Reviews

“Starting off with a set [of] excellent introductory chapters to the worlds of accessibility, disability, demographics and attitudes, including a definition of the term ‘digital outcast’, which I was unaware of, this book is very readable throughout. Kel Smith obviously knows his stuff … This is a wise book that accepts that disability, like ability, is abounding with nuances and variation, and Smith admits that it is behaviour that has to be focused upon rather than any device.”

~Dr. Mick Phythian MBCS, CITP, BCS Chartered Institute for IT (nine out of ten)
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“Kel Smith makes a significant contribution to the subject of user experience in this easily read but important treatise. Written in a broad nontechnical style, the book makes a compelling case for universal design, a concept far more expansive than the more common notion of handicapped-accessible technology. The information here will be challenging and profitable, not only for designers but also for anyone associated with advancing computer technology … Smith asks us to rethink the meaning of design and consider how we might make our designs seamlessly inclusive.”

~Brad Reid, ACM Computing Review (Editor’s Pick)
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“Where this book succeeds the most is in its ability to cast accessibility as an inclusive design principle-which, if properly wielded, could lead to revolutionary technologies that addresses the needs of all populations. While illustrating this again and again, Kel returns to the foremost concern that matters when we consider product design: be it web sites, mobile applications, neural interfaces, devices in new, unforeseen categories, or revisions to existing products or services, there is simply one thing that cannot be forgotten—that is ‘people.'”

~Pratik Patel, EZ Fire
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“It has been a very broadening experience to read this book. I am a blind person who has been involved with assistive technology since 1980, and with rehab teaching since 2002. This book is really helping me expand my understanding of what inclusive design means for everyone. It is a very informative book!”

~Tom Dekker, CITP, Good Reads (five out of five stars)
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“There are many issues involved when designing any piece of computer software or hardware that has to interact with human beings and there are unique issues when the human in question has physical or cognitive challenges such as low vision, autism, hearing loss, or any other condition that may invalidate some of the expectations engineers and designers often have about the end user of a technology. Smith refers to people who fall significantly outside of these expectations as digital outcasts and offers the reader an analysis of the many and varied issues that need to be addressed to allow these people to make better use of new technology. The intended reader is anyone attempting to either create more accessible technology for use by the disabled, or has an interest in novel ways that things like virtual reality, computer games, and assistive devices can be used in medicine to treat a variety of disabilities and assist in patient rehabilitation. The book concludes with a series of chapters on socially and environmentally responsible design and thinking ahead to the future in which digital devices will become ever more integrated into daily life and even the human body itself.”

~Reference & Research Book News, Slashdot
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“While the accessibility of technology is getting better every year, there are still many challenges ahead. Digital Outcasts: Moving Technology Forward without Leaving People Behind articulately and passionately details the groundwork, itemizes what needs to be done, and implores the reader to do something to ensure this trend continues. This book is an important read for everyone.”

~Ben Rothke, Slashdot
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“[I]nnovation doesn’t come for the sake of it — it only comes in the name of passion, love, and devotion. I’d recommend anyone read this book because it’s not just about the technology sector or people with disabilities. It’s about a better way for us to think about technology and innovation. We must listen seriously to what the author has to say.”

~Noah Fang, Amazon consumer review (five out of five stars)
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“Digital outcasts are defined by Kel Smith as ‘those with physical and cognitive challenges left behind in the technological juggernaut that has defined that last quarter century.’ The technology world wants everyone to be united in some fashion and to be able to share skills that are related to the tech world, especially regarding internet technology. We want to have everyone on the same playing field. We do not anyone left behind. We want to share our experiences and knowledge with the populace of the world. However, we obviously have many challenges to overcome.”

~Phil Olive, Serious Wonder
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