OVERVIEW OF ASSETS 2022
Stephanie Ludi, University of North Texas, email@example.com
Kristen Shinohara, Rochester Institute of Technology, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 24th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2022), was held in Athens, Greece between October 23rd to 26th, 2022. ASSETS continues to be the premier computing research conference exploring the design, evaluation, and use of computing and information technologies with and for people with disabilities and older adults. ASSETS 2022 was held in-person for the first time since 2019. Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, a lightweight online component for virtual conference attendees was conducted as well. In order to support both accessibility and inclusivity, and balancing technical infrastructure and time-zone constraints, all presentations were also pre-recorded and captioned to support both virtual and in-person conference attendees. There were additional creative opportunities for hybrid connections and socializing across modalities, including online trivia and roundtable social networking events. We acknowledge that future ASSETS organizing committees will need to make their own decisions about the length and format of the conference, and so the decision to have an in-person with light-weight online component is not a permanent decision.
Overall, ASSETS 2022 had 161 in-person and 146 virtual attendees from 38 countries and 6 continents. For the first time, we hosted 5 virtual workshops, with 94 workshop-only attendees.
The ASSETS 2022 program spanned three days, and consisted of keynote speeches, panels, presentations, demonstrations, and social events.
On Day 1, the program started with keynote presentation by Haben Girma. The keynote was followed by the first Poster session, featuring virtual Student Research Competition poster presentations. The first Technical Paper session showcased work with the theme of “AR, VR and Games”. After the lunch break, the second Technical Paper session featured topics within the theme of “Representation and Inclusion”. The afternoon session began with a continuation of the morning Poster session, followed by the Technical Paper session “Data for Modeling and Recognition”. Day 1 concluded with an evening reception and Demo session.
On Day 2, the SIGACCESS Outstanding Contributions Keynote address was presented by Clayton Lewis. After a short break and second Poster Session, the Technical Paper session on “Composition in Music, Programming and Design” was presented. After the lunch break, a session was dedicated to the Student Research Competition Finalists’ presentations. The fifth Technical Paper session presented work in the area of “Communication”. After the afternoon break with continuation of the second Poster Session, the final technical paper session for Day 2 focused on “Social Media and Media”. The SIGACCESS Town Hall convened at the end of Day 2, followed by an off-site reception at the Acropolis Museum.
On Day 3, the Technical Paper session on “Tactile and Haptics” started the day. After a short break, the technical presentations continued with the session entitled “Accessibility in Daily Living.” After lunch, the final Technical Paper session was dedicated to “Safety, Rehabilitation, and Transportation”. The closing plenary followed. During the closing session, the ASSETS 2022 awards were presented, and Dr. Jon Froehlich introduced the ASSETS 2023 chairs along with an announcement about the upcoming conference.
The opening keynote was presented by lawyer and disability rights advocate Haben Girma. The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma is a human rights lawyer advancing disability justice. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change. She received the Helen Keller Achievement Award, a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and TIME100 Talks. President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Chancellor Angela Merkel have all honored Haben. Haben believes disability is an opportunity for innovation, and she teaches organizations the importance of choosing inclusion. The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, and TODAY Show featured her memoir, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law. The presentation titled “I’m human, too: the biases driving accessibility solutions,” overviewed the ableism Ms. Girma experienced growing up deafblind, including in college and law school, and how these experiences led to her work in advocacy.
The featured keynote on the second day was by Dr. Clayton Lewis, the SIGACCESS Outstanding Contributions awardee. Dr. Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Lewis served previously as Co-Director for Technology for the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, and Fellow of the Institute of Cognitive Science, at CU, and as technology advisor to the director of the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research, US Department of Education. Before joining the University of Colorado, Lewis was Manager of Human Factors at IBM's Watson Research Center, where he was a member of the research staff from 1970 to 1973 and 1979 to 1984. He holds degrees from Princeton, MIT, and the University of Michigan. He has been honored by appointment to the ACM SIGCHI Academy, by the SIGCHI Social Impact Award, and by the Strache Leadership Award (CSUN Assistive Technology Conference). In his talk titled, “Challenges and opportunities in technology for inclusion,” Dr. Lewis challenged the ASSETS community to consider a range of possibilities from predictable impacts of new technologies to difficult matters of perspective and policy that influence the development of future innovations.
Papers, Posters, Demonstrations, and Experience Reports
The technical program featured 35 papers, selected by the program committee from 132 submissions (acceptance rate of 26.5%). The program also included six papers published in TACCESS in the past year. These papers presented work from the leading edge of accessible computing research, including novel tools and interaction methods, advances in VR and AR for accessibility, accessible technologies for independent living in everyday life, and the perception and representation of disabilities by diverse groups.
The Posters and Demos track, chaired by Taslima Akter and Hugo Nicolau, received 73 submissions. The program committee selected 43 posters and demos for presentation, resulting in an acceptance rate of 59%. The accepted posters presented late-breaking work from the research and professional community. The accepted demos provided an opportunity for conference attendees to experience new advances in accessible technology both in-person and virtually.
The Experience Reports track documented authors’ personal or stakeholder experiences related to the creation, use, and deployment of accessible technologies. Chaired by Katherine Ringland and Garreth Tigwell, this track received 27 submissions, of which seven reports were selected for presentation (acceptance rate of 26%). ACM SIGACCESS is remains committed to developing the next generation of researchers in the field of accessible computing.
Student Research Competition
The ACM Student Research Competition (SRC), chaired by Mingming Fan and Roshan Peiris, provided a forum for both undergraduate and graduate students to present their original research before a panel of judges and receive individual feedback on their work from experts in the field. This year, three entries were selected as SRC finalists to give poster presentations. All participants gave oral presentations at the conference. Winners from the ASSETS 2022 SRC subsequently went on to compete in the ACM-wide grand finals. For three consecutive years, the ASSETS Conference has highlighted submissions that include components accessible to the public through the Best Artifact Award.
The Workshops track debuted at this year’s ASSETS conference. Led by Kyle Montague and Sowmya Somanath, five workshops were held virtually in the weeks preceding the conference. These five workshops were selected after a juried review process where researchers and practitioners who work in the areas of accessibility, disability and computing were invited to comment and discuss the workshop proposal submissions. The five workshops in the inaugural year were:
- The Future of Urban Accessibility for People with Disabilities: Data Collection, Analytics, Policy, and Tools
- A Workshop on Disability Inclusive Remote Co-Design
- Including Accessibility in Computer Science Education
- Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Designing Accessible Systems for Users with Multiple Impairments: Grand Challenges and Opportunities for Future Research
- Designing with and for People with Intellectual Disabilities
This year’s ASSETS continues the long-standing tradition of supporting and showcasing the work of doctoral student researchers. The Doctoral Consortium, chaired by Aqueasha MartinHammond and Katta Spiel, brought together twelve doctoral students to discuss their work with a panel of established researchers in a one-day workshop on the Saturday before the main conference. A special edition of the SIGACCESS newsletter features extended abstracts from these doctoral students.
Within the high-quality work presented at ASSETS, several awards were presented to acknowledge exceptional work presented at the conference. The Best Paper Award was presented to Niharika Mathur, Kunal Dhodapkar, Tamara Zubatiy, Jiachen Li, Brian D Jones (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, United States), and Elizabeth D Mynatt (Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States) for their paper entitled “A Collaborative Approach to Support Medication Management in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment Using Conversational Assistants (CAs).”
The Best Student Paper Award was presented to Mauricio Fontana de Vargas, Jiamin Dai, Karyn Moffatt (School of Information Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada) for their paper titled “AAC with Automated Vocabulary from Photographs: Insights from School and Speech-Language Therapy Settings.”
The Artifact Award is awarded to submissions that have a publicly available component such as an app or data set. The awardees were selected through both delegate voting and judges’ input. First place winners were tied: Mauricio Fontana de Vargas, Jiamin Dai, Karyn Moffatt (School of Information Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada) won for their artifact, “AAC with Automated Vocabulary from Photographs: Insights from School and Speech-Language Therapy Settings,” and Venkatesh Potluri (University of Washington, USA), Maulishree Pandey (University of Michigan, USA), Andrew Begel, Michael Barnett, and Scott Reitherman (Microsoft Research, USA) won for their artifact, “CodeWalk: Facilitating Shared Awareness in Mixed-Ability Collaborative Software Development.” Third place winners were Ather Sharif, Aneesha Ramesh, Trung-Anh H. Nguyen, Luna Chen, Kent R. Zeng, Lanqing Hou and Xuhai Xu (University of Washington, USA) for their artifact “UnlockedMaps: Visualizing Real-Time Accessibility of Urban Rail Transit Using a Web-Based Map.”
The success of the ASSETS 2022 conference is the result of the significant effort from everyone from the authors to the reviewers, committee members, and many others. We thank the authors of the technical papers, posters, demos, and experience reports, as well as the applicants to the Doctoral Consortium and Student Research Competition. Their efforts, both in-person and virtual, provided a window into leading accessibility research this past year. We also thank the program committee and additional reviewers, Sri Kurniawan and Clayton Lewis, for reviewing submissions and providing authors with helpful feedback.
We want to take this opportunity to thank the members of the organizing committee, whose combined efforts culminated in ASSETS 2022. The members of the organizing committee are: Treasurer and Registration Chair Martez Mott, Hybrid Experience Chair Christian Vogler, Virtual Chairs Emma McDonnell, Kelly Mack, Benjamin Tannert, Laurianne Sitbon, Accessibility Chairs J. Bern Jordan and Lei Shi, Equity and Belonging Chairs Lou Anne Boyd, John A. Guerra Gomez, Proceedings Chairs Raja Kushalnagar and Sergio Mascetti, Posters and Demos Chairs Taslima Akter and Hugo Nicolau, Doctoral Consortium Chairs Aqueasha Martin-Hammond and Katta Spiel, Student Research Competition Chairs Mingming Fan and Roshan Peiris, Experience Reports Chairs Katherine Ringland and Garreth Tigwell, Web Design Chairs Liang He, Junhan (Judy) Kong, Jaylin Herskovitz, Jason Wu, Mentoring Chairs Sayan Sarcar and Kirsten Ellis, Publicity Chairs Alexa Siu and Arthur Theill, Student Volunteer Chairs Franklin Mingzhe Li and Maryam Banduka, TACCESS Special Issue Chair Maria Wolters, and Best Artifact Award Chairs Dragan Ahmetovic and Hugo Nicolau.
We thank the Best Paper Award committee Anthony Hornof, Amy Hurst, Cynthia Putnam, Sayan Sarcar, and Gerhard Weber. We thank the SIGACCESS Steering Committee: Matt Huenerfauth - Chair; Jeffrey Bigham, Tiago Guerreiro, Jonathan Lazar, Kathleen McCoy, and Karyn Moffatt for their support and guidance.
Finally, we thank our Champion sponsors Fable and Google, our Gold sponsors Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, UW CREATE, our Silver sponsors National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), Twitter, Volkswagen, our Bronze supporters 2G3R, Intuit, Miraikan, and Studio Pacifica, our In-Kind supporter AIRA, and our Doctoral Consortium sponsor NSF, and the ACM and SIGACCESS for their very generous support.
- Niharika Mathur, Kunal Dhodapkar, Tamara Zubatiy, Jiachen Li, Brian Jones, and Elizabeth Mynatt. 2022. A Collaborative Approach to Support Medication Management in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment Using Conversational Assistants (CAs). In Proceedings of the 24th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS '22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 42, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1145/3517428.3544830
- Mauricio Fontana de Vargas, Jiamin Dai, and Karyn Moffatt. 2022. AAC with Automated Vocabulary from Photographs: Insights from School and Speech-Language Therapy Settings. In Proceedings of the 24th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS '22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 23, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1145/3517428.3544805