CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited
As the first issue of 2019 and the first issue since I took over at Editor of the Journal of Enabling Technologies, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself (and some new additions to the Editorial Board), thank a range of people and provide an overview of the content in this issue.
I took over the Editorship of JET on 1 January 2019 from Professor Sarah Parsons and Dr John Woolham who have helped to shape and move the newly named journal ahead during their time as Editors. Under their tenure the journal has gone from strength to strength and I take over the journal in an excellent position with a solid profile in the field. I, and the Editorial Board, are very grateful for their hard and diligent work in leading the development of JET having taken over from Dr Chris Abbott (the founding Editor). I can confidently say that they have firmly established the newly named journal during their editorship. Therefore, I feel honoured and trusted to be asked to take on this role and hope to be able to build on the work of Sarah and John (and Chris before them). I look forward to continuing to take the journal forward in publishing high-quality work helping to enable a range of users through technology. We are also fortunate to retain both Sarah and John as Editorial Board Members.
I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome three new members to the Editorial Board. Dr Sung and Dr Kuo join us from the States while Dr Fabri joins from the UK. Dr Connie Sung is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University and works in the Department of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies and Dr Hung Jen Kuo, from California State University, is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education where here he is involved in several projects concerning educational projects for transition-aged individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr Marc Fabri from Leeds Beckett University, is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Technology, who’s work covers participatory design and design thinking; working with a range of users. My own work fits within the use of innovative technologies, designed by and for autistic groups, and the evaluation of these in a range of settings.
I would also like to recognise the existing and continuing Editorial Board members and thank them all for their reviewing, Special Issue work and helping to inform and support the Journal. I know both I and Emerald are grateful for this vital input. This recognition also extends to our network of reviewers; the academics and practitioners who help to ensure timely peer review of submissions to the journal.
Moving on to the current issue where we have four submissions that cover a range of topics including: embodied experiences to re-design enabling technologies, Lifeworld in co-designing with informal carers and tablet-based intervention to foster music-related hand responses.
We start this issue with work reported by Suhas Govind Joshi who present a phenomenological approach to the design of enabling technologies for older adults focusing on capabilities rather than disabilities. Most notably, this article places users at the core of the research; following a participatory design process. Not only do the authors report on the positive nature of the involving participants in design processes (to support accessibility) they also report that “opening up the design space allow[ed] more spatial and bodily flexibility to be increased”. In addition, they report positive findings from designing within the homes of participants, stating that “moving activities into the homes strengthened the reflective practice through easier access to the environmental affordances and the situational solicitations’ effect on the body”. This is a very powerful finding that could help to inform the future of co-design and participatory research in this field.
This issue follows with an article entitled: “Tablet-based Intervention to Foster Music-related Hand Responses and Positive Engagement in People with Advanced Alzheimer’s Disease”, which addresses a timely and important area of Alzheimer’s research. Through their study, Lancioni and colleagues suggest that “an easily accessible, commercial technology device could be successfully used to (a) promote the participants’ hand responses, which enabled them to independently access preferred music, and (b) significantly increase the participants’ levels of positive engagement”. As such, the potential role of technology is highlighted as a specific tool that can easily and cost effectively support people with Alzheimer’s. The authors also suggest that in part, the success of technology in this context was due to the combined use of music, prompts and the simplicity of the hand response the participants were required to perform. Moreover, this article suggests that there were other, unintended benefits to using a tablet with their participants; namely, mood and overall alertness. This reveals something specific about the role of tablets in such settings and might suggest a need for further work in this aspect of of Alzheimer’s research.
The article “Lifeworld in co-designing with informal carers” follows and seeks to reflect on carers’ experiences of being involved in the development of a web-based support programme for carers of people with heart failure in addition to discussing the challenges related to their involvement in the development process. This is similar to the next article that considers contradictions with stakeholder demands.
“Negotiating contradictions: engaging disparate stakeholder demands in designing for active and healthy ageing” is an article that explores “an approach to understanding and negotiating contradictory stakeholder perspectives when designing AHA technologies for older adults”. From a practical and design point of view, the authors found a need to locate a compromise between functionality and user acceptance when designing technologies for active and healthy ageing. Most usefully in this article, Vaziri and colleagues place user groups, and stakeholders at the centre of their work, thus helping to represent the voices of users and to better inform the design, and therefore uptake of such technologies.
We conclude the issue with two book reviews. The first book review (by Johanna L.H. Birkland) is of: The Digitalization of Healthcare: Electronic Records and the Disruption of Moral Orders by McLoughlin, Garrety and Wilson. The second book review is by Gemma Wilson and called: Mobile e-health, by Marston, Freeman and Musselwhite (Eds).
Thanks again to all our reviewers, editorial board members, our editors and publishers at Emerald, and the authors for choosing JET to publish their work.