New assistive tech channel?

We're about to break out a new channel for assistive/adaptive tech projects, and other "disability hack" type of Instructables. 

The big question:  what do we call this channel, and what category do we sort it under?

Why is this a hard question?  Check out the Humana Health by Design contest entries - they include everything from ultra low-tech tools and life hacks to construction projects and full-on techie builds.  

Perhaps we need more than one channel.  If so, how should we divide the Instructables?  Do we need one channel for high-tech projects, and one for low-tech?  I've been playing with the ideas of "assistive tech"  for the high-tech/gadget-based projects to be filed under Technology, and "adaptive tools" for the low-tech/reuse projects and life-hacks to be sorted under Living.  These still seem to be arbitrary distinctions, and I'm not sure they make sense. 

What do you think?  Please discuss in the comments, or feel free to send me your suggestions by email/PM!

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kelseymh7 years ago

ARGH. Stupid editor threw away my comment again.

I am very excited that you're creating an AT channel! Thank you very much!

"Assistive technology" is the standard, accepted term in the disability community, and among disability and IL professionals. It is deliberately general and generic, covering anything from a rubber sheet to open tight jars, to a power wheelchair with puff-drive and all the bells and whistles.

Please don't try to invent something different or "better," when an accepted name already exists. Those users who aren't privy to I'ble's internal decision-making will have a much more difficult time finding what they want, if you use a non-standard terminology.

canida (author)  kelseymh7 years ago
This is exactly the feedback I'm looking for!

So, assistive technology fills the whole set of things I described, cool. Which category should it fit under - Technology or Living? Should we have an assistive tech channel under both? That's what we currently do with reuse, as it can apply in either category and we have LOTS of reuse projects.
kelseymh canida7 years ago

How good is your database backend? In a perfect world, those would both be "const references" (ooh, too much C++ for me :-) to the collection of Instructables, which users could reach by either path.

If they end up being independent containers, you're likely to end up with thing split rather haphazardly. That's true already, to some extent, since many projects can be classified in multiple ways.

canida (author)  kelseymh7 years ago
I'm not the person to comment on the database backend! It's all Rachel's doing. But find a nice pointy stick and visit the caves to poke at the dev team. ;)

I'm tempted to put two containers out and just see what people put in them. We're working on an additional AT contest - once we get more Instructables on the subject, then we can decide how the channels are working.

If you were to just pick one category for the AT group, which would you select?
kelseymh canida7 years ago
If it were up to me, I'd pick Living. The point of AT is to make it easier for people to do what they want to do, not technology for its own sake.
kelseymh canida7 years ago
Yes, AT covers everything. The term "adaptive equipment" is narrower, and specifically deals with hardware to allow people with particular disabilities to function in the normals' environment. Powered wheelchairs, hearing aids, screen readers, things like that tend to be referred to as "adaptive."
NachoMahma7 years ago
.  I love the idea of an AT channel, but do we really need more than one? KISS.
canida (author)  NachoMahma7 years ago
I'm not sure! We'd like to get a lot more assistive tech projects, so it's important we give them a proper home. My current thought is to have an AT channel under both Living and Tech, and let folks sort their work as they feel appropriate.
.  I'm sure you (and kelseymh) have a much better feel for how popular AT is/could-be and how many categories would be needed. From the cheap seats, it looks like the point of diminishing returns would be reached very quickly.
.  Splitting AT between two (or more) other categories doesn't sound like a good solution to me. It seems to me that putting AT under one roof would make things easier to find. YMMV.
.  I'm guessing that a lot of "AT ppl" are DIYers out of necessity and this is just the community to help provide effective, low-cost solutions. I look forward to seeing more emphasis on AT.
canida (author)  NachoMahma7 years ago
We're hoping to run another contest soon that would directly feed the AT group(s), so that may mean a lot more useful AT Instructables!
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