Creating an Inclusive World:
Editor’s Note: Blog Post follows this time-sensitive volunteer opportunity for individuals who are blind or partially sighted and are involved in monitoring or trading in the stock market. Posted on July 14, 2023.
My name is Jano Fu, a Master’s student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University, working on the IMAGE project (http://image.a11y.mcgill.ca), supervised by Professor Jeremy Cooperstock. We are presently tackling the problem of rendering multi-modal experiences to represent charts, aiming to enhance the accessibility and usability of stock trading platforms. To better understand the unique experiences and challenges faced by stock traders living with vision loss, we are seeking volunteers with some experience in this area who are willing to participate in an approximately one-hour interview. Our hope is to identify specific functionality that we may support to improve participation in financial market trading by individuals living with blindness or low vision. If you are interested and available, please let me know by reply email, indicating preferred dates and times that work for you over the coming weeks. If you would like additional information about the study or have any questions, please feel free to let us know by replying to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gateway Navigation's Journey
Six years ago, Gateway Navigation set out on a mission to create a more accessible and inclusive world. By applying human-centered design principles to inclusive audio-based emerging technologies, our initial focus was on indoor wayfinding applications using Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons in the built environment. However, as the landscape of accessibility tools and applications evolved, so did our approach. In the past three years, we have shifted our focus to leverage innovations in mapping technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and open-source code. This transformation has been made possible through strategic collaborations and partnerships with leading innovation hubs, industry, and academic institutions. At Gateway, we are committed to showcasing solutions that promote universal availability, provide free access to end-users, offer low economic costs for providers, and deliver sustainable and easily accessible applications at scale.
A Shift in Focus:
While keeping abreast of advancements made by companies and organizations in developing accessibility tools for accessing BLE beacons on iOS and Android devices, Gateway Navigation recognized the potential of integrating emerging technologies to create more inclusive experiences. This realization led us to pivot towards leveraging indoor digital mapping, Artificial Intelligence / Large Language Models, and open-source architecture. While incorporating audio and haptic feedback for the user experience, we aimed to enhance the accessibility of digital technologies in both virtual and physical environments for everyone.
Strategic Collaborations and Partnerships:
Gateway Navigation's ability to make this shift in focus and drive meaningful change was greatly expanded by collaborations with prominent innovation hubs and academic institutions. These strategic partnerships and collaborations include the ongoing IMAGE Project with the Shared Reality Lab at McGill University, exploring assistive technology innovations through the Digital Cities Testbed Centre network, which includes the University of British Columbia, Portland State University, and the University of Washington. Additionally, noteworthy contributions came from student-led projects at Cadillac Fairview's Waterfront Station in Vancouver and YVR domestic arrival terminal - Vancouver International Airport. Through a program run in conjunction with the British Columbia Institute of Technology's Universal Design initiative. All of these collaborations have enabled Gateway and our network of advisors to broaden our expertise, garner valuable research support, and access the necessary resources to push the boundaries of inclusivity.
Cutting-Edge Technology and Best Practices:
To achieve our vision of an inclusive world, Gateway Navigation works with cutting-edge technologies, incorporates best practices, actively engages end-user feedback, and whenever possible adheres to industry / National standards. The integration of AI, particularly large language models, provides the potential for expanded intelligent assistance, natural language interaction, and personalized experiences. Additionally, we are committed to human-centered design best practices and the philosophy of "nothing about us, without us," promoting transparency, collaboration, and community benefit.
Promoting Universal Availability and Accessibility:
At Gateway Navigation, our ultimate goal is to make inclusive technologies accessible to all. To achieve this, we prioritize universal availability, providing solutions that can be accessed by anyone regardless of their background, abilities, or resources. By offering free access to end-users, we break down barriers and empower individuals to engage with their environment and digital spaces more effectively. Simultaneously, we strive to minimize economic costs for providers, ensuring that organizations and businesses can embrace inclusive technologies without significant financial burdens.
To create a lasting impact, it is essential to deliver sustainable and easily accessible applications at scale. Gateway Navigation is actively involved in showcasing and implementing solutions that address the needs of diverse users and environments. By collaborating with industry trailblazers, innovation hubs, and academic institutions, we gain valuable insights, conduct rigorous testing, and refine our understanding of technologies to ensure they meet the highest standards of quality and accessibility. Through ongoing research and development, we continuously iterate and improve our and industry applications, expanding their reach and impact.
Six years since its founding, Gateway Navigation has evolved from focusing on indoor wayfinding applications using BLE beacons to becoming a driving force in creating inclusive experiences through inclusive digital mapping, AI integration, and open-source architecture. Through strategic collaborations and partnerships, we have harnessed cutting-edge technology and best practices to promote universal availability, provide free access to end-users, minimize economic costs for providers, and deliver sustainable and easily accessible applications at scale. With unwavering dedication to our mission, we actively contribute to building a more accessible and inclusive world for all people.
Gateway Navigation Universal Design Community
In addition to community chat and forums. Our Community will be organizing monthly workshops. Over the first six months, we will explore GTFS Pathways and Inclusive Digital Mapping; Climate Resilience Integrating Inclusion; ChatGPT, the Good, the Bad, and the Unknown; Carbon Footprints in the Cloud; Universal Design in the Built Environment; and IMAGE, a Case Study in Open-Source Code. Please contact us to learn more about the workshops or have suggestions for future topics at email: email@example.com.
Thank you for your time and support,
- David Brun
- Director / Co-Founder
- Gateway Navigation CCC Ltd.
- A Social Impact Company
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org