3rd Workshop on Mobile Accessibility

To be held in April 28 at CHI'13,
the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems is the premier international conference on human-computer interaction,
Paris, France

In recent years, we have witnessed an increasing importance of mobile devices. They pervade our daily lives, not only just in the form of feature phones, but also as smartphones and tablets. Tablets in particular have been the object of much attention, lately. They are set to be one of the fastest growing mobile device markets. What is more, they have the computing power of small computers. This is also true for the most advanced smartphones and mobile operating systems. We are, thus, in the cusp of a fundamental change in how we relate to information and others, accessible at all times and places with the help of mobile devices. Alas, this change might be barred to a large number of people, suffering from a wide range of disabilities. Mobile devices are increasingly visual, making them hard to use by the blind or other vision-impaired people. Keyboards are steadily being replaced by touchscreens, without tactile feedback, introducing additional barriers. Tetraplegic users have limited mobility of their limbs and hardly are able to pick up the devices or use their fingers for precise pointing. Additionally, mobile devices are being used as mediators to reach distal interfaces (e.g. interactive TV, information kiosks, etc.) providing people with disabilities with the means to potentially overcome physical barriers and freely interact with the environment.

Moreover, the mobile aspect often creates situations where those interaction modes are cumbersome or socially unacceptable, even for non-impaired people. Riding a bicycle on a mountain trail and looking at th:w!e maps at the same time is difficult and dangerous. Timely responding to urgent and confidential solicitations on a public site may be distressing or embarrassing. These are considered situational disabilities that often introduce similar problems to the use of mobile apparatus. Overall, the list of problems is immense.

Fortunately, there is a nascent area of research, Mobile Accessibility, where researchers are focusing on solving accessibility problems in mobile devices and settings. Bringing together Mobile Computing and Accessibility, it is the source of synergistic works that have the potential of deeply transforming how we look at mobile devices, and to shape the ongoing mobile revolution. Work in this area ranges from new text introduction techniques to multimodal interaction solutions, mobile assistive technology, prototyping tools, navigation tools, theoretical models, etc. A wide range of users and situations is also considered (blind, tetraplegic, elderly, deaf, etc.). As a result, solutions provided to people with disabilities could be applied to the aforementioned situationally impaired users.