Good for all...?

It feels like an over-used cliché - claiming that what is necessary for some is good for all (or many). Those who already support the concept of design for all do not need the argument, while those who do not, will not be persuaded by punchy slogans. But still, I have to try one more time because this example is particularly clear. At least it is to me.

Susanna Laurin

Title: Chief Research and Innovation Officer

There is a service called real time captioning, or written interpretation. This means that an actual person transcribes what is said to written text simultaneously. Essentially, it’s used at conferences, physical and digital meetings. It's incredibly impressive how much these pros perceive, and sometimes a little depressing to subsequently read your own parlance. It's not always I’m as stringent that I imagine...

Real time captioning is of course a typical "accessibility - thingy" that you usually don’t see anywhere outside our niched world. It’s a great service for people with different needs; concentration difficulties, memory problems, hearing loss, and more. Also, people using reading support technology can go back to the file and get the conversation read out aloud afterwards.

A true help in everyday life

I’m now getting to my point: this is a great tool for me as well - even though I don’t fit into any of the categories above. In my job, I often have long video-, Skype and phone conferences with persons from all over the world. Like myself, they often have another language than English as their mother tongue, and most likely a different English accent than my own. Furthermore we often interrupt each other. It’s difficult to discern who said what if you’re not familiar with everyone's voices, it's hard to hear what is said at times because the technology is not perfect and sometimes the pace is simply too fast to perceive everything when dealing with a foreign language. For me it’s a huge profit to get the call in written interpretation at the same time!

Written interpretation allows me to go back to the things I might have missed or misunderstood without disturbing everyone else. It allows me to get a cup of coffee without the risk of missing something important and it almost eliminates my troubles with understanding technical terms in a foreign language. Moreover, it’s often the pronunciation that makes it difficult, not the word itself. And when I get it in writing, I can google terms without losing face. For me, this is an invaluable service in all international contexts. And I'm not the only one to think so.

A good investment provides more

One of the most common comments we get at Funka Accessibility Days is the great value of written interpretation. This despite the fact that we provide simultaneous translation to and from English, Swedish and Norwegian. Last year, we even received a suggestion: to investigate the level of understanding after conferences providing written interpretation in relation to conferences without this service. It would be interesting to test - maybe we’ll get the chance to do so sometime.

But until there is scientific evidence, I urge you to try for yourself! Before you have experienced the difference, you have no idea what design for all really is about. I promise.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to learn more about Funka’s concept on accessible conferences, and connect with our very competent conference partners. 

P.S. A spot-on but unfortunately not accessible description on why physical meetings beat phone conferences can be found on YouTube, opens in new window

Related chronicles by Susanna Laurin

  • Accessibility is moving forward – believe it or not

    6 May 2019

    Sometimes progress is hard to spot if you are in the middle of the whole thing. It might be useful to take a step back and reflect on all the different things going on in our business. The evolution is quite impressive, says Funka's Research and Innovation Officer.

  • Focus on elderly users

    7 February 2019

    Funka's CEO Susanna Laurin reports from a debate in the European Parliament and international standardization that deals with the inclusion of elderly in IT development.

  • Thanks for another amazing year!

    29 November 2018

    Another year of accessibility work is coming to an end. Funkas’ Susanna Laurin writes about the importance of positive feedback and the need to give appreciation to those who do the right thing.

  • Between hope and despair

    14 August 2018

    Monitoring and possible fines can be a driving force for accessibility. But at the same time, threats can mean that services are taken down. How do we make sure that legislation increases accessibility?

  • Make sure accessibility is afloat

    29 May 2018

    Funka's Susanna Laurin sees similarities between working with accessibility and taking care of a wooden boat. Both activities require patience and the results can make many people happy.

  • Germany Inclusion Days in Berlin

    5 December 2017

    The International Day of Disabled Persons keeps us busy in all our markets. This year we contribute to the Inclusion Days program in Berlin, Germany.

  • It's time to put our feet down!

    8 November 2017

    A judicial precedent now allows for a tighter interpretation of the Swedish law on support and services for certain disabled people. This may mean that many people lose their right to personal assistance. Do we really want people to be denied a worthy life on equal terms with others?

  • Accessible summer greetings

    12 June 2017

    As the sun glistens in the ocean, the birds wake me up in the early mornings and life gets a little easier once sunshine and warm weather turn our latitudes into paradise, a report on digitization makes me even more happy.

  • Funka in the U.S.

    6 March 2017

    We are always interested in what is going on in our market. When two conferences on accessibility, gaming and assistive technology happens in the same week, the agenda is filling up.

  • The eternal question of cost

    7 February 2017

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin reports from an EU conference on accessibility and legislation in Brussels. The focus is, as usual, on the economy.

  • To recycle consultants

    6 January 2017

    Two of our very competent consultants have tried their wings with our clients and then chosen to come back to Funka. Naturally, we're very excited and we've asked Oskar and Karin to tell us a little bit about their experiences.

  • 10 years with the UNCRPD

    8 December 2016

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin ponders what we celebrate on the international day of persons with disabilities. Accessibility seems - more than ever - a moving target.

  • An international perspective on accessibility

    4 July 2016

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin is reporting on an exciting meeting of experts from all over the world, at the US Access Board in Washington.

  • Report from the European eAccessibility Forum in Paris

    17 June 2016

    The French association for the visually impaired, BrailleNet, arrange an annual conference on digital accessibility. The theme for the 2016 edition was the internet of things. Funka’s own Susanna Laurin is reporting from the conference.

  • The dangers of legislation

    10 March 2016

    An unsettling trend is happening in the U.S.: by using legislation as a battering ram lawyers are making money, but inaccessibility persist.

  • There’s hope for the future

    30 November 2015

    Susanna Laurin's reflections on the situation for people with disabilities face in the world today.

  • Integrity and culture

    11 September 2015

    Funka’s CEO Susanna Laurin reflects on cultural differences between Spain and Sweden, personal integrity and how badly things can get, even when you try your hardest to do the right thing.

  • While we are enjoying it

    18 June 2015

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin considers trends in accessibility and the fact that we no longer have much time to reflect.

  • When technology can make a difference

    18 March 2015

    Different safety and technology aspects are being brought up as arguments against e-voting, but these problems must be possible to overcome. Funka's Susanna Laurin takes some time to reflect upon the democratic perspective of e-voting and today's broad lack of accessibility.

  • A mutual admiration society

    29 October 2014

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin questions why accessibility and user experience experts are so eager to talk to people with similar opinions. Would it not be better to let different views and opinions meet to bring about change?

  • Sunny days, but no time to be lazy

    19 June 2014

    We look back at a hectic period and look forward to even more work. But first of all, we will enjoy the summer holidays.

  • Funka Christmas letter 2013

    20 December 2013

    Susanna Laurin, Funka, sums up a busy year. A year of continued growth, continued expansion in Norway and a new office in Madrid.

  • Why WCAG is not enough

    25 October 2013

    It is leaning towards legislation on web accessibility in the EU. Funka's Susanna Laurin takes a closer look at what the guidelines that almost everyone is pointing towards actually entail for the users.