• Advisory Board: Welcome ChrisTiana ObeySumner

    CREATE welcomes our newest Advisory Board member, ChrisTiana ObeySumner.

    ObeySumner (they/them) is the CEO and principal consultant of Epiphanies of Equity LLC (https://www.christianaobeysumner.com/), a social equity consulting firm specializing in change management, social and organizational psychology, intersectional equity and liberation, and disability justice.

    ChrisTiana ObeySumner: a Black, queer, non-binary, and multiply disabled researcher in front of a bright red background

    For two decades, they’ve dedicated their life and career to exploring and practicing innovative approaches to achieving social equity – in other words, how to sustainably and effectively bring parity to areas of disparity so "humans can human with other humans" equitably, collectively, and intersectionally.

    ObeySumner joins board members Mary Bellard, Amy Hurst (who also joined recently), and Jonathan Lazar. Rory A. Cooper and Juan E Gilbert are concluding their board memberships this spring; we thank them for their perspective and expertise over the past two years.

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  • Faculty essay: Signs of Disability

    By Stephanie Kerschbaum, CREATE faculty member, Associate Professor of English, and Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric

    I’ve just returned to Seattle from a trip to a conference in Chicago. On that trip, I pointed out to a friend a billboard in a downtown Chicago bus stop inviting viewers to learn to recognize the signs of a rare medical condition. And just a bit later, at my gate in O’Hare, I found myself sitting across from a large advertisement sorrowfully highlighting the signs of autism.

    Headshot of Stephanie Kerschbaum, a white woman with short, red hair wearing a suit and pearls

    I can’t go very far in my everyday experience without encountering scores of material signs that point in various ways to disability. They’re not always giant billboards trumpeting the signs of a particular disability, but collectively, despite the fact that these signs are often well-intentioned, they nevertheless reinforce problematic orientations to disability that circumscribe how, where, and when disability can be noticed.

    Billboards like these signs had a great deal to do in motivating my work in Signs of Disability. One of the stories I tell in the book has to do with a yellow diamond-shaped “Deaf Person in Area” road sign that appeared in my neighborhood and which I subsequently spent a lot of time talking about with people around me. At first, when I pointed the sign out to my husband, we laughed about it. “Good thing we live in the neighborhood,” I joked to him, “so that there actually is a Deaf Person in the Area.” But when I shared this story with other people, they didn’t always think it was funny.

    The tension I felt between my own sense that the Deaf Person in Area sign did very little to meaningfully support attention to deafness and other people’s strong defenses of the sign (and others like it) was key to helping me build one of the core conceptual terms in Signs of Disability. That term, dis-attention, is an intentionally clunky neologism that points to the ways that disability is simultaneously hyper-perceptible and invisible in everyday life. The Deaf Person in Area needed a bold yellow sign warning others about her presence, but of course no one passing the sign has any idea who this Deaf Person in Area actually is, nor would they likely be able to identify the Deaf Person in Area.

    As a middle-aged white deaf cisgender woman in a heteronormative relationship, how deafness appeared on my body and became available for others to notice was a complicated question, and deafness was never legible outside of its entanglements with race, gender, sexuality, age, environment, and more. I started by pointing to my behind-the-ear hearing aids or the ways that others might interpret the sound of my voice or encounters where I am signing with other people or encounters where I announce or name my deafness in an interaction. But the list of ways that someone might identify cues pointing to deafness kept growing, and were interactionally contingent as well as tied up in others' perceptual practices which are themselves shaped by and through cultural milieus often saturated with ableism and dominant orientations to disability that limit how and when it can be perceived.

    Learning to recognize the signs of disability involves building a conceptual and practical vocabulary, to have embodied and en-minded experiences that make such signs available for noticing, and the central project of the book is to invite readers to consider not only how dis-attention shapes perception of disability, but also the ways that disabled ways of knowing and being can help change how disability comes to be noticed and to matter in the world.

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  • CSE course sequence designed with "accessibility from the start"

    The CSE 121, 122, and 123 introductory course sequence lets students choose their entry point into computer science and engineering studies, whatever their background, experience, or confidence level. And, as part of the effort to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA), the courses were designed with "accessibility from the start."

    A member of the course development team was a dedicated accessibility expert, tasked with developing guidelines for producing accessible materials: using HTML tags correctly, providing alt text for all images, and ensuring accurate captions on all videos. The team audited both content and platforms -- including the course website -- for accessibility concerns.

    In CSE's DEIA Newsletter article, author Brett Wortzman, Associate Teaching Faculty, points out that "many of the guidelines followed are good universal design, helping all students, not just those with disabilities, and at the same time reducing the work for instructors needing to comply with many DRS [Disability Resources for Students] accommodations."

    Excerpted from article by Brett Wortzman, Associate Teaching Faculty, in CSE's DEIA Newsletter.

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  • 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.

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  • UW and CREATE extended family shine in SIGCHI Awards

    We're so proud to have learned from and collaborated with these shining stars! UW and CREATE faculty and our extended family are prominent in the recently announced 2023 SIGCHI Awards. All three winners of the SIGCHI dissertation award, which recognizes "the most outstanding research contributions from recently graduated Ph.D. students within the HCI community" are associated with the UW, CREATE, and/or our campus partner, UW DUB (Design. Use. Build). 

    Congratulations to all!

    Screenshot from SIGCHI '23 awards page labeled "Outstanding Dissertation" with photos of Megan Hofmann, Dhruv Jain, and Kai Lukoff.

    Dhruv Jain, ‘22 Ph.D. UW Computer Science & Engineering

    Jain’s dissertation was honored for “advancing the design and evaluation of interactive systems to improve sound awareness for people who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). This research, drawing on his own experience as a person who is hard of hearing, has two goals: first, to better understand how DHH people feel about technology-mediated sound awareness and how these feelings manifest across contexts; and second, to design, build, and study new technical solutions for sound using iterative, human-centered design.” Jain is now an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan.

    Kai Lukoff, ‘22 Ph.D., UW Human Centered Design & Engineering

    Lukoff’s dissertation Designing to Support Sense of Agency for Time Spent on Digital Interfaces addresses the problem that mobile devices are omnipresent in many people’s lives, and yet many people are dissatisfied with how much and when they use them. They adopt various devices and apps for their promise to connect with others, to accomplish tasks, and to be entertained, but may then find that their use–or others’ use–of those very same apps and devices gets in the way of connection, productivity, and meaningful entertainment. Lukoff is now an assistant professor in computer science and engineering at Santa Clara University, where he directs the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Read more about Lukoff's research on HCDE.

    Megan Hofmann, ‘22 Ph.D. Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon

    • CREATE and UW DUB alum

    SIGCHI recognizes Hofmann’s research on “Optimizing Medical Making” for taking “a strong interdisciplinary approach, both with improved understanding of an important domain, and substantive technical contributions, using methodologies ranging from systems and programming language contributions, to ethnographic methods. This has allowed the work to make contributions in multiple areas such as accessibility, software tools, and digital fabrication.” Hofmann was advised by CREATE co-director Jennifer Mankoff at Carnegie Mellon University. Hofmann is currently an assistant professor of computer science and mechanical engineering at the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University.

    Screenshot from SIGCHI '23 awards page labeled "Societal Impact" with photo of Nicola Dell.

    Nicola Dell, '15 Ph.D. UW Computer Science and Engineering

    Dell received a Societal Impact Award, cited for exemplary work that represents an unusually ‘full stack’ model of intervention and social impact. "She has been the driving force in putting tech-related Intimate Partner Violence abuses on the radar of companies, government, and HCI as a field; has offered direct and meaningful support to survivors; and has produced real-world changes that have begun to combat this pervasive and insidious problem." Dell is currently an associate professor of information and computer science at Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.

    CREATE Co-director Jennifer Mankoff received the Social Impact Award in 2022.

    Screenshot from SIGCHI '23 awards page labeled "Lifetime Research" with photo of Gregory Abowd.

    Gregory Abowd, '91 Ph.D. Computation, University of Oxford, UK

    • Mentor and advisor to some of the most influential leaders in accessibility, usability, and HCI at the UW and beyond.

    And we’re appreciating the influence of Lifetime Research Award recipient Gregory Abowd, '91 Ph.D. Computation, University of Oxford, UK. A leader in disability research with a focus specifically on autism, Abowd has mentored or advised CREATE co-director Jennifer Mankoff and many CREATE members and DUB faculty, including Anind Dey (Dean of the UW iSchool), Julie Kientz (Chair of UW HCDE), and Shwetak Patel (professor in UW CSE and ECE). SIGCHI described Abowd as, "A world leader in the invention and application of ubiquitous computing technologies, his work has defined the field over the past three decades, and his intellectual contributions have shaped two major themes in ubiquitous computing: context-aware computing and automated capture and access of live experiences. He has shown how a variety of application areas—the classroom, the home, autism, and health care—benefit from innovations in mobile and ubiquitous technologies.

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  • Rory Cooper, CREATE Advisory Board member, receives IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award

    Congratulations to CREATE Advisory Board member Rory Cooper on receiving the 2022 IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award!

    For more than 25 years, Cooper has been developing technology to improve the lives of people with disabilities and his inventions have helped countless wheelchair users get around with more ease and comfort. 

    Rory A. Cooper, a white man with salt-and-pepper hair, dressed in a suit and tie.

    Cooper’s first innovations in mobility were a modification to the back brace he wore after a spinal cord injury left him paralyzed from the waist down, then a better wheelchair, then an electric-powered version that helped its user stand up. After earning his Ph.D. in electrical & computer engineering with a concentration in bioengineering at University of California at Santa Barbara, he focused his career on developing assistive technology.

    Cooper (second from the left) and his colleagues—David Constantine, Jorge Candiotti, and Andrin Vuthaj (standing)—at the University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories working on the MEBot. Photo: ABIGAIL ALBRIGHT

    Since 2013, Cooper and his team at the University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories have been working to develop advancements including a wheelchair that can travel on rough terrain. 

    The most common cause of emergency-room visits by wheelchair users is falling from the chair or tipping over. "This often happens when the individual’s wheelchair hits thresholds in doorways, drives off small curbs, or transitions from a sidewalk to a ramp,” Cooper said.

    The team hopes that the Mobility Enhancement Robotic Wheelchair, known as the MEBot, can minimize such injuries.

    The MEBot, can climb curbs up to 20 centimeters high and can self-level as it drives over uneven terrain. It does so thanks to six wheels that move up and down plus two sets of smaller omnidirectional wheels in the front and back. The wheelchair’s larger, powered wheels can reposition themselves to simulate front-, mid-, or rear-wheel drive.

    This article is excerpted from the IEEE Spectrum's award announcement.

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  • UnlockedMaps provides real-time accessibility info for rail transit users

    Congratulations to CREATE Ph.D. student Ather SharifOrson (Xuhai) Xu, and team for this great project on transit access! Together they developed UnlockedMaps, a web-based map that allows users to see in real time how accessible rail transit stations are in six metro areas including Seattle, Philadelphia (where the project was first conceived by Sharif and a friend at a hackathon), Chicago, Toronto, New York, and the California Bay Area.

    screenshot of UnlockedMaps in New York. Stations that are labeled green are accessible while stations that are labeled orange are not accessible. Yellow stations have elevator outages reported.

    Shown here is a screenshot of UnlockedMaps in New York. Stations that are labeled green are accessible while stations that are labeled orange are not accessible. Yellow stations have elevator outages reported.

    Sharif, a UW doctoral student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering advised by CREATE Co-Director Jacob O. Wobbrock, said the team also included nearby and accessible restaurant and bathroom data. "I think restaurants and restrooms are two of the most common things that people look for when they plan their commute. But no other maps really let you filter those out by accessibility. You have to individually click on each restaurant and check if it’s accessible or not, using Google Maps. With UnlockedMaps, all that information is right there!"

    Adapted from UW News interview with Ather Sharif. Read full article »

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  • CREATE Contributes to RFP on Healthcare Accessibility

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) requested public comment about comprehensive, longitudinal, person-centered care planning for people with Multiple Chronic Conditions (MCC). CREATE contributed to a disability justice-focused response that highlights nine recommendations:

    1. Account for medical trauma.
    2. Meet basic standards for accessibility.
    3. Value individual and community knowledge about MCC.
    4. Treat accessibility as a first-class component of patient care.
    5. Prioritize community.
    6. Look beyond "care."
    7. Remove financial barriers.
    8. Include people with MCC in planning.
    9. Enable people with MCC to enter clinical roles

    Read the full response (PDF).

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  • CREATE + I-LABS: focus on access, mobility, and the brain

    A new research and innovation partnership between CREATE and the UW Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) focuses on access, mobility, and the brain, especially how early experiences with mobility technology impact brain development and learning outcomes.

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  • Accessible teaching strategies

    CREATE faculty member Stephanie Kerschbaum has contributed to a set of guidelines to help UW faculty plan, design, and adapt their teaching around students' needs.

    Headshot of Stephanie Kerschbaum, a white woman with short, red hair wearing a suit and pearls

    “Accessibility is about recognizing that access is a complex, relational configuration as people move and share space together. Accessible teaching requires us to be in conversation with and responsive to our students.”

    – Stephanie Kerschbaum, UW professor and disability studies scholar

    The guidelines include general strategies such as anticipating students' needs and using technology that supports accessibility and discarding technology that may impede it. Specific strategies include alternative assignments, smaller quizzes, and/or take home exams to provide students greater flexibility and agency.

    Visit the UW Center for Learning and Teaching's Accessible Teaching Strategies webpage for details and share the link with colleagues!

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  • Community Day 2022 Wrap-up

    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:

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  • Ga11y improves accessibility of automated GIFs for visually impaired users

    Animated GIFs, prevalent in social media, texting platforms and websites, often lack adequate alt-text descriptions, resulting in inaccessible GIFs for blind or low-vision (BLV) users and the loss of meaning, context, and nuance in what they read. In an article published in the Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '22), a research team led by CREATE Co-director Jacob O. Wobbrock has demonstrated a system called Ga11y (pronounced “galley”) for creating GIF annotations and improving the accessibility of animated GIFs.

    Video describing Ga11y, an Automated GIF Annotation System for Visually Impaired Users. The video frame shows an obscure image and the question, How would you describe this GIF to someone so they can understand it without seeing it?

    Ga11y combines the power of machine intelligence and crowdsourcing and has three components: an Android client for submitting annotation requests, a backend server and database, and a web interface where volunteers can respond to annotation requests.

    Wobbrock's co-authors are Mingrui “Ray” Zhang, a Ph.D. candidate in the UW iSchool, and Mingyuan Zhong, a Ph.D. student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

    Part of this work was funded by CREATE.

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  • Wobbrock team's VoxLens allows screen-reader users to interact with data visualizations

    A screen reader with a refreshable Braille display. Credit: Elizabeth Woolner/Unsplash

    Working with screen-reader users, CREATE graduate student Ather Sharif and Co-Director Jacob O. Wobbrock, along with other UW researchers, have designed VoxLens, a JavaScript plugin that allows people to interact with visualizations. To implement VoxLens, visualization designers add just one line of code.

    Millions of Americans use screen readers for a variety of reasons, including complete or partial blindness, learning disabilities or motion sensitivity. But visually-oriented graphics often are not accessible to people who use screen readers. VoxLens lead author Sharif, a UW doctoral student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering noted, “Right now, screen-reader users either get very little or no information about online visualizations, which, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, can sometimes be a matter of life and death. The goal of our project is to give screen-reader users a platform where they can extract as much or as little information as they want.”

    With written content, there is a beginning, middle and end of a sentence, Wobbrock, Co-senior author explained, “But as soon as you move things into two dimensional spaces, such as visualizations, there’s no clear start and finish. It’s just not structured in the same way, which means there’s no obvious entry point or sequencing for screen readers.”

    Participants learned how to use VoxLens and then completed nine tasks, each of which involved answering questions about a visualization. Compared to participants who did not have access to this tool, VoxLens users completed the tasks with 122% increased accuracy and 36% decreased interaction time.

    Learn more

    This article was excerpted from a UW News article. Read the full article for additional details about the project.

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  • Heather Feldner 'wrote the book' on  power mobility device for babies

    CREATE Associate Director Heather Feldner has ​authored two guidebooks, instructing caregivers, researchers and ​clinicians how to introduce Permobil's ​Explorer Mini to young children between the ages of 12 and 36 months. Permobil's Explorer Mini is a new, lightweight, joystick-operated powered mobility device ​that provides opportunities for mobility, exploration, and play for children with disabilities at ages and stages that are more equitable compared to their peers without disabilities.

    Headshot of Heather Feldner, smiling brightly. She is a white woman with short brown and grey hair, and wears dark rimmed glasses, a gray shirt and black sweater.

    Feldner ​and her co-authors have synthesized their own work  and ​work from pioneers in the field, describing the benefits and impact of on-time access to mobility, as well as evidence-based strategies for introducing powered mobility to young children based on developmental and experiential learning stages. ​This multidisciplinary guideline was authored by Feldner, a pediatric physical therapist, Teresa Plummer, an occupational therapist, and Alyson Hendry, a speech-language pathologist, with key input from 40 stakeholders across the world, including caregivers of young children who use powered mobility devices.

    The guideline is available open-source and consists of a full, peer-reviewed research document as well as a caregiver guidebook version introducing the Explorer Mini and the various learning stages for infants and toddlers with disabilities. The guideline covers a wide variety of topics including collaborative partnership with caregivers and children, safety, a description of developmental domains that powered mobility introduction affects (such as cognition, communication, socio-emotional development, and participation), as well as practical tips and strategies for facilitating success in mobility and exploration at every learning stage. 

    Feldner’s research ​at UW centers on the design and implementation of mobility technology and its effects upon activity and participation within a variety of personal and environmental contexts, including how perceptions of disability and identity emerge and evolve through technology use. ​She is also engaged in research and advocacy work centered on disability as an integral part of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and anti-ableism in healthcare education and beyond. 

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  • CREATE student Venkatesh Potluri is an Apple Scholar

    Venkatesh Potluri has been selected as a 2022 Apple Scholar — a fellowship that supports cutting-edge machine learning researchers at the graduate and post-graduate level.

    A Ph.D. student in the Allen School, Potluri is advised by CREATE Co-Director Jennifer Mankoff in the Make4All Group.

    Venkatesh Potluri leans toward the camera smiling with eyes cast downward.

    As an Apple Scholar, Potluri is recognized as an emerging leader in computer science and engineering and will receive funding to pursue his Ph.D., internship opportunities, and mentorship with an Apple researcher.

    Potluri's research makes overlooked software engineering spaces such as IOT and user interface development accessible to developers who are blind or visually impaired. Visually impaired himself, his work systematically understands the accessibility gaps in these spaces and addresses them by enhancing widely used programming tools.

    Previously, Potluri received a 2019 Google Lime Scholarship and a 2018-2019 Microsoft Endowed Fellowship.

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  • Feldner and Harniss receive research poster award for work on allyship training in rehabilitation education

    Heather Feldner and Mark Harniss team received a blue ribbon award as one of the top 3 posters for Social Responsibility at an American Physical Therapy Association meeting.

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  • Richard Ladner named AAAS Fellow

    Congratulations to CREATE Director for Education Richard Ladner on being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)! He is among 564 new fellows from around the world elected in 2021 for distinguished achievements in science and engineering.

    Ladner was recognized for his advocacy and inclusion efforts for people with disabilities in computer science and related fields. His work has included development of numerous tools to perform specific tasks, including translating textbook figures into formats accessible to persons with disabilities, and enabling people to communicate via cell phones using American Sign Language.

    In addition to the AAAS fellowship, Ladner has been honored as a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, an Association for Computing Machinery Fellow and an IEEE Fellow.

    Excerpted from the UW News article. See the AAAS announcement.

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  • CREATE Submits RFI on Disability Bias in Biometrics

    CREATE's response to the Science and Technology Policy Office's request for "Information on Public and Private Sector Uses of Biometric Technologies"

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  • CREATE Co-Director Jacob O. Wobbrock Named ACM Fellow

    We congratulate CREATE Co-Director Jacob O. Wobbrock on being named an ACM Fellow by the Association for Computing Machinery for his contributions to human-computer interaction and accessible computing!

    Wobbrock's research seeks to understand and improve people’s interactions with computers and information, especially for people with disabilities. He is the primary creator of ability-based design, which scrutinizes the ability assumptions embedded in technologies in an effort to create systems better matched to what people can do.

    For this and his other contributions to accessible computing, he received the 2017 ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award and the 2019 SIGACCESS ASSETS Paper Impact Award. He was also inducted to the ACM CHI Academy in 2019. In addition to being a CREATE founding co-director, Professor Wobbrock directs the ACE Lab and is a founding member of UW’s cross-campus DUB Group.

    The ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. ​​Its Fellows program recognizes the top 1% of members for their outstanding accomplishments in computing and information technology and/or outstanding service to the ACM and the larger computing community. ACM Fellows are nominated by their peers, with nominations reviewed by a distinguished selection committee.

    Wobbrock, and the other 70 Fellows named in 2021 will be formally recognized at the ACM Awards Banquet in San Francisco in June.

    This article is adapted from the UW Information School (iSchool) article and the ACM press release.

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  • Findlater and co-authors receive 2020 Best Paper award for study of Voice Assistants by Older Adults

    The Association for Computing Machinery announced the 2020 Best Paper Award goes to Use of Intelligent Voice Assistants by Older Adults with Low Technology Use, co-authored by CREATE associate director Leah Findlater, Alisha Pradhan and Amanda Lazar.

    The team conducted a 3-week field deployment of the Amazon Echo Dot in the homes of seven older adults to understand how older, infrequent users of technology perceive and use voice assistants. They observed consistent usage for finding health-related information, highlighting concerns about credibility of information with this new interaction medium.

    Headshot of Leah Findlater, smiling warmly. She is a white woman with brown hair.

    Leah Findlater, CREATE Associate Director

    And while voice-based interaction appeared to be easy to learn, the study pointed to some usability and accessibility challenges to be addressed, including:

    • Devices timing out before users complete their voice commands
    • Unclear and inconsistent voice commands that must be remembered
    • Dependency on paired computing devices
    • Lack of awareness of the voice assistance device's capabilities

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