PSU researchers hope to make digital navigation more accessible for all

(swoosh) (metallic chime) (gentle music) – Yeah, my name is Martin Swobodzinski, I’m an Assistant Professor of Geography at Portland State University. And I’m the former director of the Center for Spatial
Analysis & Research, and I’m a faculty member of
the Digital City Testbed Center at Portland State University. My research agenda is two pronged. One part is related to, where I mentioned, virtual reality research. Which by the definition is
driven by the visual sense. And the other part is the true
concern for learning about the lived experiences of people, individuals who have disability. To understand what they’re
information needs are particular to their lived
experiences, as I said. But at the end, it’s also deeply exploring and understanding what the
information needs might be and how we can make
technology more accessible. In particular as it comes
to human way finding. Because we recently got an award from the National Institute
for Transportation Communities, which is housed in our Transportation,
Research and Education Center at Portland State University. It’s a US Department of
Transportation-funded initiative spearheaded by Portland State University. And we were recently awarded
a grant with generous support also from the Digital City Testbed Center at Portland State to work
in close collaboration with our friends at the American Printing
House for the Blind on considerations for seamless indoor and outdoor wayfinding. But a lot of times what we
found from our focus groups with the disability community, is that in order to be able to navigate through indoor and outdoor spaces, it requires a multitude of apps. Just like many other
individuals use different apps to do car navigation, versus
using the transit system, versus maybe finding points-of-interest that might immediately go map you or walk you through three different apps. Technology should be individually tailored to our information needs, our attitudes, our skills and our preferences. And then to that account, it would be, how can we best use smart phones to make those work for everybody? My name is Martin Swobodzinski and me and my collaborators work hard to make technology universally accessible so that we can all
participate fully in society. (gentle electronic music)

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