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Abstract

Background and Objectives: Mada, Qatar's Center for Assistive Technology, is a non-profit organization that strives to empower and enable people with disabilities through ICT. During late 2011 and early 2012, Mada conducted research to identify barriers to accessibility in Qatar Methods: In the survey, the key groups of respondents were identified including disabled people themselves. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods were applied. The results were validated through the Assistive Technology Research Forum formed by Mada, which analyzed the survey results and gave additional input. These were further validated in discussions with disabled people's organizations as part of the input to the Mada future strategy. Results: The survey indicated the following major results: *People with visual impairment had both a high awareness and usage rate. *People with physical and hearing disabilities were very aware of available assistive technology but the usage rate was still low. *People with learning disabilities were not aware of available assistive technology and hence the usage rate was unsurprisingly low. Based on these findings, the AT Research Forum identified the following priority areas, which could potentially have a very high impact on barriers to accessibility in Qatar: *Arabic crowd sourced free symbol set *Improved statistical source on needs and a registry for easy user communication *Development of a free Arabic text to speech. *Wayfinding technologies for the blind incorporating enhanced technologies in emergency situations *Research into enhanced literacy amongst the deaf community when provided with text based communication solutions In addition, it was possible to highlight some crucial issues that which impeded uptake of technology, including: *The lack of accessible Arabic digital content *The limitations of current OCR technologies *The lack of useful Arabic continuous speech *Arabic word prediction and the lack of a significant available corpus Conclusions: The areas identified are fundamental projects with a very high impact in Qatar. They would best be addressed through collaboration and funding. Such collaborations bridge the private and academic sectors with specialist input from an organization supporting disabled people such as Mada.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarf.2012.CSP23
2012-10-01
2019-10-19
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http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/papers/10.5339/qfarf.2012.CSP23
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