App makes web browsing accessible to people with Parkinson’s disease
As culture continues to shift more towards virtual spaces, the ability to read and comfortably use smart devices has become a prerequisite for everyday life. For the millions of people around the world who suffer from the involuntary tremors or jerks that are a symptom for 70% of people with Parkinson’s disease, this can be a daunting task.
To make web browsing more accessible to tremor sufferers, Havas Creative developed Staybl, an app that uses a device’s internal technology to counteract physical movement and stabilize web pages.
The app, which is free download, uses a device’s internal accelerometer, the sensor that detects motion, to move the image on the screen in the opposite direction. The result gives the appearance of stillness so that the user can more easily read or interact with the page. This counter action can be adjusted in the app settings to work with minor shakes or severe tremors.
The app is the result of two years of collaboration between Havas site teams in New York and Germany and, according to a statement from the agency, was intended to draw “attention to the fact that accessibility options in smart devices still leaves the needs of many populations”. not satisfied.
“We always talk about how technology should improve our lives, but we don’t naturally include everyone in those benefits,” said Eric Schoeffler, CCO Havas Germany and ECD Europe. “Staybl is not a drug, nor a cure. However, it is a technological solution that can facilitate access to the digital world for all people with Parkinson’s disease and tremors.”
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Other accessibility-focused additions to the browser offer larger text, easy access to buttons, and alternatives to the swipe and gesture interactions common on smart devices. The app is currently optimized for iPad use, but the app’s website says updates for iPhone and Android devices are on the way.
A campaign documentary features a demo of the software along with testimonials from trial users who suffer from tremors. “You just push the button, it’s not as easy as it used to be,” says Bill P., a participant featured in the video. Later he remarks:[Staybl] allows me to be more involved, more independent.
“Staybl highlights what’s possible when creatives and technologists come together to positively change the way we experience the world we live in,” added Dan Lucey, Creative Director at Havas New York. “We hope Staybl will be a catalyst for change and its accessibility features will be native to the smart devices we use every day.”