Skip to main content
Accessibility Club Conference 2018

Logo of Accessibility Club Conference 2018 Accessibility Club Conference 2018

5th November 2018

Berlin, Germany

Part of the Accessibility Club series

Towards Accessible AI applications: the case of Voice Activated Virtual Assistants

We are massively adopting virtual assistants (Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, Bixby, Alexa…) that make our everyday lives easier. However, are they designed to be accessible? What are the current challenges & best practices in this type of AI applications? Does a design-for-all exist in this field?


Sarita's talk will start by introducing the concept of Voice Activated Virtual Assistants (VAVAs), which many attendants surely use (Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana). She will show some figures about the usage of these VAVAs (who uses them, why, for what…) Out of these users, how many are disabled? Do we think this technology is accessible for them?

VAVAs & Accesibility

Different ways of interaction to adapt to different segments: voice, text, tactile… We will go through the benefits of using VAVAs for each segment: elderly, visual, physical, auditive… disabled users. Current challenges: There are no specific regulations in this category, each disability has its own usage limitations… Best practices for designing, evaluating and implementing VAVA accessibility (Examples of EEUU and Europe (Spain, France and UK). What is being done to address these challenges?

Designing an accessible virtual assistant: Aura's case study

Telefonica (trading as Movistar, O2 and Vivo), the multinational telecommunications organization, is developing Aura, an Artificial Intelligence Driven Virtual Assistant. This company is pursuing Aura to be as accessible as possible for all of their clients, developing different ways of interaction, functionalities, user experience and design to be usable and useful for a wide audience. Their team is going to accessibility courses, testing ideas with users with different disabilities, researching on what has been done… Sarita will show some examples of the way Aura is being created, developed and refined to be an accessible Virtual Assistant. She will do this by showing two examples: a standalone home device called Movistar Home as well as Aura integration in Movistar + App (Telefonica VoD and paid TV service).


After reviewing different examples of good practices and not-so-good practices Sarita will try to answer the following questions: How to design for all? What can be done? What should we, as organizations, take into account to design & evaluate accessible Virtual Assistants products and services? She will finish by telling a series of take away messages.

This session is held on in 030 Eventloft - Grande