Advancing Accessibility Research with UMass Boston

University of Massachusetts Boston and IBM have formed a new collaborative research initiative to advance the development of accessible technology solutions in mobile, social and human-centric computing to reduce digital barriers and create a smarter, more inclusive planet.

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With more than 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide, demand for accessibility continues to grow, making it a mainstream requirement for governments and businesses around the globe. With trends such as mobile, social business, smart TVs, wearable devices and next-generation augmented reality, enabling widespread access to these technologies will depend on the ongoing integration of adaptive, intuitive and accessible technology capabilities.

IBM and UMass Boston will focus on developing solutions that increase full societal inclusion for people with disabilities, the growing elderly population, those with low literacy and novice technology users, to create stronger interactions and more effective communications.

Through its newly formed School for Global Inclusion and Social Development, the first graduate school in the world to focus on inclusion, wellness and economic development from an international perspective, UMass Boston students will engage in state-of-the-art research in technology and accessibility and develop the necessary skills to solve practical business challenges in industries such as healthcare, banking and education.

As the School's first partner, IBM will provide its accessibility technology and industry expertise to UMass Boston professors and researchers. IBM and UMass Boston will develop new research that integrates assistive technologies into the design of mobile devices, apps or websites that reduces the usability gap and increases the overall user experience.

For instance, the banking industry could realize a competitive advantage when they make their mobile operations fully accessible and secure, allowing clients to interact with their services whenever they want, wherever they are and regardless of their age or physical ability. Or, patients could easily and securely access their medical records and send them on to doctors of their choice through a mobile device.

By developing new accessible innovations in mobile, social and human-centric computing, IBM and UMass Boston can deliver personalized interactions for any individual, on any device, regardless of the skills abilities or aptitudes of the global population.

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