Project Objectives

The Design Patterns for Inclusive Collaboration (DePIC) project aims to develop new ways for people to interact with each other using different senses, so reducing barriers caused by visual and other sensory impairments.


Our interaction with the world around us relies on perception which exploits combinations of the senses we have available to us, for instance when we both see and hear someone speaking we associate the words spoken with the speaker. Enabling people to use combinations of senses becomes critical in situations where people who have different sensesavailable to them interact with each other. These differences can arise because of temporary or permanent sensory impairment, or due to the technology they are using. However, very little research has examined how people combine and map information from one sense to another, particularly for individuals with sensory impairments, and then used such mappings to inform the design of technology to make collaboration easier. The aim of this multi-disciplinary project is to develop new ways for people to interact with each other using different combinations of senses. This will reduce barriers to collaboration caused by sensory impairment, and improve social and workplace inclusion by optimising the use of available senses.

Specifically, DePIC aims to combine empirical studies of mappings between senses with participatory design techniques to develop new ideas for inclusive design grounded in Cognitive Psychology. We will capture these design ideas and mappings in the form of Design Patterns and demonstrate their usefulness through the development of interactive systems to support assisted work, living, and leisure.

Project Objectives

The objectives of the project are to:

  • Identify naturally occurring cross-modal mappings through empirical studies of individuals with and without sensory impairments.
  • Develop and validate Design Patterns for cross-modal interaction.
  • Create Participatory Design methods for designing cross-modal interaction, including strategies for involving end-users with different sensory impairments in conceptual design.
  • Develop study methods for evaluating cross-modal interaction in the lab and in-situ.
  • Build demonstrations of cross-modal interactive systems for a range of uses from work to leisure.
  • Build an open-source platform for cross-modal interaction and nurture an associated community.