officer (DG Information Society & Media) at European Commission
  2. Espen Kristoffersen, Research and Policy Officer at European Commission - DG for Information Society and Media


The workshop was facilitated by:

Snapshots from the event

The following pictures document the use of the wiki to pre-collect ideas and clarifications, the Eluminate software used to conduct the virtual sessions after the face-to-face sessions and a screenshot with Tatjana Taraszow facilitating the process.