Mada, the Qatar Assistive Technology Centre, held the second edition of Majilis Nafath recently in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development and Family and other partners at the National Museum of Qatar.

Held under the topic of 'The Role of Next-generation User Interfaces in Supporting People with Disabilities', the event was attended by experts from Arab countries as well as specialists in ICT (information and communications technology) accessibility and assistive technology.

The second edition of Majlis Nafath aimed at addressing the field of accessibility of advanced user interfaces which are central to shaping the future of human-computer interaction.

Giving an overview of the activities of Mada as well as the 2nd edition of Nafath Majlis 2024, the Mada Centre’s Dr Achraf Othman said that the Mada innovation programme aims to create Arabic solutions for persons with disabilities and the elderly.

“We encourage innovative advances in the field and create new programmes to support the needy,” he said. “MadaLab is one such initiative that targets people with disabilities.”

Dr Malak Qbilat from Portugal’s Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science gave a presentation on 'Accessibility in Human-Computer Interaction and Human-Robot Interaction'.

He gave a brief review on definitions, developers’ guidelines, laws, and regulations on accessibility and inclusive designs.

“There is an urgent need to broader efforts and initiatives from authorities, academia and industry to establish more comprehensive accessibility laws and guidelines especially in human robotic interactions,” Dr Qbilat said. “It is also crucial to raise awareness among all stakeholders about the significant impact of accessibility and provide training to designers and developers and allocate the needed resources to encourage accessibility practices.”

Dr Ahmed Tlili from China’s Beijing Normal University spoke on the topic of 'Towards Next-Generation User Interfaces: A Chinese Perspective of Implementing Artificial Intelligence to Support People with Disabilities'.

“The Internet of Things (IoT), GenAI and immersive technologies have helped to provide more natural interactions where multimodal data are collected and analysed in immersiveness environments simulating real world scenarios,” he said.

He added that technologies can provide new types of interactions beyond the traditional one.

Speaking on the topic of 'Empowering Accessibility: A Case Study on Trader Joe's Website Interaction Framework for the Visually Impaired', Dr. Reshmy Krishnan from Oman’s Muscat College highlighted the integration of tactile languages like Braille and other universally recognised symbols for dietary restrictions, which can provide vital information directly on food packaging.
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