Co-Creating Smartphone Interfaces with People With Learning Disabilities to enable all users.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


Despite the potential of smartphones, usage of the Internet is particularly low amongst people with learning disabilities (PWLD). Indeed, 30% of disabled adults are non-users (ONS, 2014). This research aims to embed the experiential knowledge of PWLD in the specification of smartphone interfaces, from understanding the role of the device and end-user need, to optimising user focused solutions, encouraging long term adoption and minimising technology barriers.It is argued, and demonstrated through the poster, that co-development results in innovation that benefits all by exposing typically hidden experiences. Interface Design in Assistive Technology (AT) tends to be developer and engineering led. In contrast, socially inclusive co-creation methods support embedding real experience in the development process. Co-creation promotes user impact and shared leadership of the output to avoid the stigma associated with traditional AT; identifying not only what is needed but, importantly, aspirational. This research seeks to: Co-create smartphone interfaces for PWLD Implement a methodology with PWLD to work together as co-researchers Validate the creative approach with developers and designersThe implementation of the methodology involved working with co-researchers at Communicate2u, a Social Enterprise working with PWLD to: Understand research processes e.g. informed consent, confidentiality Develop shared ways of working and adapt to group dynamics To vocalise ideas on technology Explore the role of the smartphone for PWLD Challenge preconceptions about smartphone users To co-develop the presented posterExperiential design stemming from the voice of PWLD, when applied to a responsive, digital interface should enable all users to communicate with ease.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWell-being 2016
Subtitle of host publicationBook of Proceedings
EditorsRichard Coles, Sandra Costa, Sharon Watson
Place of PublicationBirmingham, UK
PublisherBirmingham City University
ISBN (Print)978-1-904839-87-3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2016
EventWellbeing Conference 2016: Co-creating pathways to well-being - Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sept 20166 Sept 2016


ConferenceWellbeing Conference 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

Published in conference proceedings book. This book is available to download on the conference website.


  • co-creation
  • learning-disabilities
  • smartphones
  • interfaces


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