Developing assistive technologies as apps: the encounter of two technological systems (2)

#40days40piecesofwritingproject #day05

I am recently looking into possible theoretical and methodological frameworks to analyze the phenomenon of the growing trend of developing AAC as apps. The particular phenomenon I find intriguing is that many traditional dedicated AAC devices manufacturers are joining this trend of ‘appifying’ their products, but meanwhile, they have perplexed feealings about the trend. (Which then leads to the changing of the understandings of dis/ability and accessibility by developers.) My preliminary thought is that the AAC industry and the new digital technology industry, especially the Apple kingdom, originally belonged to two different technological systems. The AAC industry is a smaller and minor technological system, while the new digital technology industry is a much larger and mainstream technological system. And the phenomenon can be seen as the encounter of two unequal technological systems. While the minor one might have some impacts on the larger one, it is more likely the minor one follows the rules set by the larger one.

Three possible theoretical frameworks came to my mind, Thomas Hughes’ technological system (1989), Wiebe Bijker’s technological frame (1997), and the concept of plantformization (Duffy et al., 2019; Nieborg & Poell, 2018; van Dijck et al., 2018). I will elaborate more in the next writing.