Morphic helps organizations more easily accommodate users with all levels of ability, on all their computers.
Morphic allows libraries, schools, companies, and others with public or shared computers to have assistive software appear on any computer when needed – and disappear when done. Morphic also allows employers to set up computers for new interns or employees in minutes rather than days or weeks – and with less effort and expense.
Morphic can be configured in a number of different ways to meet the needs of different organizations.
Some of the key features that can be used individually, or in combination, to meet an organization’s needs include Morphic’s:
- Ability to bring key accessibility and usability features to the front-edge of a users’ computer screen where they are easy to find and use.
- Ability to transfer an individual’s settings from one computer and apply them to another computer.
- Ability to rapidly change the setup of a computer for different individuals – or for different tasks by the same individual.
- Ability to set up a new (or replacement) computer for an individual to match their needs – in minutes.
- Ability to instantly install and configure all of the built-in and third-party assistive technologies that a new intern or employee uses and needs to do their job.
- Ability to cut the time and cost to determine, set up purchase agreements for, purchase, security screen, install, and configure assistive technologies for a new intern or employee.
- Ability to provide libraries, schools, companies, community centers, etc. with the ability to give people who need assistive technologies the opportunity to use any of that organization’s shared computers as freely and openly as their other patrons or employees (without disabilities) can.
- Ability for clinics (or other AT evaluation/fitting settings) to have all assistive technology software available for evaluation, and to allow users to try AT before final selection/purchase.
Below are some scenarios showing and explaining these capabilities in different contexts.
NOTE: A number of the scenarios below refer to the Installation on Demand (IoD) capability. Whereas the ability to save and transfer the settings of the assistive technologies and the operating system accessibility-usability features is available today, the Installation on Demand functionality is not scheduled for release until spring – summer 2021, due to its increased complexity and the need to handle the different licensing models of different vendors.
True digital equity
Many organizations have computers that are shared among their patrons, students, employees, and others. These include places such as:
- educational settings
- companies or anyone who uses hoteling or other shared computers
- shared computers anywhere (training rooms, conference rooms, lobbies, labs)
- presentation computers at conferences or in conference rooms
In these situations, there is almost never digital equity for people with disabilities, especially those who need to use assistive technologies. Often there are dozens or even hundreds of computers in rooms throughout these organizations which are available for shared use. However, there are usually only one or two computers that have assistive technologies on them. Moreover, these computers are often located in only one or two locations and are therefore not available to individuals who need to use a computer in the other locations in order to participate in a class, training session, or other activity.
Also, even the few computers with assistive technology on them are often limited to a few types of assistive technology. And if they do not contain the type of assistive technology an individual needs, then even in these locations the person will be out of luck.
With Morphic (and its Installation on Demand (IoD) feature to be released spring-summer 2021) organizations will, for the first time, be able to provide true digital equity for AT users. Organizations that deploy Morphic with IOD will ensure that individuals who need assistive technology software, are able to sit down at any computer, anywhere in their organization, and have the assistive technology(s) that each individual needs appear on that computer. Moreover, the assistive technology will be set up exactly as that individual needs it to be set up. When they are done, the assistive technology can disappear, and the computer will return to the settings it had before the person sat down. This would work whether the individual will be using accessibility-usability features built-into the operating system, or if they will be using third-party assistive technologies that needed to be installed.
Instant setup for interns or new employees.
Another common problem and stumbling block occurs when a person who needs assistive technologies first joins a company. Whether they come in on a temporary basis such as an intern, or as a full-time new employee, there is often a long delay between the day they show up and the time that their computer equipment is set up and ready for them to be able to use.
Here’s an example of the way the process works and why it can take so long. First, the organization must determine which assistive technologies the individual needs in order to use the company’s computer and software. Next they have to set up purchasing arrangements with the various AT vendors if not already in place. The software then needs to be purchased. After download it needs to be screened by the IT department for compatibility and security, before it is allowed to be installed on company computers. Finally the AT needs to be actually installed and configured for the individual. This process often takes weeks, and occasionally over a month, before the individual can actually get down to work. For internships this is devastating. But it can be equally problematic for a new employee who may find it difficult to go through the organization’s onboarding and training much less get started with their day-to-day work if they do not have a computer that they can use.
Now, here’s how things could work with Morphic. With Morphic in place at an organization, an arrangement can be made where the IT department has advanced access to all of the potential assistive technologies that might be used and can pre-screen them for compatibility and security. In fact, Morphic AT installation packages will be pre-screened in advance through a nationally recognized security firm relieving the IT department of some of this task and getting more thorough analysis than might be possible if it had to be done in a rush by the company internally. Since the AT would be provided through Morphic, only one entity purchase agreement would be needed for all AT.
When a person is hired (or selected for internship) they can install Morphic on their home computer and have it capture their settings and preferences. The resulting human readable text file can be quickly reviewed by the IT department in minutes. This set of preferences can then be used in conjunction with Morphic’s Installation on Demand and security screened package of installers, to set up each intern’s or new employee’s computer in a matter of minutes. In addition to installing and configuring all of the AT the user needs, it would also configure any of the accessibility-usability features of the operating system. In 10 minutes or less the computer could be entirely set up and ready to go for the individual.
Easier access to built-in accessibility – usability features
There are a large number of features built directly into operating systems to make them more accessible and more usable for people with different needs and preferences.
However, most people are unaware of many or all of them. Even those who are aware of them often don’t use them because they are too difficult to find, are buried somewhere in the control panels, or require remembering some special key combination. Morphic allows users to bring the features they want or need up to a special MorphicBarar where they can be turned on and off whenever needed – with a single click.
Not just accessibility and usability features but apps and websites as well
This one-click access is not restricted to just the accessibility or usability features.
Morphic can also allow companies to create one-click buttons on the MorphicBar for commonly used applications, websites, or any key combination.
Not just for people with disabilities but all patrons, employees
A library could put always-available, one-click buttons on the bar:
- for the library card catalog,
- for a link to resources that answer the most common questions that librarians are repeatedly asked,
- to have an always visible “log off” button
- or for any other link or feature that would reduce work for librarians and staff or make computers easier for patrons.
A company could create a MorphicBar for different groups of workers that provide them one click access to the applications or online resources they need to do their job.
Rather than searching among a sea of open windows on their computer screen, they could use the MorphicBar to quickly jump – with a single click – back and forth between different closed or open key resources on their screen. Since Morphic allows individuals to have multiple MorphicBars, a company could set up different MorphicBars for different tasks, even for the same individual or group of individuals – both making their job easier/less confusing and enhancing productivity.
Some people just have trouble with technology and using technology and computers patrons, employees
Some people just find computers confusing. Libraries, job centers, and other places where computers are provided for people who don’t use computers daily (or haven’t used them before) find that even seemingly simple tasks can be confusing or out of reach for some users. For example, finding a file on a flash drive so they can open it and edit their resume. Although it is a simple task, it does require launching Windows explorer, finding My PC, clicking on it, then identifying the USB in the sea of icons (many of which may look like the same but none of which look like a USB drive – and none which match the name written on the flash drive), then double clicking it. Morphic could provide a single button that will automatically open up any USB inserted in the machine instantly exposing the resume or other file(s) on it. Even for people who know how to find the USB in Windows Explorer this feature could be a convenient time saver if they do it often.
Morphic could also be a timesaver for the IT staff.
Although assistive technologies are critical for those who need them, they can be difficult for IT staff, who are already overloaded with their regular duties. First, there are so many different types of assistive technologies whose functions and setup can be quite different than other software the IT staff are used to dealing with. Secondly, assistive technologies often ask for permissions that look suspicious to IT staff. For example, asking for the ability to monitor all keystrokes or create ‘fake’ keystrokes, asking for access to other programs etc. could raise red flags for staff. With Morphic, all of these security concerns could be addressed together and in advance.
Since different assistive technologies all come from different companies, the IT department must also work with the purchasing dept to set up purchasing agreements for each of these different organizations who sell an assistive technology or utility that the different employees need. With Morphic, a single purchase contract could be set up that would allow all of the different assistive technologies to be secured from a single source. With Morphic, a single purchase contract could cover all AT software.
Morphic could also automatically handle the updating of the assistive technologies to make sure that they did not fail when companies upgrade their operating systems. Morphic could even handle new and older versions of assistive technologies for those situations where a newer version is required for compatibility in one department but an older version for another
As noted above – bringing an intern or new employee on board can be a complicated and time-consuming effort – with pressure on the IT dept to do it quickly. With Morphic, all of the assistive technologies could be onsite and have already been pre-security screened by Morphic (and can also be pre-screened by IT, at their convenience, if desired). No new purchase agreements need to be set up since the software would be provided through Morphic licensing. The new intern or employee could therefore be set up in minutes.
To illustrate, the step_by-step procedure would look something like the following:
- At the individual home
- The individual starts out with their own computer set up just the way they want it
- They install Morphic (takes seconds)
- They run the capture routine in Morphic that scans their computer and the operating system determining all of the assistive technologies they are using, the settings for those assistive technologies, and the accessibility/usability settings of the operating system
- These are then stored by Morphic in a human and computer readable text file
- At the company
- The IT dept is provided with the text file (e.g. by mail or download)
- Morphic is installed temporarily (or permanently) on the company’s computer
- Morphic reads the text file
- It then draws the installation packages needed from the (pre-screened) assistive technology installation packages on the company’s server (or on a secure hard drive connected to the computer)
- In less than 10 minutes, the computer would be completely set up and configured with all of the individual’s assistive technology and system settings
- Morphic could then be uninstalled, or left on the computers so that it could provide its other benefits, depending on company policy
Resetting up a computer after catastrophic failure
A common practice for companies and their IT departments, is to handle malfunctioning computers by simply swapping them out for another computer that has all of the company standard software on it. While this is a quick and efficient mechanism for most employees, this could be devastating to an individual who needs assistive technologies and/or special configuration in order to use the computer. With Morphic this practice would work just as well with individuals who need assistive technologies as everyone else. Morphic could simply reinstall and reconfigure the assistive technologies and computer as the last step in the slot swap or in a few minutes after it was determined that the swap had caused a problem for this employee. If the AT installation packages were stored on the company’s server, and Morphic was part of the standard computer configuration, then the reinstallation and configuration could be automatic and be transparent for the IT staff or for the user.
Also save on AT maintenance
Because Morphic could automatically track new assistive technology versions and operating systems, it would also relieve the IT staff from having to know when to install different versions of AT software to accommodate new or old operating systems or other major software packages.
Ability for clinics (or other AT evaluation/fitting settings) to be able to have all AT available for evaluation, and to allow users to try AT before final selection/purchase
With Morphic, a clinician will be able to have more, and possibly all, Mac and PC assistive technologies available to them to evaluate and try with clients.
The Morphic team is working with assistive technology companies to create the metadata files and handlers needed for Morphic to work with their products. We already have all of the adaptive assistive technology for both Mac and PC that are listed in the government’s Computer Accommodation Program (CAP). We are now working on licensing arrangements to allow them to be available to clinicians free of charge for evaluation and trial purposes. Discussions so far are going very well. Combined with the “installation on demand” feature we are releasing in spring-summer 2021 this would allow clinicians to:
- Have all of the adaptive assistive technologies for either Mac and PC available to them rather than just a few as is currently true)
- including newly released technologies that would not normally be available to them or they may not even have been aware of.
- Have multiple configurations for each of the assistive technologies prestored so that they can use different set ups to work with different types of clients and meet their specific needs
- thus making evaluation move more quickly and allowing the clinicians to better test the full range of capabilities with users.
- Tune the assistive technologies during evaluation to each particular user, and save the settings so that they can later be used to instantly apply them to the AT that is bought and installed on the client’s computer.
- Allow users to try one or more of the assistive technologies before final recommendation and/or purchase
- thus reducing the risk of trying new technologies, leading to people trying new products and helping to open the field to more innovation.