Keywords: emergency notification, participation, accessibility, usability, mobile alerts, mobile devices, emergency communications, critical information, mobile phones, cell phones, special needs, university campuses, USA, United States, emergency management
Communicating critical information using mobile phones to populations with special needs
Across the world, communities face a variety of hazards, from natural and technological disasters to terrorism and violence. Emergency notification systems utilising mobile phones are increasingly becoming more common, with many campuses in the USA beginning to implement such systems utilising e-mail, text and telephone-based messaging. These notifications are intended to reach members of the campus community, including faculty, staff, and students, and most rely on an opt-in model for participation. The present design of both the registration process and the notification messages raises several concerns on accessibility. This research discusses findings from an examination of emergency notification systems in one campus and approaches to increase participation, accessibility and usability for members of the campus community.