Bringing Accessibility Leadership -to- Accessibility Leadership

Eight years ago, CREATE Co-Director Jennifer Mankoff and a group of like-minded researchers who cared about, or needed, accessibility put their heads together after coming to a realization about SIGCHI, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction. While a growing swath of researchers in the community had begun to focus on the design and evaluation of technologies for diverse users, including those with disabilities, Mankoff and her colleagues noted that the venues for showcasing that work — including the group’s flagship annual conference, CHI — were not themselves accessible to many of these same audiences. And thus, AccessSIGCHI was born.

“Around the time we launched, nearly one-tenth of the papers presented at CHI were related to accessibility or disability in some way, yet only about 20% of conferences included accessibility support,” recalled Mankoff, who holds the Richard E. Ladner Professorship in the Allen School where she directs the Make4All Group. “I and Jennifer Rode, who founded AccessSIGCHI, asked ourselves, ‘how can we ensure that our community’s publications and events and procedures make accessibility a priority?’ It’s a necessary conversation, if not always a comfortable one. And it’s ongoing.”

Read more:

  • Full article, published by the Allen School.
  • Mankoff and colleagues’ seminal report documenting the state of accessibility within the SIGCHI community and laying out a vision for the future.
  • Recognition of Mankoff’s efforts to make not only technologies but also the community that creates them more accessible to members with diverse needs and experiences through a 2022 SIGCHI Social Impact Award.

This article was excerpted from A necessary conversation: Social Impact Award winner Jennifer Mankoff inspires the SIGCHI community to take a more expansive view of inclusion, published by the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering

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