#btconf Munich, Germany 15 - 17 Jan 2018

Robin Christopherson

Robin is Head of Digital Inclusion at the UK’s leading tech charity AbilityNet. Fortunate enough to receive an MBE in the 2017 honours list for his work, Robin is passionate about how tech can transform everyone’s life regardless of ability, impairment or environment. He is also a huge Amazon Echo fan and publishes the daily podcast on all things Alexa called Dot to Dot.

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From AI to robots, from apps to wearables – let’s design for everyone, OK?

Robin Christopherson, of leading UK inclusive tech experts AbilityNet, will give us a future-facing overview of designing for every user across the broad range of UIs and platforms of tomorrow. Packed with practical illustrations and demos – attending this one's a no-brainer.

If you’ve not come across him, Robin is a regular inspirational speaker at a wide range of events in Europe and the US, raising awareness of the power and potential of technology to transform people’s lives. His work was recently recognised with the award of an MBE in the 2017 Queen’s new-year honour’s list for services to digital inclusion.



Robin Christopherson: Thank you very much, Marc. Yeah, I can’t see, so I’ve got my screen reading software JAWS going at the front here. It’s a nice sounding lady, not the sort of robotic sounding voice that we used to have, but anyway, if you could up with that, apologies. When we watch video clips later on and I have to plug in the main audio, you’ll hear her, and so you’ll be subjected to her, so apologies for that.

Yeah, this is who I am. AbilityNet is a tech charity in the U.K, so if you want to follow @AbilityNet, and I’m @USA2DAY. Don’t ask why because I’m obviously British, but it’s a long story. Anyway, if you want to follow me on Twitter, then please do. I’ve got a very annoying habit of not showing all of the video clips. I’ll show you all of them, but I won’t show you all of each one, but I will tweet, straightaway afterward, links to everything that I’m going to cover. Don’t worry. Please do have a look at those later on if you’re interested.

What I’m going to talk about is luck. I’m going to start talking about luck, and hopefully, it will become apparent a little bit later on. I’m going to start off with a bit of a poll in the audience. You’re in a bank, and you’re queuing up for the cashier for the window. A bank robber comes in, and he holds up the bank. One thing leads to another, and you end up getting shot in the shoulder. Okay?

Now, hands up. I’ll ask for a volunteer in the front row to be my chief estimator.

John: I’ll do it.

Robin: Okay, good, John. Is that John?

John: Yeah.

Robin: Cool. Okay, so hands up if you are lucky; you’ve just been shot in the shoulder. Hands up.

John: Probably about 30%.

Robin: [Laughter] Okay, then. Can we assume hands up then if that’s, like, the worst thing, that’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you? What do you mean you’re lucky getting shot in the shoulder? Are you mad? Hands up.

John: (Indiscernible)

Robin: A lot more?

John: No, about ten people.

Robin: Oh, brilliant!

Audience: [Laughter]

Robin: Man, I can just stop now, I think. Absolutely. You’re absolutely right. This same question was asked of 100 people in a research project in the States on luck and people’s perceptions of luck.

You’re in a queue. You get shot in the shoulder. Is that lucky? A lot of people, not just a handful -- you guys are amazing. [Laughter] A lot of people said, “What? Are you joking? I could have been killed? Lucky? What?”

A few, actually a very few people said, “No. That is lucky. What do you mean? That’s totally lucky. We could have been killed.” Exactly the same, “We could have been,” but from a completely different angle.

The same group of 100 people were asked individually to look at a magazine, an old looking magazine. In the middle, they had mocked up a half page, really big advert. At the top it said, “Free money,” and then there was a big picture of a $10 bill. Then, underneath, in very small writing it said, “Ask the individualator for your free $10 bill after your told to stop reading this magazine.”

After the three minutes were up, they were told to stop reading. Some, very few people, said, “Can I have my $10, please?” Notice there was a very significant overlap with the people in the other question that felt that they were a lucky person, that was a lucky event, and it’s all about perception.

If you see a big thing saying, “Free money,” a lot of people just didn’t assume. It didn’t fit in with their framework, their kind of mental image of how the world works, so they didn’t read the small print at the bottom. That’s really, really interesting.

Let’s bring it a bit closer to home. You drop your phone. How many people have dropped their phone? Everyone, right? Okay.

Is it lucky when you drop your phone? Here we’ve got a phone landing on the floor. Is that lucky? John?

John: (Indiscernible)

Robin: [Laughter]

John: (Indiscernible)

Robin: Oh, okay.

Audience: [Laughter]

Robin: I’ll give you a bit more info. It’s not broken. Is that lucky?

Audience: Yes.

Robin: Okay. Good. Nice one.

Audience: [Laughter]

Robin: Okay then, but in a way, you guys could have read into this either way. I mean it’s not looking broken, but who knows. Maybe it is. Yeah, so that was lucky. That was a narrow escape, right?

Now? Hands up. You’ve dropped your phone. The screen breaks. Is that lucky?

John: One person, two people.

Robin: Okay.

Audience: [Laughter]

Robin: Let me get this straight. You were shot in the shoulder and that’s lucky. You drop your phone--

Audience: [Laughter]

Robin: Come on, guys.

Audience: [Laughter]

Robin: Okay. [Laughter]

John: …still working?

Robin: Now, you can choose how you want to look at this. The screen is broken. How much is that going to cost to replace? But, is the rest of it working? Probably. When you drop it, “Okay, I was so lucky. It could have dropped on my toe. I could have been in hospital. I could have dropped it in the water. The whole thing would have been a write-off. I’ve just broken the screen. The rest of it still works. A bit of glass could have gone off and blinded me in the eye,” or whatever. You get where I’m coming from here.

Now, let’s really raise the stakes. Okay? People who have got a disability, let’s imagine. I’m not going to say if you had a disability thrust upon you tomorrow, would that be a good thing? I’m not going to go there. Okay? But, what about if you had a disability; you’ve always had a disability?

Well, let me tell you, I won’t ask you to vote on this one. [Laughter] People who have got a disability are amongst the most grateful people and the most optimistic and positive people. If you have a positive outlook on life, you can really shape how things go. It might not be free money handed to you on a daily basis, but it could be so many other opportunities.

Now, people with disabilities are grateful in the U.K. The Health and Safety Executive, a government department, did some research. People with a disability in the workplace are more loyal. They stay longer in their jobs. I’ve been with AbilityNet 21 years. Just grateful to have work. [Laughter] They take less sick leave. And, given the right adaptations, they are as productive as their colleagues, their able-bodied colleagues.

With technology, as we can see here, it really levels the playing field for people with disabilities. Let’s hear from somebody with a disability. This is a lady. I’ll plug in the audio. She’s giving a TED talk, and I’m just going to listen to the first bit. Like I say, very annoying. I’m not going to show you all of this video, but just to give you a flavor.


Audience: [Applause]

Maysoon Zayid: Hello, TED women. What’s up?

Audience: [Cheers]

Maysoon: Not good enough. Hello, TED women! What is up?!

Audience: [Cheers]

Maysoon: My name is Maysoon Zayid, and I am not drunk, but the doctor who delivered me was.

Audience: [Laughter]

Maysoon: He cut my mom six different times in six different directions, suffocating poor little me in the process. As a result, I have cerebral palsy, which means I shake all the time. Look. It’s exhausting. I’m like Shakira meets Muhammad Ali.

Audience: [Laughter]

Maysoon: CP is not genetic. It’s not a birth defect. You can’t catch it. No one put a curse on my mother’s uterus, and I didn’t get it because my parents are first cousins, which they are.

Audience: [Laughter]

Maysoon: It only happens from accidents, like what happened to me on my birthday. Now, I must warn you. I’m not inspirational.

Audience: [Laughter]

Maysoon: And, I don’t want anyone in this room to feel bad for me because, at some point in your life, you have dreamt of being disabled.

Audience: [Laughter]

Maysoon: Come and join in with me. It’s Christmas Eve. You’re at the mall. You’re driving around in circles looking for parking.

Audience: [Laughter]

Maysoon: And, what do you see? Sixteen empty handicap spaces.

Audience: [Laughter]

Maysoon: You’re like, “God, can’t I just be a little disabled?”

Audience: [Laughter]

Maysoon: Also, I’ve got to tell you. I got 99 problems and palsy is just one.

Audience: [Laughter]

Maysoon: If there was an oppression Olympics, I would win the gold medal. I’m Palestinian, Muslim, I’m female, I’m disabled, and I live in New Jersey.

Audience: [Laughter, Applause]

Maysoon: If you don’t feel better about yourself, maybe you should. [Laughter]

Audience: [Laughter]

Robin: I’ll just stop it there. Yeah, have you all wanted to be a little bit disabled? [Laughter] Sometimes. Okay.

She used the word “handicap,” and I don’t know about Germany or other countries, but in the U.K., there is a certain amount of controversy about the word “disabled.” Should you be disabled, or should you be a person with disabilities, so that it doesn’t define who you are. I don’t like either of those, necessarily, because you’re dis-abled. She mentioned handicap, and that’s definitely out of fashion, in the U.K. at least, but I actually quite like it because, if you’ve got a handicap, it actually means that somebody else has imposed that kind of impairment upon you.

Here we’ve got a racehorse. You all know what a handicap is in horseracing, don’t you? It’s where the really good horses end up having to have weights put on them so that it levels the playing field. I like that. I like that idea. It’s the really good ones that get things kind of imposed upon them.

Here we’ve got another notable. In golfing terms, they use the word handicap as well. Here’s Tiger Woods. He has a handicap. Any professional golfer has a handicap, right? Because they’re really good. [Laughter] I like that term. But, if the handicap is something that is completely out of their control, if it’s like an insurmountable obstacle, for example, instead of giving him a number of holes disadvantage, you gave Tiger Woods a piece of celery to play his round rather than a golf club. Then he’s not going to do very well.

Basically, if we can go back to inclusive design, inclusive design is about giving people the breaks, giving them the right adaptations, the right adjustments. I mentioned that, given the right adjustments, people in the workplace with a disability, they can perform as well as anybody else. But, if your applications, if your products, if your gadgets that you are offering to the public are the equivalent of a stick of celery, they’re not going to do very well. They’re really going to struggle.

What we’re going to do -- I’ll plug this back in. Just in case, if anyone in the room that wants a quick recap on the basics of accessibility--apologies for everybody that is already an expert on this--we’re going to start off with a very quick, three-minute kind of whistle-stop tour through sort of a 101 of accessibility.

[Dial-up Internet beeps]


[Jazzy music]

Robin: Okay. I’m going to mute it. I’m not sure what all those cracks are. I wasn’t touching anything.

Audience: [Laughter]

Robin: [Laughter] We’ll see if it’s me or if it’s my laptop because I’ve muted the audio on this video, so I’ll let that run to the end. These are obviously very, very basic concepts, and we’ve hopefully touched upon them in other people’s presentations as well, as we go through this conference.

To create Web products that are going to be inclusive for everyone is really, really important. No more so now than in this mobile-first world. On average, the daily traffic to any given website is over 50% for mobile devices. In some cases, up to 70% to 75%, so we’re in a mobile-first world now. All of these considerations are not now just for disabled people. They’re for every single one of you guys.

Every single one of you are temporarily disabled or impaired on a daily basis. This is because good color contrast is so important on a small screen. A bright, sunny day, you are temporarily motor impaired if you’re holding your phone one-handed while you’re walking along with your cup of coffee in the other hand, et cetera. This is really, really important. But, I’m afraid that even though you’re temporarily disabled, you can’t have that parking space. I’m really sorry. [Laughter]

Yeah. Now, UI is only going to get more and more extreme, so we had the big desktop monitors. Then we went to small mobile in extreme environments. Now let’s watch a quick clip. This is an actual bus stop in London. I’ll explain afterward why I’m showing you this.




Male: I’m telling you. This is how it was, man. There’s a little camera right here.

Robin: You guys design, develop for Web, for mobile. There are going to be so many. There’s going to be a proliferation of platforms of UIs that you’re going to be designing for in the not too distant future. There are technologies out there, and transparent screens with augmented reality layered on top are going to be a thing. They’re going to be everywhere in the next few years. Unless you guys are planning on retiring in the next, you know, 12 to 18 months, you’re going to be looking at what inclusive design -- I hope you’re going to be looking at what inclusive design is going to look like on a number of different platforms.

It was CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, last week and LG was showing off their wrappable displays, their transparent displays.


Caleb Denison: Those of you who follow Digital Trends TV reviews hear us talking about OLED all the time, OLED TV this, OLED TV that. The thing is, OLED can be used for more than just watching television in your home. The display behind me is a great example of that. This is a commercial application of an OLED panel. These are 77-inch OLED panels that have been curved to create this amazing commercial display. This is going to change what it’s like when you go out to shop. You’re going to see these things all over the place.

How do they do that? Why is OLED that much different than the standard LCD TV that you’re used to seeing around? Well, let me show you. This is the best visualization of an LCD display versus an OLED display that I’ve seen yet. You can see that, with an LCD display, there are tons of individual parts.

First, you have the cover or the bottom, which has the LEDs in it themselves. Then you have to point that through a reflector plate. It then goes through a diffuser plate to spread out all that light. In most of today’s displays, you also have a quantum dot sheet that actually changes the nature of the color of the light, so it’s more perfect for the color filter. You’ve got a prism sheet here, which could also be a polarization sheet, another diffuser. Then there is a guide panel and, finally, you get to the LCD panel.

Now, you can sandwich these things together and make it relatively thin. But, by contrast, check out just how thin an OLED panel is. If you’ve got nothing else, it’s that thin. It’s almost as thin as a piece of paper. Not only that, but it’s a little bit flexible. You can bend it without destroying the display. And, it’s also rigid, which allows TV makers to do some pretty spectacular stuff.

Because the OLED display is both flexible and rigid, you can do a lot of fun things with it. Case in point, you can actually turn the display into a sound-making device. Instead of putting speakers inside a display, which makes it very bulky, you can use the display itself to emit sound. What they’ve done here is placed actuators on the panel itself and turned the display into a speaker. You can use multiple actuators to get stereo sound.

As you can see in this demonstration, it’s quite effective. What you see visualized by these beads bouncing up and down are sound waves moving the beads up and down. It has a very full sound to it. It’s certainly more direct to your ears than, say, speakers that are firing towards the ground, so you have more clarity, and it’s still a full-bodied sound with a lot of clear dialog coming at you.

This, I think, is the coup de grace of OLED, transparent OLED. This is something that we started to see in some refrigerators, ovens, but here, in a traditional TV type display, you can imagine all kinds of retail possibilities where the product you’re talking about in the display is actually sitting behind the display. There’s this weird dimensionality going on here. Plus, I think it’s just really, really cool that you can get an actually convincing looking display going on, on a completely transparent panel.

Robin: I’ll just pause it there. You guys all know by now that the color contrast, for example, for a body size text is 4.5:1, for heading size text is 3:1. What on earth is it in a transparent display [laughter] where you don’t know what’s going to be behind it? All of the rules, or many of them, will have to be changed or tweaked, just like they were for mobile, for augmented reality, for transparent displays. You soon won’t be able to go past a single window in a shop, a business, or venue like this without it having advertising or some sort of content delivered through it. What would that look like for inclusive design?

From absolutely massive screens to the smallest conceivable screen, this is a patent but projected to be a reality by 2021.

Male: The future. The Internet is going to be in our contact lens. When the Internet is in our contact lens, you blink and you will go online.


Male: Sony filed a patent in the U.S. for a smart contact lens. The device would not only take photos and video but also store data with no need for a tether to a smartphone. The lens would feature an organic, electroluminescence display screen. By blinking an eye, the user would be able to operate the lens via the display. The camera would feature autofocus, automatic exposure adjustment, and adjustable zoom. The device would also be able to record video, store it, and play it back. The image capture technology and data storage would be held within the lens. Simple piezoelectric sensors would allow the movements of the eye to change the battery of the device. The task now is to fit all of this technology comfortably into the lens.


Robin: It’s all just music from now on, so I’ll mute it and talk over. Wow. This stuff is coming. Now, this is a completely different paradigm. What happens when you’ve got a really small UI? I know what you’re thinking. Well, this won’t fill your whole field of vision. But, unless you’ve got superb eye tracking, i.e. there’s no lag at all as you move your eyes around, you’re looking around a virtual massive screen that fills your whole field of view, but that will only work with very pinpoint eye tracking.

Has anyone used VR and got really, really sick? That’s because the eye tracking isn’t perfect. There’s a lag. It has to be absolutely pinpoint. But, you are getting that with AR. There is a camera. It talked about image capture, so there is a camera built into this. The camera is looking outward to the world. If the camera is able to process images to be able to define the edges, to lock itself in its surroundings and be able to move the virtual image that you’re looking at around, then you could have the biggest imaginable screen in front of you. For someone with a vision impairment, if you had a really massive screen because you needed things to be big, the edges of the screen, the far corners are going to be absolutely miles away, so your vision impairment will not let you see that far. You want to have things big, but really close up, and that’s what something like this promises.

We’ll move on to the health aspects of it. It’s probably gone on to it now. Whether a built-in sensor is for measuring a whole range of different things: heartbeat, blood sugar, et cetera. That, again, from a medical condition point of view would disproportionately benefit people with disabilities and obviously everybody else as well. Have a look at that one. Really, really amazing stuff.

I mentioned about AR and how, if you find the edges of things, then you can lock a visual screen to it or inhabit that space with monsters or whatever it might be. You’ve all seen the demos. Here, Samsung is using that sort of AR smarts to help people with a number of different vision impairments


Jeonghun Cho: [Speaking a foreign language] The idea for this project was sparked by a short article that stated that 92% of visually impaired people consider watching TV their favorite form of entertainment.

Robin: This is like an edited version, so they all jump around a little bit.

Jeonghun Cho: [Speaking a foreign language] At first, I thought his must have been incorrect. Then I discovered that only 14% of the visually impaired are totally blind. The remaining 86% have low vision and are able to determine the difference between light and dark. Therefore, we set out to provide something more approachable and affordable by using smartphones and virtual reality (VR), which are both widely used today.

Yongnam Kim: [Speaking a foreign language] Relumino features four different modes. Regular Mode makes images clear, instead of blurry or murky, by making outlines more visually prominent. Outlines are what enable us to distinguish different objects. This mode highlights them to help people with low vision determine what’s in front of them. Those who have central vision loss experience a blind spot in the center of their visual field. Therefore, they tend to use their peripheral vision, which causes them to direct their gaze diagonally rather than straight ahead. In contrast, people with glaucoma often experience peripheral vision loss, also known as tunnel vision. Image Remapping moves the missing image from the blind spot to a nearby visible area, or places an image so that more of it can be seen within the visible range.


Robin: Stop it there. This is all mainstream tech. This is stuff that everybody else will be using just with a slightly different application. We’ve definitely arrived in the age where gone is the need for specialist gadgets. I used to have to carry a backpack around with a talking notetaker, a talking GPS, a talking MP3 player, a talking barcode scanner, all of these things, and they all needed their own charger. [Laughter] And, they cost hundreds and hundreds of pounds. That’s all replaced now with a single gadget that can do so much more as well. There’s an almost infinite number of apps out there that can be incredibly useful for people with a range of disabilities.

A quick clip of a business report saying about how Amazon -- now we’ve ended 2017, now, so they didn’t come up with the goods as predicted by the end of the year. But, smart glasses and these voice assistants are going to be absolutely everywhere.

Male: Moving slightly higher, up three points at 973. Reportedly, by the way, working on smart glasses as its first wearable device. Does this mean, Nicole Petallides, we’re going to have more people talking to themselves as they walk around on the street?

Female: Could be. Could be.

Male: [Laughter]

Female: And it could happen as soon as the end of this year, actually. We are seeing Amazon stock up about one-third of one percent, but it’s the first wearable device. We have the Echo and all the in-home hardware, which they also are upping by the end of the year.

But, this is smart glasses. Your virtual assistant, Alexa, will be with you. It’s embedded in the glasses, and it connects wirelessly to your smartphone. You’ll actually be able to hear Alexa without earphones because of the bone conduction audio system. This is the same sort of system that allows deafness people to hear, those who are deaf to hear. It helps tech heads to talk. Helps swimmers to hear music underwater, so this is the next foray into something very cool. And, they have the Google Glass founder, who they hired in 2014, helping to lead this project.

Robin: I know Google Glass didn’t do very well, but maybe the time wasn’t right. Smart glasses, amongst other wearables, are definitely here to stay. Maybe soon people won’t be walking around looking at their screen and bumping into things. They’ll be looking into the distance, into the [laughter] -- into the far distance looking at a screen up here, or maybe a contact lens screen in their eye and still be bumping into things. Hopefully, they’ll learn to stand still at that point.

Talking about voice assistance, they’re definitely here to stay. They’re in Germany, right? Echoes? Yeah? Has anyone got one? And those who have them, love them?

Audience member: Yeah.

Robin: They’re really good, really good, and they’re definitely here to stay. In the U.K. store at least, and I hope it’s the same over here, there are 25,000 skills like apps for the Echo. This is 40 pounds. I don’t know how much it is over here, but they are very, very affordable.

Amazon.com in America and Amazon.co.uk in the U.K., over the Christmas period, you know how many millions of products they supply, they have in their store? The Echo Dot, this cheapest version, was the biggest selling product in both of those online websites, so they’re definitely here to stay.

You can tell when something has kind of made its way into the heart of a population when you start getting satirical videos about those products. [Laughter] Nobody creates a video that makes fun of something that nobody cares about, so you know that they have arrived.

There are obvious applications with this incredibly simple UI, just voice in voice out. I know some of them have screens, but not all of them do by any means. In its most simplest form is what they call the conversational Internet where you’re just talking. The UI is distilled right down to something that can be delivered very, very simply and naturally. It has obvious applications for people that find the complexity of other UIs challenging, whether it’s from a vision impairment, cognitive, or just because they’re not particularly very technical.

The older generation have got obvious benefits from these devices. Here’s a satirical look at a version of the Echo that would be specifically aimed at the older, greatest generation.

Audience: [Applause]

Male: The new Amazon Echo has everyone asking Alexa for help.

Older male: Alyssa, what time is it?  What the hell is wrong with this blasted thing? Amanda!

Male: But the latest technology isn’t always easy to use for people of a certain age.

Older male: These kids done bought me a busted machine again. Odessa!

Male: That’s why Amazon partnered with AARP to present the new Amazon Echo Silver, the only smart speaker device designed specifically to be used by the greatest generation. It’s super loud and responses to any name even remotely close to Alexa.


Male: So they can find out the weather.

Older female: Allegra, what is the weather outside?

Alexa: Is it 74 degrees and sunny.

Older female: Huh?

Alexa: It is 74 degrees and sunny.

Older female: Where?

Alexa: Outside.

Older female: What about it?

Alexa: The temperature outside is 74 degrees and sunny.

Older female: I don’t know about that.  


Male: The latest in sports.

Older male: Clarissa, how many did old Satchel strikeout last night?

Alexa: Satchel Paige died in 1982.


Older male: Yeah, how many did he get?

Alexa: Satchel Paige is dead.

Older male: In what, now?

Alexa: Died.  

Older male: Who did?

Alexa: Satchel Paige.  

Older male: Oh. I don’t know about that.


Male: Even local news and pop culture.

Older female: Juanita, what them boys up to across the street?

Alexa: They are just playing.

Older female: They what now?

Alexa: They are just playing.  

Older female: You say they’re just playing now?

Alexa: Yes, they are just playing.

Older female: I don’t know about that.  


Male: Pair it with smart devices like your thermostat.  

Older female: Alexandra, turn the heat up.

Alexa: The room is already 100 degrees.


Older female: Are you trying to kill me, Alizae?

Male: The new Amazon Echo Silver plays all the music they loved when they were young.

Older male: Angela, play black jazz.

Alexa: Playing, uh, jazz.

[Jazz music]

Male: It also has a quick scan feature to help them find things.

Older female: Amelia, where did I put the phone?

Alexa: [Loud exhale] The phone is in your right hand.


Male: And it has an “uh-huh” feature for long, rambling stories.

Older male: But then I gave him five dollars, and he said I only gave him one dollar.

Alexa: Uh-huh.

Older male: I said, I know I gave you a five.


Alexa: Uh-huh.

Older male: Because I only had a five and a one on me.

Alexa: Uh-huh.

Older male: And this is the one dollar right here.

Alexa: Uh-huh.

Older male: So, I mean, you tell me who’s crazy.

Male: Amazon Echo Silver: get yours today. I said, get yours today.

[Loud speaker feedback]

Robin: Ooh, sorry about all the cracks. I’m not doing anything--

[Laughter] You guys hopefully will be getting into scripting your little JSON Amazon skills, incredibly straightforward. Ninety-nine percent of the FTSE 250 brands, the biggest companies in the U.K., have a presence in the Amazon Echo now, so this is definitely a thing. You’re going to be working on it. You’re going to be looking at the conversational Internet and trying to decide what an inclusive experience would look like there.

These devices are being built into everything. At CES, almost every white good and appliance that you can buy had Alexa built into it. Here’s the latest development.

Female: Okay, Google. Stream Stranger Things from Netflix to my TV.

Google Home: Okay. Stranger Things from Netflix playing on TV.

Female: From the people that brought you Google Home comes the next evolution of the smart home, and it’s just outside your window. Meet Google Gnome.

Google Gnome: Hi. How can I help?

Male: Okay, Gnome. What’s the weather like outside?

Google Gnome: The weather outside is sunny and 76 degrees.

Male: He’s right.

Female: Okay, Gnome. Turn on the hose I’m holding.

Google Gnome: Sure.

[Water flowing]

Male: Okay, Gnome. Can I eat this lemon tree leaf?

Google Gnome: Yes.

Male: What about this daisy?

Google Gnome: Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Male: Okay, but I could eat it.

Female: Okay, Gnome, add milk to my shopping list.

Google Gnome: I’m sorry. That sounds like an indoor request.

Female: [Laughter] I keep doing that. Sorry.

Google Gnome: You do keep doing that.

Female: [Laughter]

Male: Okay, Gnome. Uh, is this compost?

Google Gnome: Really, we’re all compost if you think about it. Pretty much everything is made up of organic matter and will return to organic matter.

[Loud wind]

Male: So just regular trash then?

Female: Off. On. Off. On. On. Ah! Okay.

Audience: [Laughter]

Robin: Okay, so that was another satirical one, but they are absolutely everywhere. Now Carla is going to talk next about all kinds of robots, but I would need to include robotics and the potential that they have for obviously mainstream applications, as well as industry, as well as military applications, but there is an obvious direct application for people with disabilities as well. Here’s a very quick clip of Jeff Bezos showing a kind of Iron Man suit scenario.


Jeff Bezos: Why do I feel so much like Sigourney Weaver?

Audience: [Laughter]


Robin: I must finish off by talking about autonomous vehicles, which are literally around the corner. Forgive the pun. At CES, General Motors, GM--can’t get much bigger car manufacturer than GM--announced that by 2019 they will have a fully autonomous--that’s Level V--enabled vehicle, so we just need legislation and general sort of user acceptance to catch up. But, 2019 is looking like the date that will go down in history when the first commercial, fully autonomous vehicle will hit the roads. There are obvious implications for people with disabilities, so let’s watch a quick clip. This is a Toyota kind of prototype that envisage what their vehicles that might be the one that you would, a bit like Uber. I know you have Uber here. Uber Assist is a flavor of Uber that people can call if they have a wheelchair or if they need an accessible vehicle. This is what Toyota would see as being the vehicle that people could call.

Again, it’s edited.

[Air flow]


Female: I didn’t think I could drive myself all the way out here.

Car: You can go anywhere you like.

Female: Yeah.

[Futuristic music]

Robin: You may well be designing experiences for autonomous vehicles for users. It might be on the windows. It might be on the screens built in. People will definitely be using their own handheld devices as they’re driving along, and they’re going to be motor impaired as the car bumps along on bumpy roads, et cetera, so you really will need to be thinking about what an inclusive experience looks like within cars.

However lucky that individual who is trying to hail an autonomous vehicle is or feels they are, if the app, for example, that they have to use to hail and Uber isn’t inclusive or the car doesn’t announce itself when it pulls up at the curve if they’re a blind person, for example, or it doesn’t give them updates as they’re driving along, I certainly don’t want to get out in the middle of traffic, a traffic light for example, thinking I’ve reached my destination. However lucky you feel, you definitely are going to be challenged, significantly challenged in your life opportunities.

I’ll bring up the final slide. This is basically just to say that going right back to the beginning and the outlook that we can choose to have on life, how lucky we feel, and how grateful we feel going forward could really change what sort of a 2018 and further into the future we will have. If you guys choose to embrace inclusive design to get to grips with accessibility and not think of it as a bolt-on but think of it as something that will actually apply, because it will, to every single user in this mobile-first world and going forward as UIs just get more and more prolific and diverse, then however lucky you feel, you’re actually going to be making other people lucky too. Thank you.

Audience: [Applause]