MISC Talk: Jacob O. Wobbrock

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Ehrlicher Room, 3100 North Quad

Ability-Based Design: Elevating Ability over Disability in Accessible Computing

Current approaches to accessible computing share a common goal of making technology accessible to users with disabilities. Perhaps because of this goal, they may also share a tendency to centralize disability rather than ability. We present a refinement to these approaches called ability-based design that consists of focusing on ability throughout the design process in an effort to create systems that leverage the full range of human potential. Just as user-centered design shifted the focus of interactive system design from systems to users, ability-based design attempts to shift the focus of accessible design from disability to ability. Although prior approaches to accessible computing may consider users’ abilities to some extent, ability-based design makes ability its central focus. We offer seven ability-based design principles and describe the projects that inspired their formulation. We also present a research agenda for ability-based design.

Speaker bio:
Jacob is an Associate Professor in the Information School and, by courtesy, in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he directs the Mobile & Accessible Design Lab. His field is human-computer interaction (HCI). His research seeks to scientifically understand people's interactions with computers and information, and to improve those interactions through design and engineering, especially for people with disabilities.

The Michigan Interactive and Social Computing (MISC) research group connects researchers studying human-computer interaction, social computing, and computer-supported cooperative work across the University of Michigan.