News News

Return to Full Page

Crowdfunding for Kolumba

Crowdfunding for Kolumba


While our society has made good progress bringing down physical barriers in the work-place for people with physical impairments, access to employment for people with intellectual disabilities continues to be limited, specially in Spain. Indeed, in this digitalized XXI Century, where we depend so much on information and communication technologies in the workplace, people with intellectual disabilities are in clear disadvantages. For example, computer mediated communication such as e-mail clients which are necessary in the work-place are not well designed for people with intellectual disabilities.    These programs can be very difficult to operate  because of their complicated menus or unclear functionalities.  Moreover, the main functionality of an e-mail client -- send and receive messages -- is not well adapted for a person with intellectual disabilities. Indeed, it has been suggested that in order for a message to be understood by  people  with intellectual disabilities, the text has to be written in an easy-to-read language (e.g. simplified text).  The fact that e-mail clients do not incorporate assistive technology such as text simplification limits access to the digital world and the work-place by people with intellectual disabilities.

            Kolumba, an e-mail client specially designed for people with intellectual disabilities and maintained by our research laboratory, includes text simplification technology, text-to-pictogram translation, and voice synthesis, easing access to information by people with intellectual disabilities.

            Kolumba is a technology which fills a gap in the field of accessibility, however Kolumba is for the moment a prototype which needs improvements before it can be released to the public.