In 2015, Donna Davis and Tom Boellstorff received a three-year National Science Foundation grant on The Role of People with Disability in the Innovation of Online Technology where they studied how differently-abled populations were using virtual worlds like Second Life.
I talked with University of Oregon’s Donna Davis back in June 2017 where she shared some preliminary findings for how virtual worlds were providing access to community, culture, employment, entertainment, and romantic relationships. Historically, Second Life has primarily used text-based chat for communication, which has increased the amount of accessibility for people with hearing impairments while Radegast readers have provided accessibility options for people with vision impairment. We talked a lot about universal accessibility, and what types of things that Second Life was implementing and what the broader immersive industry could learn about creating accessible and inclusive environments.
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF THE VOICES OF VR PODCAST
Here’s a documentary Our Digital Selves: My Avatar is Me by Bernhard Drax that features the work of Davis and Boellstorff.
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