Headshot of Richard Ladner. He has grey hair and beard and is wearing a blue shirt and colorful tie.

Richard Ladner, Associate Director

The CREATE community thanks Professor Emeritus Richard Ladner for three years of leadership as one of our founders and CREATE’s inaugural Education Director. Ladner initiated the CREATE Student Minigrant Program that helps fund small grants up to $2,000 in support of student initiated research projects. He has shepherded 10 minigrants and worked directly with eight Teach Access Study Away students. Through his AccessComputing program, he helped fund several summer research internships for undergraduate students working with CREATE faculty. All CREATE faculty contribute to accessibility related education in their courses, where he provides encouragement.

I am interested in accessibility technology research, especially technology for deaf, deaf-blind, hard-of-hearing, and blind people. Active in promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in computing fields, I am the Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation funded AccessComputing and AccessCSforAll.


Professor Emeritus, Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering

Principal Investigator, AccessComputing

Principal Investigator, AccessCSforAll

Research highlights


ASL-STEM Forum is a website for scientists who know American Sign Language (ASL) to upload signs for terms in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. These signs can be used by teachers, interpreters and other professionals in need of knowledge about how to sign a particular STEM term. Since 2010 more than 3000 signs have been uploaded with more than 1.3  million views on YouTube.


Perkinput is a non-visual text entry method for touchscreens based on Braille developed by Shiri Azenkot, a student of Richard Ladner and Jacob Wobbrock.  The method does not use specific targets but tracks fingers as they type six-dot Braille characters on the screen. Braille can be input with one hand on a small touchscreen or with two hands on a larger touchscreen.  In studies users can type up to 17 words per minute with one hand and 37 words per minute with two hands with high accuracy.  Braille-based text entry is now common on touchscreen devices.


Blocks4All is an accessible block-based programming environment for young children developed by Lauren Milne, a student of Richard Ladner.  Block-based programming environments like Scratch, Alice, and many others are the most popular for young children to learn computing concepts such as conditional and loops.  Unfortunately, none of these environments are accessible to young screen reader users. Blocks4All is the first block-based programming environment for touchscreen devices that is fully accessible.


AccessComputing is a National Science Foundation program, founded in 2006 and centered at the University Washington, with the goal of increasing the participation and success of individuals with disabilities in computing fields. It is a joint project with the Allen School, Information School, and the DO-IT center.  To date, it has served more than one thousand students across the United States providing professional development, peer mentoring, industry and research internships, and funding for travel to conferences.  With its 65+ academic, organizational, and industry partners, it has also focused on institutional change, influencing computing departments, organizations, and companies to make sure they are welcoming and accessible to people with disabilities.  

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