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Priorities for Standardisation of Accessible User Interfaces

19th January 2012

This seminar concentrated on user interfaces for public terminals such as cash dispensers, ticket selling machines, access control systems, check-in terminals at medical centres, information kiosks and voting terminals in polling stations. The output from this seminar will be used to formulate a workplan for future work for CEN TC224 WG6 “User Interfaces”.

10:00 Introduction by the chairman (Julian Jones)
10:15 Lessons from the Snapi Project (Mick Davies, LASSeO)
10:45 The APSIS4all Implementations of EN 1332 Standards (Jose Martinez, Technosite)
11:30 The Cardiac Roadmap on Future Research on Accessible User Interfaces (Julio Abascal, University of the Basque Country)
12:00 Future User Interface Issues for Biometric Systems (Julian Jones)
1:30 Accessibility of Future Mobile Interfaces (Mike Short, Telefonica Europe)
2:00 Future Developments in User Interfaces and the Implications for People with Disabilities (Martin Maguire, Loughborough University) Additional notes
2:45 Group working

The seminar was organised by CEN TC224 WG6 in collaboration with the Cardiac project.


The six speakers at the joint BSI-CARDIAC seminar held on the 19th of January 2012, at the British Standards Institute in London touched on a wide variety of emerging trends in user interaction with a view of trying to identify which of these trends will most influence the need for new standards over the whole range of terminals (bank ATMs, supermarket terminals, ticket and vending machines, home appliances, computer terminals, etc.).

Some of the trends in user interfaces highlighted by Martin Maguire of Loughborough University, included the move towards ‘touch’ as a predominant mode of interaction, the potential for increased use of voice communication, the use of gesturing and emotional communication and the possibility of interaction on large surfaces (tables or windows for example). From an infrastructure point of view, the trends are moving towards having less networks but more services. The bandwidth forecasts shown by Mike Short of Telefonica underlined the rising demands and in particular the growth in bandwidth needed for connected devices, dongles and high-end smartphones over the next 5 years to 10 years.

The latest trends in biometrics presented by Julian Jones, showed the wide variety of technologies being applied. Whether it be face, finger, iris, vascular, hand geometry or voice recognition, biometrics are going to play an increasing role as a means of identification in a wide area of applications and contexts. This is an area that may well  require further standardisation in the future.

The priorities for future research highlighted by Julio Abascal of the University of the Basque country, include ubiquitous computing beyond Human Computer Interaction (HCI), innovative user interfaces, user modelling and adaptive interfaces, design methodologies and tools, interoperability and research on reducing cognitive load. Initial analysis of the CARDIAC user interaction ‘influence tree’ indicates supporting research that looks at how to reduce the complexity of user interaction whilst retaining functionality will assist the analysis of the cognitive load of various user interfaces whilst also supporting the development and enforcement of standardized and harmonized remote HCI’s.

One common theme to emerge was the importance of user preferences and personalisation. This can be of particular importance to a wide variety of users and indeed all users can benefit from interfaces adapting to their preferences and habits. The coding of user requirements is of course addressed in the CEN EN1332-4 standard. Mike Davies of LASSeO, described how the SNAPI project is using this standard to deliver accessibility by allowing users to set up their own preferences. The European FP7 project APSIS4all is also aiming to personalise Public Digital Terminals for all through the implementation of EN-1332. Jose Martinez of Technosite gave an example of how this personalisation is being implemented in the Spanish bank, La Caixa. However, in view of recent technological trends and the widespread support (and enthusiasm expressed during the seminar) for this standard, it is important that it be extended to cover XML. The APSIS4all project has developed the coding and this could form the basis of a normative annexe.

It is interesting to note that this standard came from the SATURN project under the Bridge phase of the EU-TIDE programme back in 1994, which just goes to show important the timescale is when it comes to assessing the success and impact of research programmes. This example also shows the importance of following through to ensure the implementation and adoption of standards. “Standards don’t deploy themselves” to quote Mike Davies. The ability to demonstrate how the system works is also crucial ingredient in the successful uptake and deployment.


If you would like to participate in this working group on user interfaces (CEN TC224 WG6), you need to be nominated by your national standards organisation.