CREATE faculty, students and partners collaborate on exciting breakthroughs in accessible technology—advancing the inclusion and participation for people with disabilities. We focus on enabling people with disabilities to be part of the creation process, giving people with disabilities the education, voice, inspiration and opportunity to enter and move through their education and into professional settings.

CREATE faculty bring multiple perspectives including technology design and engineering, and also disability rights and advocacy. Some of CREATE’s research foci include:

Equitable environments

The built environment is not always built for everyone. High-detail crowdsourced navigation systems, such as Project Sidewalk and Open Sidewalks, convey the accessibility of sidewalks, entrances, interior spaces and public transit for people with mobility and sensory impairments. 

Early Accessibility and the Brain

How do early experiences with mobility technology impact brain development and learning outcomes? CREATE is partnering with the UW Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) to answer this and other questions. Our joint work will demonstrate that early access to mobility technology is a critical asset for development and learning, rather than a last resort for remediation or accommodation. This work also contributes to CREATE’s goal of understanding and addressing historical perceptions of disability and assistive technology, which often serve to perpetuate exclusion despite legislation protecting individuals’ rights to mobility and technology.

Mobile Device Accessibility

Mobile apps have become a key feature of everyday life, with apps for banking, work, entertainment, communication, transportation, and education, to name a few. But many apps remain inaccessible to people with disabilities who use screen readers or other assistive technologies. CREATE is working to support automated diagnosis and repair of mobile app accessibility failures for all mobile apps. CREATE faculty are also exploring other aspects of mobile app accessibility, such as creating better touch screens based on how people with disabilities actually interact.

Access, Equity and Inclusion

CREATE’s work includes efforts to improve data equity. Examples include our commentary on disability bias in biometrics; work on data visualization access during COVID; development of a blocks-based language accessible to students with disabilities; and the recent CREATE seminar focused on the intersection of race and disability.


  • 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…

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  • Feldner and Steele's 'Reimagining Mobility' series featured in The Daily

    Collaboration and diverse perspectives and approaches are at the heart of CREATE's mission to make technology accessible and make the world accessible though technology. One program developed by CREATE faculty looks at mobility solutions and ways to eliminate barriers. Hosted by CREATE associate directors Kat Steele and Heather Feldner, the Reimagining Mobility Conversation Hub brings…

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  • Reimagining Mobility: Inclusive Architecture

    Click to view the captioned and transcribed video on YouTube 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…

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  • CREATE Community Day and research showcase

    CREATE Community Day 2021 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. CREATE members highlighted what their labs are doing, with time to hear about a variety of individual projects. Read on…

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  • CREATE Research Showcase - Spring 2021

    Schedule of events for the 2021 CREATE Research Showcase. Open to the public, CREATE faculty and students share research in accessibility.

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