Practices in Enabling Technologies (PiET) Lab

UX Research and Design
Practices in Enabling Technologies lab located at York University is focused on accessibility and assistive technologies.
I have been a member of the PiET lab since Sep 2018 and have been working under supervision of Prof. Melanie Baljko on several projects designing more accessible technologies with a focus on technologies for people with disabilities.
Projects I Contributed to:
  • Open-Source Assistive Technologies and Making Making Accessible
  • SmART Study Toolbox
  • Treasure Box Braille
This project focuses on the social construction of assistive technologies and seeks to intervene via the development of techniques and platforms that create new and improved paths of inclusion for the creation of ATs using maker methods and personal-scale fabrication. My master's thesis contributed to this research through investigating the available techniques for increasing inclusion in the design process and questioning the status quo of the decision making process in the open-source communities. I introduced a persona technique for increasing inclusion of the people with impairments and their close circle of friends and family members in the design process of OS AT. In addition to the improved persona technique, I propose a model for decision making in the process of the design of OS ATs.
Open Source Assistive Technologies and Making Making Accessible
Sep 2018 — Present
The Smartphone Accommodation Resource Toolbox (SmART) is an online platform that supports the use of video production and interactive feedback tools for teaching and learning. I worked in a team led by Prof. Melanie Baljko and Prof. Iris Epstein, creating a usability evaluation framework for the SmART Toolbox. The usability testing framework consisted of three main parts of pretest, test, and post-test. In thepretest, we conducted a survey to examine the initial technical knowledge of the students in making and editing videos. After the students got familiar and worked with the toolbox over the course of a semester, we had another round of surveys to evaluate their progress in making and creating videos. By analyzing the data, we found the main trends that led us to creating the main user profiles of students using the system. Representative students were chosen to conduct a usability testing session following the think aloud protocol. This yielded the main struggles and issues the main user profiles had when using the SmART Toolbox.
SmART Study Toolbox
Sep 2019 — Jun 2020
Treasure Box Braille was a DIY assistive technology designed by the PiET lab to help children with vision impairments learn Braille. I contributed to the 3-D deisgn of the box, creating scenarios, and creating tutorial videos for preparing the needed circuits, soldering the elements, and 3-D printing the box. This system was design through a participatory practice with a member of the lab who also has vision impairments.
Treasure Box Braille
Sep 2018 — Dec 2019