ASSETS Paper Impact Award

Jacob Wobbrock honored for improving touch-screen accessibility

Congratulations to Jacob O. Wobbrock, a founding co-director of CREATE, for his work with Shaun Kane, PhD ’11 and Jeffrey Bigham, PhD ’09 improving the accessibility of mobile technology.

The team received the 2019 SIGACCESS ASSETS Paper Impact Award for their 2008 paper, “Slide Rule: Making mobile touch screens accessible to blind people using multi-touch techniques.” The award is given biennially by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing and recognizes a paper published at least a decade earlier that made a significant innovation that has been influential in the field.

Slide Rule addressed the challenge of navigating within a screen when mobile phones transitioned from physical buttons to touch screens. Their methods represented the first screen reader for touch screens, using simple gestures for navigation and tapping targets. These features have since become mainstream in commercial products.

Given the prevalence of touch screens in our society, the need to make them accessible to all people is still great, and we will continue to pursue that goal, along with the many other projects we are doing.

Jacob O. Wobbrock

As technology continues to advance, Wobbrock’s team continues to identify innovative methods for interaction that improve accessibility. Read more about the award and his recent research.