CREATE AI+Accessibility Hackfest – Winter ’24

March 6, 2024 – post-event update

The event featured invited speakers Heather Nolis, Ian Stenseng, and Shaun Kane and exciting workshops on building custom GPT and creating accessible Jupyter notebooks. See the full lineup of brainstorming, hacking, and presentation sessions.

The 3-day hackfest attendees included those with no experience in coding or hacking, others with advanced experience in generative AI and building software or tools, and, at the center, attendees with lived experiences of disabilities who contributed their experiences and expertise to invent an accessible AI-enabled future.

Prizes awarded

While appreciation and congratulations go to all participants, these projects were awarded prizes:

First place: LookLoud.ai

Nishit Bhasin and Lakshya Garg

LookLoud.ai is voice-activated assistance technology, powered by GPT-4 Vision, and designed to make e-commerce accessible to everyone. Users can navigate, select, and buy products using simple voice commands. 

Second prize: AI Posture Monitor & Intervention Alerts for Home Health

Max Smoot, Lige Yang, and Richard Li

AI Posture Monitor & Intervention Alerts for Home Health monitors someone’s seated position to identify when they are in an at-risk posture and subsequently alerts a caretaker with recommended corrections.

Third prize: Formflow Ai

Abdul Hussein, Abreham Tegenge, and Aelaph Elias

Formflow.ai reads PDFs, mail, and forms and gives an easy-to-read summarization, with the goal of helping people read and understand documents and forms. 

Fourth place: Clearview Assist

Dhruv Khanna, Ritika Rajpal, Minal Naik, and Menita Agarwal

(No description provided.)

Fifth place: Student Success Portal

Mia Vong, Cameron Jacob Miller, Keyvyn Rogers, and Jerid Stevenot

Student Success Portal provides AI-powered assistance for challenges in supporting K-12 students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).

Sessions, workshops and hack time

  • Introductory session about the potential of AI for accessibility (also on Zoom)
  • Invited speaker Ian Stenseng, Director of Innovation & Accessibility at The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. (also on Zoom)
  • Brainstorming project ideas
    • Learn from community members with lived experiences of disabilities to make sure your hack is solving a real accessibility need.
  • Lunch (provided) and conversation, mentoring, team forming, idea hatching
  • Invited speaker Heather Nolis, Principal Machine Learning Engineer of the Digital AI Team and Chair of the Accessibility Community at T-Mobile (ACT) at T-Mobile (also on Zoom)
  • Optional Workshops and hack time
  • Hack time
  • Pizza dinner and opportunities to get feedback from mentors

Saturday

  • Work time
  • Lunch (provided) and opportunity to present for feedback from mentors
  • Presentation of judging rubric
  • Invited speaker, Shaun Kane, Researcher at Google AI and Director of the Superhuman Computing Lab at University of Colorado Boulder (also on Zoom)
  • Hack time

Sunday

  • Optional hack time
  • How to present accessibly & sample pitch presentation (also on Zoom)

Monday

  • Presentations to judges (also on Zoom)
  • Judges deliberation
  • Announcements, prizes, and closing keynote (also on Zoom)

Judges

Speakers

Workshops

Brainstorming ideas

Relevant topics will be driven by community needs to increase access to technology, and to the world through technology. These topics could include, for example:

  • AI’s use for generating plain language summaries of rights
  • Accessibility of AI tools and interfaces
  • Using AI to increase the accessibility of written and visual content
  • Robotic control for access
  • Tools for designing accessible physical objects
  • Using AI to get feedback on the accessibility of things you’re making
  • AI for embodied agent interactions
  • AI applications for health and wellbeing
  • Modalities for human/generative AI interactions such as voice or touch
  • Guidelines or ideas around agents that that may be used for accessibility
  • What disability simulation might look like in the age of AI agents
  • Best practices and pitfalls

DUB hosts para.chi event

March 1, 2024

Para.chi is a worldwide parallel event to CHI ’24 for those unable or unwilling to join CHI ‘24. UW Design. Use. Build. (DUB) is hosting para.chi.dub with members of the DUB team–and maybe you.

  • Live session for accepted virtual papers
  • Networking opportunities
  • Accessibility for students and early career researchers locally and online

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 
Hybrid event: Seattle location to be announced and virtual info shared upon registration
Presenter applications due March 15 
Register to attend by Monday, April 1.

Do you have a virtual paper and wish to get feedback from a live audience? Perhaps you have a journal paper accepted to an HCI venue and wish to present it live? Then consider joining us!

Note that presenter space is somewhat limited. Decisions about how to distribute poster, presenter, and hybrid opportunities will be made after March 15.

Seattle and beyond

Each regional team is offering a different event, from mini-conferences to virtual paper sessions to mentoring and networking events. 

Learn more:

Joshua Miele: Driving Accessibility through Open Source

February 15, 2024

Formally, Dr. Joshua Miele describes himself as a blind scientist, designer, performance artist and disability activist who is focused on the overlap of technology, disability, and equity. But in his personable and humorous lecture, he listed a few more identities: Interrupter. Pain in the ass. “CAOS” promoter.

The Allen School Distinguished Lecture took place earlier this month and is a worthwhile listen on YouTube.

Miele’s passions are right in line with CREATE’s work and he started his lecture, after being introduced by CREATE Director Jennifer Mankoff, with a compliment we heartily accept: “This community at the University of Washington is one of the largest, one of the most vibrant communities of people thinking and working around disability, accessibility, and technology.”

Miele shared his enthusiasm for disability-inclusive design and its impact on global disability equity and inclusion. Drawing on examples and counterexamples from his own life and career, Dr. Miele described some of the friction the accessibility field has faced and speculated about what challenges may lie ahead, with particular emphasis on the centrality of user-centered practices, and the exhilarating potential of open source solutions and communities.

When he received the MacArthur grant, Miele had to decide what to do with the spotlight on his work. He shared his hopes for a Center for Accessibility and Open Source (CAOS, pronounced “chaos”) to promote global digital equity for people with disabilities through making low-cost accessible tools available to everyone, whether they have financial resources or not. He invited anyone interested in global equity, disability, direct action, performance art, and CAOS/chaos to reach out to work together on this incredibly important work.

More about Miele and the lecture

Alice Wong and Patty Berne: Two UW lectures moderated by CREATE researchers

January 29, 2024

Winter 2024 quarter kicked off with two outstanding conversations with women of color who are leaders in disability justice.

Alice Wong: Raising the visibility of disabled people

First, Alice Wong discussed topics important to her work in raising the visibility of disabled people. Wong’s book Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life was the topic of the Autumn 2023 CREATE Accessibility Seminar.

CREATE Director Jennifer Mankoff started the conversation asking Wong about her experience as a disabled person in academia and what needs to change. Wong said her work in disability justice was inspired in part by the “incredible amount of emotion and physical labor to ask for equal access” in academic settings. She had to spend precious time, money and energy to gain the accommodations and access she needed to succeed. But she realized that as soon as she transitioned out, her efforts would be lost and the next student would have to start over to prove their need and request a new set of accommodations. Wong was doubtful that large academic institutions can support the goal of collective liberation. It’s the “dog-eat-dog world [of] academia where the competition is stiff and everyone is pushed to their limits to produce and be valuable.” She encouraged instructors to incorporate books about disability justice in their syllabi (see the reading list below). 

Wong, who spoke with a text-to-voice tool and added emphasis with her facial expressions on the screen, also addressed the value and the limitations of assistive technology. She noted that the text-to-speech app she uses does not convey her personality. She also discussed how ableism appears in activist discourse.

One of her examples was a debate over gig economy delivery services, which are enormously important for many people with disabilities and that also under-compensate delivery work. She noted that blaming disabled people for undermining efforts for better wages was not the solution; collective efforts to make corporations compensate workers is the solution. She also explained that hashtag activism, which has been disparaged in popular discourse, is a crucial method for disabled people to participate in social justice activism. And she discussed her outrage when, as she prepared to give a talk to a public health school, her own access needs were used to censor her. Throughout her talk, Wong returned again and again to the principles of disability justice, and encouraged attendees to engage in collective forms of change.

Wong’s responses embodied a key component of disability justice principles: citational practices that name fellow contributors to collective disability justice wisdom. Her long list of recommended reading for the audience inspired us to build our new RDT reading list. Wong referenced Patty Berne several times, calling Berne her introduction to disability justice.

Patty Berne on disability justice: Centering intersectionality and liberation

A week later, two CREATE Ph.D. students, Aashaka Desai and Aaleyah Lewis, moderated a conversation with Patty Berne. Berne, who identifies as a Japanese-Haitian queer disabled woman, co-founded Sins Invalid, a disability justice-based arts project focusing on disabled artists of color and queer and gender non-conforming artists with disabilities. Berne defined disability justice as advocating for each other, understanding access needs, and normalizing those needs. On the topic of climate justice, she noted that state-sponsored disaster planning often overlooks the needs of people with motor impairments or life-sustaining medical equipment. This is where intersectional communities do, and should, take care of each other when disaster strikes.

Berne addressed language justice within the disability community, noting that “we don’t ‘language’ like able-bodied people.” For example, the use of ventilators and augmented speech technology change the cadence of speech. Berne wants to normalize access needs for a more inclusive experience of everyday life. Watch the full conversation on YouTube.

Ben Taskar Memorial Event

January 26, 2024

In January 2024, the CREATE community was invited to participate in the Taskar Center’s 2024 Annual Ben Taskar Memorial Event, themed “Transportation and Responsible AI.”

Sessions

Project Poster Viewing and Team Discussions

Explore innovative projects from the course on “Responsible Data Science in Urban Spaces” under the guidance of Anat Caspi, TCAT director, contributing to Dr. Caspi’s recent Human Rights Education Award.

Community Townhall Meeting with Dragomir Anguelov

oin us for a captivating discussion with Dragomir Anguelov, VP and Head of Research at Waymo, as he shares Waymo’s insights into operating an autonomous ride-share fleet, covering over 7 million miles. The session, moderated by Anat Caspi, focuses on responsible AI in transportation. (This session will not be recorded and not available to remote participants.)

Spotlight on AccessMap Multimodal

Discover the latest advancements in accessible transportation with a spotlight on the recent deployment of AccessMap Multimodal. The session will highlight the personalized trip planner for travelers with disabilities and provide insights into the user experience, including the use of screen readers.

Ben Taskar Memorial Distinguished Lecture:
Dragomir Anguelov: Toward Total Scene Understanding for Autonomous Driving

In this engaging lecture, Drago Anguelov will delve into recent Waymo research on performant ML models and architectures that handle the variety and complexity of real-world environments in autonomous driving. He will also discuss the impact of progress in building Autonomous Driving agents on people with disabilities and explore current open questions about enhancing embodied AI agent capabilities with ML.

Winter 2023 CREATE Research Showcase

December 12, 2023

Students from CSE 493 and additional CREATE researchers shared their work at the December 2023 CREATE Research Showcase. The event was well attended by CREATE students, faculty, and community partners. Projects included, for example: an analysis of the accessibility of transit stations and a tool to aid navigation within transit stations; an app to help colorblind people of color pick makeup; and consider the accessibility of generative AI while also considering ableist implications of limited training data.

CSE 493 student projects

In it’s first offering Autumn quarter 2023, CSE’s undergraduate Accessibility class has been focusing on the importance of centering first-person accounts in disability-focused technology work. Students worked this quarter on assignments ranging from accessibility assessments of county voting systems to disability justice analysis to open-ended final projects.

Alti Discord Bot »

Keejay Kim, Ben Kosa, Lucas Lee, Ashley Mochizuki

Alti is a Discord bot that automatically generates alt text for any image that gets uploaded onto Discord. Once you add Alti to your Discord server, Alti will automatically generate alt text for the image using artificial intelligence (AI).

Enhancing Self-Checkout Accessibility at QFC »

Abosh Upadhyaya, Ananya Ganapathi, Suhani Arora

Makes self-checkout more accessible to visually impaired individuals

Complexion Cupid: Color Matching Foundation Program »

Ruth Aramde, Nancy Jimenez-Garcia, Catalina Martinez, Nora Medina

Allows individuals with color blindness to upload an image of their skin, and provides a makeup foundation match. Additionally, individuals can upload existing swatches and will be provided with filtered photos that better show the matching accuracy.

Twitter Content Warnings »

Stefan D’Souza, Aditya Nair

A chrome extension meant to be used in conjunction with twitter.com in order to help people with PTSD

Lettuce Eat! A Map App for Accessibly Dietary Restrictions »

Arianna Montoya, Anusha Gani, Claris Winston, Joo Kim

Parses menus on restaurants’ websites to provide information on restaurants’ dietary restrictions to support individuals with specific dietary requirements, such as vegan vegetarian, and those with Celiac disease.

Form-igate »

Sam Assefa

A chrome extension that allows users with motor impairments to interact with google forms using voice commands, enhancing accessibility.

Lite Lingo: Plain Text Translator »

Ryan Le, Michelle Vu, Chairnet Muche, Angelo Dauz

A plain text translator to help individuals with learning disabilities

Matplotalt: Alt text for matplotlib figures »

Kai Nailund

[No abstract]

PadMap: Accessible Map for Menstrual Products »

Kirsten Graham, Maitri Dedhia, Sandy Cheng, Aaminah Alam

Our goal is to ensure that anywhere on campus, people can search up the closest free menstrual products to them and get there in an accessible way.

SCRIBE: Crowdsourcing Scientific Alt Text »

Sanjana Chintalapati, Sanjana Sridhar, Zage Strassberg-Phillips

A prototype plugin for arXiv that adds alt text to requested papers via crowdwork.

PalPalette »

Pu Thavikulwat, Masaru Chida, Srushti Adesara, Angela Lee

A web app that helps combat loneliness and isolation for young adults with disabilities

SpeechIT »

Pranati Dani, Manasa Lingireddy, Aryan Mahindra

A presentation speech checker to ensure a user’s verbal speech during presentation is accessible and understandable for everyone.

Enhancing Accessibility in SVG Design: A Fabric.js Solution »

Julia Tawfik, Kenneth Ton, Balbir Singh, Aaron Brown

A Laser Cutter Generator’ interface which displays a form to select shapes and set dimensions for SVG creation.

CREATE student and faculty projects

Designing and Implementing Social Stories in Technology: Enhancing Collaboration for Parents and Children with Neurodiverse Needs

Elizabeth Castillo, Annuska Zolyomi, Ting Zhou

Our research project, conducted through interviews in Panama, focuses on the user-centered design of technology to enhance autism social stories for children with neurodiverse needs. We aim to improve collaboration between parents, therapists, and children by creating a platform for creating, sharing, and tracking the usage of social stories. While our initial research was conducted in Panama, we are eager to collaborate with individuals from Japan and other parts of the world where we have connections, to further advance our work in supporting neurodiversity.

An Autoethnographic Case Study of Generative Artificial Intelligence’s Utility for Accessibility

Kate S Glazko, Momona Yamagami, Aashaka Desai, Kelly Avery Mack, Venkatesh Potluri, Xuhai Xu, Jennifer Mankoff

With the recent rapid rise in Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) tools, it is imperative that we understand their impact on people with disabilities, both positive and negative. However, although we know that AI in general poses both risks and opportunities for people with disabilities, little is known specifically about GAI in particular. To address this, we conducted a three-month autoethnography of our use of GAI to meet personal and professional needs as a team of researchers with and without disabilities. Our findings demonstrate a wide variety of potential accessibility-related uses for GAI while also highlighting concerns around verifiability, training data, ableism, and false promises.

Machine Learning for Quantifying Rehabilitation Responses in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Charlotte D. Caskey, Siddhi R. Shrivastav, Alyssa M. Spomer, Kristie F. Bjornson, Desiree Roge, Chet T. Moritz, Katherine M. Steele

Increases in step length and decreases in step width are often a rehabilitation goal for children with cerebral palsy (CP) participating in long-term treadmill training. But it can be challenging to quantify the non-linear, highly variable, and interactive response to treadmill training when parameters such as treadmill speed increase over time. Here we use a machine learning method, Bayesian Additive Regression Trees, to show that there is a direct effect of short-burst interval locomotor treadmill training on increasing step length and modulating step width for four children with CP, even after controlling for cofounding parameters of speed, treadmill incline, and time within session.

Spinal Stimulation Improves Spasticity and Motor Control in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Victoria M. Landrum, Charlotte D. Caskey, Siddhi R. Shrivastav, Kristie F. Bjornson, Desiree Roge, Chet T. Moritz, Katherine M. Steele

Cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by a brain injury around the time of birth that leads to less refined motor control and causes spasticity, a velocity dependent stretch reflex that can make it harder to bend and move joints, and thus impairs walking function. Many surgical interventions that target spasticity often lead to negative impacts on walking function and motor control, but transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation (tSCS), a novel, non-invasive intervention, may amplify the neurological response to traditional rehabilitation methods. Results from a 4-subject pilot study indicate that long-term usage of tSCS with treadmill training led to improvements in spasticity and motor control, indicating better walking function.

Adaptive Switch Kit

Kate Bokowy, Mia Hoffman, Heather A. Feldner, Katherine M. Steele

We are developing a switch kit for clinicians and parents to build customizable switches for children with disabilities. These switches are used to help children play with computer games and adapted toys as an early intervention therapy.

Developing a Sidewalk Improvement Cost Function

Alex Kirchmeier, Cole Anderson, Anat Caspi

In this ongoing project, I am developing a Python script that uses a sidewalk issues dataset to determine the cost of improving Seattle’s sidewalks. My intention is to create a customizable function that will help users predict the costs associated with making sidewalks more accessible.

Exploring the Benefits of a Dynamic Harness System Using Partial Body Weight Support on Gross Motor Development for Infants with Down Syndrome

Reham Abuatiq, PT, MSc1; Mia Hoffman, ME, BSc2; Alyssa Fiss, PT, PhD3; Julia Looper, PT, PhD4; & Heather Feldner, PT, PhD, PCS1,5,6

We explored the benefits of a Dynamic Harness System Using Partial Body Weight Support (PBWS) within an enriched play environment on Gross Motor Development for Infants with Down Syndrome using randomized cross over study design. We found that the effectiveness of the PBWS harness system on gross motor development was clearly evident. The overall intervention positively affected activity levels, however, the direct impact of the harness remains unclear.

StreetComplete for Better Pedestrian Mapping

Sabrina Fang, Kohei Matsushima

StreetComplete is a gamified, structured, and user-friendly mobile application for users to improve OpenStreetMap data by completing pilot quests. OpenStreetMap is an open-source, editable world map created and maintained by a community of volunteers. The goal of this research project is to design pilot quests in StreetComplete to accurately collect information about “accessibility features,” such as sidewalk width and the quality of lighting, to improve accessibility for pedestrian mapping.

Transit Stations Are So Confusing!

Jackie Chen, Milena Johnson, Haochen Miao, and Raina Scherer

We are collecting data on the wayfinding nodes in four different Sound Transit light rail stations, and interpreting them through the GTFS-pathways schema. In the future, we plan on visualizing this information through AccessMaps such that it can be referenced by all users.

Optimizing Seattle Curbside Disability Parking Spots

Wendy Bu, Cole Anderson, Anat Caspi

The project is born out of a commitment to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities in the city of Seattle. The primary objective is to systematically analyze and improve the allocation and management of curbside parking spaces designated for disabled individuals. By improving accessibility for individuals with disabilities, the project contributes to fostering a more equitable and welcoming urban environment.

Developing Accessible Tele-Operation Interfaces for Assistive Robots with Occupational Therapists

Vinitha Ranganeni, Maya Cakmak

The research is motivated by the potential of using tele-operation interfaces with assistive robots, such as the Stretch RE2, to enhance the independence of individuals with motor limitations in completing activities of daily living (ADLs). We explored the impact of customization of tele-operation interfaces and a deployed the Stretch RE2 in a home for several weeks facilitated by an occupational therapist and enabled a user with quadriplegia to perform daily activities more independently. Ultimately, this work aims to empower users and occupational therapists in optimizing assistive robots for individual needs.

HuskyADAPT: Accessible Design and Play Technology

HuskyADAPT Student Organization

HuskyADAPT is a multidisciplinary community at the University of Washington that supports the development of accessible design and play technology. Our community aims to initiate conversations regarding accessibility and ignite change through engineering design. It is our hope that we can help train the next generation of inclusively minded engineers, clinicians, and educators to help make the world a more equitable place.

A11yBoard for Google Slides: Developing and Deploying a Real-World Solution for Accessible Slide Reading and Authoring for Blind Users

Zhuohao (Jerry) Zhang, Gene S-H Kim, Jacob O. Wobbrock

Presentation software is largely inaccessible to blind users due to the limitations of screen readers with 2-D artboards. This study introduces an advanced version of A11yBoard, initially developed by Zhang & Wobbrock (CHI2023), which now integrates with Google Slides and addresses real-world challenges. The enhanced A11yBoard, developed through participatory design including a blind co-author, demonstrates through case studies that blind users can independently read and create slides, leading to design guidelines for accessible digital content creation tools.

“He could go wherever he wanted”: Driving Proficiency, Developmental Change, and Caregiver Perceptions following Powered Mobility Training for Children 1-3 Years with Disabilities

Heather A. Feldner, PT, MPT, PhD; Anna Fragomeni, PT; Mia Hoffman, MS; Kim Ingraham, PhD; Liesbeth Gijbels, PhC; Kiana Keithley, SPT; Patricia K. Kuhl, PhD; Audrey Lynn, SPT; Andrew Meltzoff, PhD; Nicole Zaino, PhD; Katherine M. Steele, PhD

The objective of this study was to investigate how a powered mobility intervention for young children (ages 1-3years) with disabilities impacted: 1) Driving proficiency over time; 2) Global developmental outcomes; 3) Learning tool use (i.e., joystick activation); and 4) Caregiver perceptions about powered mobility devices and their child’s capabilities.

Access to Frequent Transit in Seattle

Darsh Iyer, Sanat Misra, Angie Niu, Dr. Anat Caspi, Cole Anderson

The research project in Seattle focuses on analyzing access to public transit, particularly frequent transit stops, by considering factors like median household income. We scripted in QGIS, analyzed walksheds, and examined demographic data surrounding Seattle’s frequent transit stops to understand the equity of transit access in different neighborhoods. Our goal was to visualize and analyze the data to gain insights into the relationship between transit access, median household income, and other demographic factors in Seattle.

Health Service Accessibility

Seanna Qin, Keona Tang, Anat Caspi, Cole Anderson

Our research aims to discover any correlation between median household income and driving duration from census tracts to the nearest urgent care location in the Bellevue and Seattle region

Conveying Uncertainty in Data Visualizations to Screen-Reader Users Through Non-Visual Means

Ather Sharif, Ruican Zhong, and Yadi Wang

Incorporating uncertainty in data visualizations is critical for users to interpret and reliably draw informed conclusions from the underlying data. However, visualization creators conventionally convey the information regarding uncertainty in data visualizations using visual techniques (e.g., error bars), which disenfranchises screen-reader users, who may be blind or have low vision. In this preliminary exploration, we investigated ways to convey uncertainty in data visualizations to screen-reader users.

Accessible Technology Research Showcase – Spring 2023

June 30, 2024

Poster session in progress, with 9 or so posters on easels in view and student presenters talking to attendees.

In June 2023, CREATE and HuskyADAPT co-hosted a showcase — and celebration — of outstanding UW research on accessible technology. The showcase featured poster presentations, live demonstrations by our faculty, students, and researchers and was altogether vibrant and exciting. Over 100 attendees viewed 25 projects, presentations, and posters.

Congratulations and appreciation to CREATE Engagement and Partnerships Manager Kathleen Quin Voss and HuskyAdapt Student Executive Chair Mia Hoffman for putting on an amazing research showcase!

View the Projects


Accessible eSports Showcase 2023: Event Recap

In April 2023, CREATE hosted its first ever Accessible eSports Showcase event, bringing together members of the CREATE community, local community organizations, tech and games Corporate Partners, and folks from all over the Seattle area looking to learn about and celebrate ongoing strides being made in making video games more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities.

Zillow Commons in the Bill & Melinda Gates Center was transformed into a gamer’s playground with big-screen projections of racing and party games, a VR space, and stations where users could customize their own adaptive gaming tech.

UW CREATE Presents: Accessible eSports Showcase 2023 with a colorful digital background.

CREATE’s Community Partners had showcase tables, demoing the latest advances in accessible gaming technology. And UW graduate students, undergraduates, and postdocs highlighted the many creative ways they’ve worked to make games accessible:

  • Event co-organizers Jesse Martinez (Ph.D. student, CSE) and Momona Yamagami (Postdoc, UW CREATE) opened with an overview of the many accommodations and community access norms they established for the event.
  • Emma McDonnell (Ph.D. Student, HCDE) live-narrated a round of Jackbox Games’s Fibbage, followed by a competitive mixed-ability showdown in the Xbox racing game DiRT 5, in which Martinez, taking his turn as emcee/color commentator, highlighted the many techniques being used to make Xbox gameplay accessible.
  • Rachel Franz (Ph.D. Student, iSchool) let attendees try out her latest work in accessible VR research.
  • Jerry Cao (Ph.D. Student, CSE) showed attendees how to use custom 3D-printed input devices for computer accessibility.
  • A brilliant team of undergraduates from HuskyADAPT, including Mia Hoffman, Neha Arunkumar, Vivian Tu, Spencer Madrid, Simar Khanuja, Laura Oliveira, Selim Saridede, Noah Shalby, and Veronika Pon, demoed three fantastic projects working to bring improved switch access to video games.
Momona Yamagami and Jesse Martinez open the Accessible eSports Showcase in front of a large screen with a dedicated screen showing a sign language interpreter.

Corporate and Community Partners connected with the CREATE community and engage directly with our many attendees.

  • Solomon Romney, of Microsoft’s Inclusive Tech Lab, showcased the brilliant design of the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC), the state-of-the-art tool in accessible controller design, and guided attendees through setting up and playing with their own XACs.
  • Amber Preston of Seattle Adaptive Sports described the work SAS does to make all sorts of games and recreational activities more accessible and inclusive in the Seattle area.
  • Other corporate and community partners, including researchers from Meta, Google, and Apple, were on hand to meet and connect with attendees around other exciting developments in the accessible gaming space.
Three student members at the HuskyADAPT table, sharing information and video about the program.
The Seattle Adaptive Sports table, with the different size balls used in games and a screen showing video of disabled athletes playing.

The organizers thank all attendees, partners, volunteers, and organizers for making the event such a success! As gaming accessibility continues to blossom, we’re looking forward to doing more events like in the future – we hope to see you at the next one! 


Pre-event announcement

Who should attend?

Anyone is welcome to attend this event! In particular, we extend the invitation to anyone who has an interest in video game accessibility, who works in the games industry, or who is a member of the Seattle-area disability community.

More information about the event will be available here soon! In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our event co-organizer Jesse Martinez at jessejm@cs.washington.edu. We hope to see you there!

Stipend and paid parking for non-UW-affiliated attendees

For our attendees with disabilities who are not affiliated with UW, we will have a $50 stipend to cover local travel and time spent at the event. You will receive a gift card link within 10 business days after the event. We will also pay for event parking. We hope that will be helpful in covering some of the costs of attending this event.

Activities

Mainstage gameplay

Attendees can go head-to-head in our accessible esports tournament that will include Forza Horizon 5 and Rocket League.

Spotlight tables

Engage with CREATE corporate and community partners around game accessibility, including Seattle Adaptive Sports, Microsoft XBox, HuskyADAPT, and UW CREATE. Participate in accessible gaming tech demos, and more!

Non-competitive gameplay

In addition to the mainstage gameplay, there will be various accessible video games available to play, ranging from cooperative games to streamed large-audience party games. We’ll also have a VR station available! Games will include

  • Jackbox Party Pack Games
  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
  • Beat Saber

Socializing, networking and food

We will also have designated spaces for attendees to socialize with each other and make new connections in the accessible gaming space. Dinner will be provided.

Accessibility & logistics

Wheelchair-accessible space & accommodations

The building entrance is level from Stevens Way and Zillow Commons is wheelchair-accessible via the elevator and wide doorways. A volunteer will be at the building entrance to help guide you to the event.

We will have the following accommodations in place:

  • Live gameplay commentary on Mainstage gameplay
  • Captions and ASL interpretation for all Mainstage content
  • Quiet room with ample seating and a silent livestream of Mainstage gameplay
  • Complimentary food and beverages
  • Screen reader-accessible online event program/guide

Adaptive devices

For those interested in playing games, we will have the following devices:

  • Xbox Adaptive Controllers with customizable switches, joysticks, and foot pedals
  • Additional specialty gaming equipment provided by industry partners (TBD)

If you have any additional accommodation requests, please include them in your event registration, or reach out to Jesse Martinez at jessejm@cs.washington.edu.

Considerations to keep in mind  

During the event, attendees can support each other with the following considerations:

  • Introduce yourself by name in a conversation.
  • Keep pathways clear, and be mindful of others when navigating the space.
  • DO NOT touch other attendees, their assistive devices, or their mobility devices without consent.
  • Please keep conversation family-friendly as there are children at the event.
  • Please wear a mask and keep your hands clean (hand sanitizer is available throughout the venue).

Questions?

Please reach out to Jesse Martinez (event co-organizer) at jessejm@cs.washington.edu with questions about this event.

International Disability Rights: Past, Present, & Future – A Must-See Public Lecture with Senator Floyd Morris

International Disability Rights: Past, Present, & Future
Public Lecture with Senator Floyd Morris

Wednesday, April 19, 2023, 2:30 p.m.
HUB 340
Free and open to the public

Floyd Morris, Ph.D., is the Director of the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of the West Indies, a current Member and Past President of the Senate of Jamaica – where he was also their first Blind member – and Special Rapporteur on Disability for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). He has researched inclusion of persons with disabilities in several aspects of Jamaican life and published numerous books and articles.

Senator Floyd Morris, a black man wearing a grey suit and red tie, seated in front of the Jamaican flag.

Senator Morris is a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is the treaty body charged with the responsibility of overseeing the implementation and interpretation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

Sponsored by the UW Center for Global Studies, UW Disability Studies, and Law, Societies, and Justice programs to welcome visiting lecturer Floyd Morris.

Honoring Judy Heumann’s outsized impact

Judy Heumann — disability activist and leader, presidential advisor to two administrations, polio survivor and quadriplegic — passed away on Saturday, March 4. Heumann’s family invited the community to honor her life at a memorial service and burial that is now available on video with ASL, captioning, and English interpretation of Yiddish included.

Who was Judy Heumann?

Judy Heumann fought for disabled rights and against segregation. She led the “longest nonviolent occupation of a federal building in American history,” according to the New York Times. When communications were cut off by the government, she passed messages to supporters using sign language and received support from the Black Panthers and the Mayor of San Francisco. The protest led to successful action on section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Heumann did not stop there. According to President Biden, “Her courage and fierce advocacy resulted in the Rehabilitation ActIndividuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act – landmark achievements that increased access to education, the workplace, housing, and more for people with disabilities.” Heumann talked in a 2020 article in Ability Magazine about the importance of “helping people to identify and understand the scope of disability that the ADA and other laws cover.” She believed in an expansive view of disability, and wanted to see more people included in the disability rights movement, stating “… I think it’s a combination of shame and fear that we may not be talking about if we have diabetes or epilepsy or cancer or anxiety or depression or bipolar or whatever. …I think expanding our circle is one of the big issues that we need to be dealing with over the next five to ten years.” Heumann went on to talk about the power of knowing that you have rights under the law, recognizing and fighting discrimination, and the importance of diversifying the disability movement by race, religion and sexual orientation: “We need to have an understanding, for example, of the fact that [disparities] may exist in various communities based on race and socio-economic status, how there are people within the U.S. who are not benefiting from laws because they don’t have the resources to hire an attorney or an advocate. The government, in my view, is not always enforcing laws as they should be.”

Heumann’s auto-biography, Being Heumann came out in 2020 (co-authored with Kristen Joiner). Crip Camp documents the 1970s birth of Heumann’s and other activists’ advocacy for people with disabilities. Ability Magazine inter-view touching on the ADA, the increasing diversity of the disability community, and the pandemic.

CREATE Co-director Jennifer Mankoff noted that, “Personally speaking, her influence on my career has been indirect but important. In my first years as a faculty member, at UC Berkeley, the Center for Independent Living (which Heumann founded and called “the first organization in the world to be run for and by the disabled” according to the NY Times) reached out to educate me about disability activism, through another leader, Scott Leubking. At the same time, I began to learn about disability studies work with the help of Berkeley’s nascent disability studies program and specifically academic and activist Devva Kasnitz. These early encounters directly influenced the direction of my research and advocacy and are visible today in CREATE’s emphasis on disability studies and disability justice and entwining them in its accessibility work.”

Learn more about Judy Heumann

Heumann’s auto-biography, Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist, published in 2020 and co-authored with Kristen Joiner. 
Crip Camp documents the 1970s birth of Heumann’s and other activists’ advocacy for people with disabilities.
Ability Magazine interview touching on the ADA, the increasing diversity of the disability community, and the pandemic.

Community Day & Research Showcase 2022

CREATE’s 2nd Annual Community Day took place on June 8th and was a tremendous success. With over 100 registered participants and presenters, this year’s event demonstrates strong growth, returning to in-person (and also virtual) panel discussions and a research showcase of 14 project teams.

This year’s panels addressed the disproportionate impact of access to assistive technology on children with disabilities in BIPOC and immigrant communities as well as the issues that arise with the intersection of accessibility and biometric technologies. We were honored to host panelists from the AHSHAY CenterProvailOpen Doors for Multicultural Families, UW’s Taskar Center for Accessible Technology, and the University of Maryland’s iSchool.

Learn more:

Go Baby Go Car Adaptation Workshop

UW Go Baby Go, co-directed by CREATE Associate Director Heather Feldner, is excited to announce its fall workshop where we will build ten Go Baby Go cars for local children with disabilities and their families!

Composite of 4 images from Go Baby Go workshops: participants modifying ride-upon toys and excited toddlers sitting in a variety of toys.

UW and CREATE students, postdocs, and faculty (especially from engineering, computer science, and rehab programs), local clinicians, and parents/caregivers are all encouraged to attend.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

* Workshop: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
* Family car fittings and pickup: 2-4 p.m.

UW Rehab Medicine, BB tower 916 and 918
Outdoor car pickup location TBD

Each car will be custom-adapted for safety and accessibility so children can engage in self-initiated mobility, exploration, and socialization at ages equitable to their non-disabled peers. Through sponsorship and fundraising, cars are provided at no cost to families. 

Volunteers needed!

To volunteer, please fill out the volunteer form and we will be in touch with all the rest of the logistics and details!

Please note that per Washington State and UW policy, all volunteers will be required to mask up throughout the build and show proof of full COVID vaccination to participate.

We will have a separate refreshment space for breaks and snacks/drinks throughout the build. 

Questions

Email us at gobabygo@uw.edu.


CREATE is proud to sponsor this event.

Reimagining Mobility: Urban Accessibility – from Crowdsourcing to AI

Sign up for the Conversations

Still image from YouTube with photo of a crowded urban street and text about mobility inequities

In December 2021, CREATE faculty Anat Caspi and Jon Froehlich discussed the innovative ways they are using AI, crowdsourcing, and translational research to reimagine urban accessibility.

Teams from the UW Makeability Lab and the UW Taskar Center for Accessible Technology have worked to develop and deploy tools like AccessMaps, OpenSidewalks, and Project Sidewalk that are transforming how we share, evaluate, and understand our urban environments.

Participants were invited to a deep dive into one of these initiatives – Project Sidewalk – to learn how to contribute to the crowd-sourcing efforts. Despite the important role of sidewalks in supporting mobility, accessibility, and public health, there is a lack of high-quality datasets and corresponding analyses on sidewalk existence and condition.

Project Sidewalk Logo | accessibility icon with green, yellow, red under the wheel

Project Sidewalk explores a twofold vision: first, to develop scalable mechanisms to locate and assess sidewalks in cities across the world using Crowd+AI approaches, and second, to use this data to support new urban analyses and mobility tools.

Project Sidewalk is currently deployed in seven cities, including two in Mexico.


Join the Reimagining Mobility conversation

Join us for a series of conversations imagining the future of mobility. Hosted by CREATE Associate Directors Kat Steele and Heather Feldner, we connect and learn from guests who are engaged in critical mobility work – ranging from researchers to small business owners to self-advocates. We will dive deeply into conversations about mobility as a multifaceted concept, and explore how it intersects with other dimensions of access across contexts of research, education, and public policy. 

Sign up for the Conversations

Reimagining Mobility: Collecting Data. Creating Plans. Removing Barriers?

On November 18, 2021 Dr. Yochai Eisenberg shared successes and challenges in the pursuit of accessible pedestrian networks. We discussed community mobility as it relates to accessible pathways, use of public transportation, and modes of travel to destinations.

Dr. Eisenberg described a systematic mobility evaluation, detailed some of the findings, and shared the conclusion that communities in the U.S. do not have strong plans for building accessible pathways. He stressed that the solution includes meaningfully involving people with disabilities, so that transition plans can help cities.

Dr. Yochai Eisenberg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago and affiliated researcher at the Great Lakes ADA Center. Dr. Eisenberg studies the ways in which neighborhood environments, policies, and systems impact community mobility, health behaviors and health outcomes for people with disabilities using a blend of big data analytics, policy evaluation, and community engaged research.

Dr. Eisenberg’s research has contributed to better understanding implementation of ADA transition plans for the public rights of way in the US, rideshare use and satisfaction among people with disabilities, and accessibility of environments that support healthy, active living. Dr. Eisenberg’s interdisciplinary work reflects his training in public health (Ph.D.), urban planning (Master’s) and disability studies and is interwoven in his undergraduate course that explores the links between disability, urban planning and geography.


Join the Reimagining Mobility conversation

Join us for a series of conversations imagining the future of mobility. Hosted by CREATE Associate Directors Kat Steele and Heather Feldner, we connect and learn from guests who are engaged in critical mobility work – ranging from researchers to small business owners to self-advocates. We will dive deeply into conversations about mobility as a multifaceted concept, and explore how it intersects with other dimensions of access across contexts of research, education, and public policy. 

Sign up for the Conversations

Reimagining Mobility: Inclusive Architecture

On October 13, 2021 Karen Braitmayer shared images from her experience of— and critical goals for— inclusive architecture. Noting that the best and brightest designers might come in bodies that are different than employers expect, she called for design schools to welcome students with disabilities and for design firms to hire and support the careers of designers with disabilities.

First steps for designers:

  • Provide options: wider seats, different height soap dispensers, etc.
  • Learn about building codes and regulations.
  • Talk to folks who have already figured out how to accommodate for their own disabilities and hack for accessibility.

Sign up for the Conversations

Karen Braitmayer using a wheelchair in a modern building with stairs and ramps

Architect Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA, is the founding principal of Studio Pacifica, an accessibility consulting firm based in Seattle, Washington. Her “good fight” has consistently focused on supporting equity and full inclusion for persons with disabilities.

In 2019, she was chosen as the national winner of the AIA Whitney M. Young, Jr. award—a prestigious award given to an architect who “embodies social responsibility and actively addresses a relevant issue”. In the award’s 48-year history, she was the first recipient honored for their work in the area of civil rights for persons with disabilities. Braitmayer was also appointed by President Barack Obama to the United States Access Board, a position she retains today.


Join the Reimagining Mobility conversation

Join us for a series of conversations imagining the future of mobility. Hosted by CREATE Associate Directors Kat Steele and Heather Feldner, we connect and learn from guests who are engaged in critical mobility work – ranging from researchers to small business owners to self-advocates. We will dive deeply into conversations about mobility as a multifaceted concept, and explore how it intersects with other dimensions of access across contexts of research, education, and public policy. 

Sign up for the Conversations

CREATE Community Day & Research Showcase 2021

CREATE Community Day 2021, held on June 8, was a rich program that included an important discussion of the concerns and approaches to just, sustainable accessibility research that puts the needs of community members with disabilities front and center. Following this discussion, CREATE members highlighted what their labs are doing, with time to hear about a variety of individual projects. Here are some highlight videos of a small sample of the presentations:

Visual semantic understanding in blind and low-vision technology users
“I can bonk people!”: Effects of modified ride on cars on communication and socio-emotional development in children with disabilities
Blocks4All, an accessible blocks-based programming language
Decoding Intent With Control Theory: Comparing Muscle Versus Manual Interface Performance


Just one day later, the Future of Access Technology class held their final presentations. This class was designed to engage students in active contribution to the disability community, and included assignments to audio-describe videos for YouDescribe.org; try to address bugs within the NVDA open source screen reader community; and build first-person informed final projects on a wide range of topics, including:

  • Improved Word Alt Text plug-in modifies the default behavior in Microsoft PowerPoint when an image is inserted such that the user is prompted with a dialog box that guides them to create alt text that is high quality and contextually relevant to the image’s intended use.
    video preview | website
  • VSCodeTalk project implements a Visual Studio Code extension of CodeTalk, which  makes Visual Studio more accessible to visually impaired developers.
    video preview | website
  • Input Macros project makes it possible to easily add text shortcuts (e.g., “ty” automatically becomes “thank you”) in both Word and on the Web.
    video preview | website
  • Non-verbal Captioning project provides a SnapChat filter that explores how non-verbal captioning in video meeting applications can support DHH and other captioning users.
    video preview | website
  • Signal Monitoring for Accessibility for mobile and hardware programming makes serial port signal data, such as that generated by an Arduino system, accessible to BLV developers. Data can be copied to the system clipboard and audible cues are fired on significant events in the input data stream.
    video preview | website

CREATE Research Showcase – Spring 2021

Jun 8, 2021
9:30 a.m.
Register for Zoom invitation

The CREATE Community Meeting is open to the public.

Schedule

10:00 | Just Sustainable Accessibility Research – Panel

Although accessibility research is a fundamental component in reducing gaps in quality of life, health disparities, wealth disparities and digital access, many people with disabilities have had adverse experiences with researchers and accessibility professionals; consequently, communities and community members have lost trust in both the process of research and the people who conduct it. Too often, research has been conducted “on” rather than “with” people with disabilities and established communities, resulting in their being stigmatized or stereotyped. There has been increasing recognition that more comprehensive and participatory approaches to research and interventions are needed to address the complex set of determinants associated with problems that affect populations with disabilities, as well as those factors specifically associated with disparities affecting intersectional groups.

This panel aims to expose some of the tensions and problems facing people with disabilities when engaging in research. No attempts at solutions will be made.

11:00 |  Welcome

11:07 |  Lab fast-style presentations

CREATE labs introduce their work in 90 second segments.

11:30 | Showcase Breakout Sessions

Three breakout sessions, each lasting 17 minutes and 3 minutes between, are devoted to short presentations and Q&A about these CREATE-lab affiliated projects:

  • “Investigating visual semantic understanding in blind and low-vision technology users”
  • “Comparing muscle versus manual interface for people with and without limited movement”
  • “Living Disability Theory”
  • ““That’s Frustrating” – Stakeholder perceptions: provision processes, use, and future AFO needs for people with cerebral palsy”
  • “Decoding Intent With Control Theory: Comparing Muscle Versus Manual Interface Performance”
  • “Unimpaired adults can reduce motor control complexity during walking using biofeedback”
  • “Gait Recovery in Adults with Cervical Spinal Cord Injury Receiving Transcutaneous Spinal Stimulation”
  • “Reliability of Fitts’ Law”
  • “Stitching Together the Experience of Disabled Knitters”
  • “Mobility Gets Personal: Why Google Directions and Other Trip Planners Might Be Leading Us Where We May Not Want To Go”
  • “Perceptions of Disability and Mobility Technology Before and After Modified Ride-On Car Use in Caregivers of Children with Disabilities”
  • “”I can bonk people!”: Effects of Modified Ride On Cars On Communication and Socio-Emotional Development in Children with Disabilities”
  • “Ready, Set, Move! Tracking Children’s Modified Ride-On Car Use with a Custom Data Logger”
  • “Challenging Terrain: Community-Based Early Mobility Technology Research through the Lens of Critical Disability Theory”Time

Reimagining Mobility: Inclusive Living and Home Design

This UW CREATE event has passed. Continue to read a summary and watch a recording of the session. Sign up for future Reimagining Mobility Conversations.

You are looking for your first home – you’d like an open layout, 3 bedrooms, a big garage, lots of light, and easy access for your wheelchair. How many homes fit your criteria? Do the listings consider manual wheelchairs or bulkier powered wheelchairs with larger turning radii? These are just the start of the questions Barry Long would ask when viewing homes.

Barry Long is an advocate for people with disabilities who is helping to make real estate more accessible. In our third Conversation Hub session, Long shared how his passion for relationship building and helping others–combined with experiences as a manual wheelchair user, Dad and real estate broker–evolved into becoming a voting member of the Washington Building Code Council and advocating for standards for real estate listings.

Watch the conversation with Long about opening the door to accessible real estate and get a virtual look inside homes reimagined for inclusive living.

Accessible CS Education workshop focuses on inclusive experiences

Amid a global pandemic, innovative thinkers have been hard at work developing plans to improve equity in modern learning environments. The Accessible Computer Science Education Fall Workshop was held November 17-19, 2020, and jointly sponsored by Microsoft, The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, and CREATE.

Each day of the event focused on strategies to improve classroom experiences for students and faculty with disabilities. You can watch recorded sessions where speakers provided a wide range of perspectives on computer science pedagogy and how to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in computing disciplines.

Two students work together in a lab on a computer screen using accessibility tools

Two students work together on a computer screen using accessibility tools.

The event provided an intimate environment to share work and establish new collaborations. The most visible result, for now, is five white papers and action plans taken from the break-out group reports (CREATE faculty contributors noted):


The program resulted in more than conversations; each group developed formal white papers and action plans that will guide future research and collaboration.

Microsoft logo

Throughout the workshop, participants focused on four areas:

  1. Education for employment pathways
  2. Making K-12 computing education accessible
  3. Making higher education in computing accessible
  4. Building accessible hardware and systems.

Conversations generated ideas about technologies that can boost employment and assist people with disabilities who experience barriers in various learning environments.

The committee behind the event successfully cultivated a productive and inclusive atmosphere that sponsors hope will translate to future projects. Members of the committee include Andrew Begel, Heather Dowty, Cecily Morrison, Teddy Seyed, and Roy Zimmerman from Microsoft; Anat Caspi and Richard Ladner from UW CREATE; and Clayton Lewis from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Research Workshop for Undergraduates with Disabilities

CREATE and UW AccessComputing co-sponsored a 3-day research-focused workshop for undergraduates in computing fields who have disabilities. The OurCS@AccessComputing+CREATE workshop was held virtually on January 13 – 15, 2021.

Forty-six undergraduate students from around the nation participated in the workshop along with 10 faculty mentors who work in various research areas. The keynote speakers were Dr. Elaine Short from Tufts University, Dr. Nicholas Giudice from the University of Maine, and Dr. Jeanine Cook from Sandia National Laboratory.

Participants also heard a panel of senior students and recently finished graduate students with disabilities talk about their own experiences in graduate school. Each of the mentors led a short course on research in their area of expertise and were available to network with students.

Two student participants at the 2019 OurCS workshop use virtual reality goggles and hand controllers
Participants use VR at the 2019 OurCS workshop.

Eddith Figueroa, a student at the University of Texas at Austin appreciated hearing about the panelists’ experiences. “I really enjoyed the panel of people who were in grad school. It gave me a lot of perspective into what it would be like to try and go to grad school with a disability,” Figueroa said. Cameron Cassidy from Texas A&M University highlighted the information about graduate school, saying, “Professors Milne and Ladner shared a lot of good information about graduate school, which made me more comfortable in my decision to pursue an advanced degree.”

And Nayha Auradkar of the University of Washington found the networking opportunities valuable. “I learned a lot through networking with research leaders and engaging in the interactive research workshops,” Auradkar said.

“I really enjoyed the panel of people who were in grad school. It gave me a lot of perspective into what it would be like to try and go to grad school with a disability,”

Eddith Figueroa, University of Texas at Austin student

Funding for this workshop was provided by Google Explore CSR with additional support from AccessComputing and the UW Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences (CREATE).

AccessComputing is a valued partner of CREATE, helping CREATE in its objective to help “create pathways for more individuals with disabilities to
pursue careers in technology innovation.”