Jennifer Mankoff, Founding Co-Director

My research focuses on accessibility and 3D printing.  I have led the effort to better understand both clinical and DIY stakeholders in this process, and developed better, more usable tools for production. Together, these can enhance the capabilities and participation of all users in today’s  manufacturing revolution.


Richard E. Ladner Professor, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering

Director, Make4all Lab

Research highlights

Better data sets that capture the varied experience of people with disabilities

Better data sets that capture the varied experience of people with disabilities are crucial to building better accessibility solutions. Mankoff has been involved in multiple pioneering data collection efforts. Most recently, her work capturing fine-grained, longitudinal behavioral data about the experiences of college undergraduates with and without disabilities has allowed her to study the unequal impacts of COVID-19’s changes to society on students with disabilities. She has also collected, and is currently exploring the first data set containing fine-grained end-to-end trip data about over 60 people with disabilities, combined with self reports of successes and failures. In the past, she collected over a year of real-world mouse data from individuals with various impairments, a data set whose size is unparalleled in a community that usually tests ideas on 1-10 individuals in lab settings. With this data, she was able to pioneer pixel based analysis methods that could improve on standard accessibility APIs, achieving a shift from 75% to 89% in accuracy identifying on-screen targets; demonstrate the huge variability within a single user and among many users with impairments that affect desktop computer use; and develop classifiers that could dynamically determine a user’s pointing ability with 92% accuracy on a single sample.

Better understanding of clinical and DIY accessible technology production

The advent of consumer-grade fabrication technology, most notably low-cost 3D printing, has opened the door to increasing power and participation in do-it-yourself and do-for-others accessible technology production. However, such production faces challenges not only at the level of process and policy, but with respect to materials, design tools, and follow-up. As summarized in a 2019 Communications of The ACM article, Mankoff has led the effort to better understand both clinical and DIY stakeholders in this process, and developed better, more usable tools for production. Together, these can enhance the capabilities and participation of all users in today’s  manufacturing revolution.

AccessSIGCHI directorship

Mankoff is the long-time director of AccessSIGCHI, the national group that has helped to improve conference accessibility in one of ACM’s largest professional groups, and is working collaboratively to help set standards and document best practices for use across ACM.

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Jacob O. Wobbrock, Founding Co-Director

My research seeks to scientifically understand people’s experiences of computers and information, and to improve those experiences through design and engineering, especially for people with disabilities. My specific research topics include input & interaction techniques, human performance measurement & modeling, HCI research & design methods, mobile computing, and accessible computing.


Professor, The Information School

Adjunct Professor, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering

Director, ACE Lab

Research highlights

Slide Rule

A project that invented the world’s first touch-based finger-driven screen reader for smartphones. The interaction techniques employed by Slide Rule influenced Apple in their creation of VoiceOver, their built-in smartphone screen reader, and subsequently TalkBack on Android. Developed from 2007-2008, today Slide Rule has directly influenced products shipping on billions of touch devices. This work was recently honored for its impact.

Ability-Based Design

A new design approach developed from 2008-2020 that emphasizes what people can do and seeks to tailor technologies to people’s specific abilities through adaptation, customization, and ability-focused design practice. Interfaces that adapt to their users’ abilities, touch recognizers that model their users’ touch behaviors, and mouse cursors that dynamically adapt their speeds to make pointing more accurate were all projects that came from, and informed, ability-based design, whose 2018 Communications of the ACM article has been influential at major companies, including Microsoft.

Accessible Input Techniques

Mouse pointing and text entry are still the most fundamental inputs we give desktop and laptop computing systems, but for many users, these bedrock input capabilities are still inaccessible. Since my own doctoral research from 2001-2006, I have been inventing and evaluating more accessible means of providing input to computing systems. For example, my EdgeWrite technology provided more accessible text input using handheld devices, wheelchair joysticks, touchpads, and trackballs. Recently, my Pointing Magnifier 2 software, originally a research project with Leah Findlater, provides a cursor replacement on Microsoft Windows that has been useful to people with motor or visual impairments, older adults, and graphic designers.

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Richard Ladner, Director for Education

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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