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Proposal for a W3C Workshop on Inclusive XR

Workshop on Inclusive XR

Building on the W3C Workshop on Web and Virtual Reality (VR) in 2016, and the W3C Workshop on VR Authoring in 2017, this is a proposal for a W3C Workshop on Inclusive Virtual and Augmented Reality (XR).

XR gives us the opportunity to innovate and explore, and to create new and exciting experiences for consumers. It also presents us with the opportunity to innovate and explore ways to make sure that those experiences are new and exciting for everyone.

Inclusive XR

Inclusive XR is XR that has been created with Inclusive Design as a core component. According to the Inclusive Design Principles, Inclusive Design is about "putting people first":

"It's about designing for the needs of people with permanent, temporary, situational, or changing disabilities - all of us really.">

Purpose of the workshop

The workshop seeks to achieve three key things:

  • Identify the opportunities that Inclusive XR creates;
  • Understand the challenges that Inclusive XR presents;
  • Explore innovative solutions for Inclusive XR.

Identify Inclusive XR opportunities

The purpose of this is to look at ways that XR itself might be the solution to existing inclusive challenges. For example, could XR:

  • Provide a safe place for someone whose cognitive disability means they are often overwhelmed by their real environment?
  • Help a blind person understand more about their real-world environment?
  • Encourage older people to engage in activities designed to stimulate their cognitive functions?
  • Help post-injury patients rehabilitate, by building mobility and improving co-ordination?
  • Teach Deaf people Sign Language in an engaging environment, where text and motion are the primary forms of interaction?

Understand Inclusive XR challenges

The purpose of this is to look at the challenges XR may present to people from different groups. For example, how does:

  • Someone who is mobility impaired interact with a XR environment?
  • Someone who is blind identify locations and objects within an XR environment?
  • Someone whose cognitive disability means they find learning or memory retention difficult, process the complexities of a XR environment?
  • Someone who is Deaf access audio information in real-time, inside a XR environment?

Explore Inclusive XR solutions

The purpose of this is to look at the ways XR itself is an opportunity, and ways XR represents a challenge, and explore creative and innovative solutions. For example:

  • Could AI be used to provide real-time audio description or text captions?
  • Could existing APIs be used to provide alternative modes of interaction (like the Vibration API for tactile feedback, the Gamepad API for alternative input devices)?
  • What new technologies do we need to create to solve the challenges or make the opportunities happen?

Workshop participation

The W3C Workshop on Inclusive XR brings together a diverse set of specialists and consumers. The workshop includes specialists in XR (content authoring and platform development), user Experience (UX), Accessibility, and Interaction Design, as well as people with permanent, temporary, situational, and changing disabilities.

Workshop structure

<The W3C Workshop on Inclusive Design is two days, with a third optional day.

Day 1

The first day sets the scene and provides a framework of knowledge to support the rest of the workshop.

Themes for the talks include:

  • XR content authoring;
  • XR platform development;
  • Accessibility mechanics and engineering;
  • Consumer needs for Inclusive XR;
  • UX and Interaction Design for XR.

Day 2

The second day of the workshop is an unconference format that facilitates exploration of the workshop's goals.

Possible sessions for unconference sessions include:

  • Developing user requirements for inclusive XR;
  • Developing use cases for inclusive XR;
  • Identifying inclusive design gaps in existing XR technologies;
  • Identifying technical gaps in inclusive XR projects.

Day 3

The third day of the workshop is an opportunity to start prototyping and developing ideas and solutions identified during the first two days of the workshop. Participants who wish to remain for this practical third day, should form groups consisting of people with different specialities and people from different consumer groups.

Workshop logistics

The W3C Workshop on Inclusive XR will need a host venue, with suitable hotel accommodation on-site or close to the venue. Sponsorship may be needed to cover all or some of the following:

  • Venue;
  • Catering (lunch);
  • Catering (tea/coffee);
  • Assistance for under-represented groups;
  • Social activities.
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