Toward TechnoAccess: A narrative review of disabled and aging experiences of using technology to access the arts

This paper presents a narrative literature review that addresses the issue of how disabled and aging people access the arts through technology. Our review synthesized 56 studies about disabled and aging people’s experiences of access through technology, with a focus on methods used and accounts of user experiences/stories to inform a Canadian research and development initiative called Accessing the Arts. We urge designers and developers to consider the complex, multimodal sociotechnical relationships surrounding technology and access—or TechnoAccess—as they develop technology with disability, aging and access in mind. Although existing evidence offers ways to improve everyone’s access to the arts, recommendations are provided for research around access and technology as an inherently politicized topic that must be informed by disabled and aging people’s intersectional cultural experiences, including how they wish to use technology to access the arts.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Authors: Chelsea Temple Jones, Carla Rice, Margaret Lam, Eliza Chandler, Karen Jiwon Lee

Originally published in Technology in Society, Volume 65, May 2021.

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  • Research around access and technology for disabled and aging people is political.
  • Disabled and aging people’s access to art is impacted by available technology.
  • Methods and theories applied in UX research aimed at disabled and aging users is wide-reaching.
  • Stories of access experiences demonstrate that developing technology is not a singular, easily achievable task.
  • Developers must consider access as they develop tech-based solutions for and with disabled and aging people.