Make your Webpage More Accessible

This is an individual project to make your webpage more accessible. Learning goals include

  • Some of the basic rules for web accessibility
  • How to use an accessibility checker to assess whether a web page is accessible
  • How to fix accessibility problems
  • How to work within the constraints of end-user content editing tools and still make something accessible

This project has two phases.

Phase one: Assess problems

In phase one, you will assess problems with the web page you choose.

Picking a webpage

You can assess your own website, if you have one. If not, a next best option would be your personal social media site (such as your linked-in page). If you don’t have one, but use social media such as facebook and twitter you can assess your posts on one of those sites. Finally, if none of those are options, just pick any site you think makes sense.

Running an accessibility checker

Once you have selected a web page, you should run it through an accessibility checker. The WebAim accessibility checker, WAVE, is a great choice for many sites. However, if the site requires that you log in, you may need an alternative. A great choice is the Chrome plugin Axe.

What to bring to class from Phase one

You should not change anything about the website you selected before class. You should bring your accessibility checking results to class and have read them over. We will work together in class on addressing the problems you found.

Phase two: Fixing problems

In phase two, you will fix problems on the website you chose. We will talk about how to write alt text, set up proper header structures, simplify language, and what else is possible within the constraints of the technology you are using.

Final Project

The goal of your final project is to explore an accessibility issue in more depth than you’ve been able to do in our projects so far. In choosing this project, you may want to draw from personal expertise, literature, or user data should you have access to it.

Your final project will have three phases:

  • Proposal: Your proposal be a slide deck with 5 slides that describe your
    • promise: How the world will be better based on your project
    • obstacle: Why we don’t have this already.
    • solution: How you will achieve the promise. This will most likely be primarily technical, such as a novel device.
    • related work: It should also include a related work section with at least 5 references showing some evidence for the importance of this problem.
    • timeline: Finally, it should include a timeline showing that this is feasible.
  • Development: We will check in on projects in part of class and/or office hours on a weekly basis to help provide guidance about progress on the milestones laid out in your timeline
  • Final presentations: You will present the results of your project. This should take the form of a poster and 2 page writeup. The writeup should be very similar in structure to your proposal (it should have all the same parts), but be updated with what you have done instead of what you propose to do.
  • Language: You will be expected to use best practices in language and presentation. Here is the SIGACCESS guide on this.

Some notes and considerations

  • The things we have emphasized in this class, namely a disability studies perspective and physical building, should be featured in your project as much as possible.
    • With respect to disability studies, you should think critically about whether and how your project empowers and gives agency to people with disabilities, as well as the extent to which it expects/engages the larger structural issues around the problem you’re trying to solve
    • With respect to physical computing, this is not required, but you should get approval from the instructor if you go in a different direction, and have a rationale
  • If you don’t have personal experience justifying the choice of problem, it is important to find studies that involved people with disabilities that help justify the sense of your proposed work. It is not feasible to do a full iterative design cycle in this project (and not necessarily an ethical use of the time of people with disabilities), but equally important not to come in with a ‘hero complex’ and simply believe you know what people need.
  • Your project can include designing and piloting a study, but only if you have significant experience already in this domain since we haven’t really taught that aspect of accessibility in this class. Better to spend time on skills you learned here! In addition, given the number of weeks available, be careful not to overcommit (e.g. creating a significant novel device and a lengthy study!)

Use 3D printing to make something Accessible (Due 10/16)

The goal of this assignment is for you to develop basic familiarity with OpenSCAD. Your goal is to create a model of something that makes something more accessible for you or someone else. To keep this problem within reason for a first assignment, you should focus on things that are fairly simple to model. You should work in pairs on this assignment.

Examples would be a tactile label for something (such as a luggage tag), a guide (to make moving something along a path easier) or a lever (to make rotating something easier.

  • Your solution should be correctly sized (i.e. try to measure the thing you are modifying and to make sure that your printed object is appropriately sized).
  • You should use a simple method to attach things such as a zip-tie (simply requires small holes), or glue.
  • Your object should be small (be printable in 20 minutes to 2 hours)

You should create a Thingiverse “thing” which represents your object with a picture of your final object in use, your OpenSCAD file, and a picture of your model, along with a brief explanation of what problem it solves, how to correctly size it, how it attaches to or interacts with the real world. If you remixed something else on Thingiverse be sure to correctly attribute it (by creating a remix).

You should submit the link to your Thingiverse “thing” on Canvas.

You should also print it out to demo in class. Here is a page with information about using the Ultimaker printers. This slide deck about 3D printing also has lots of in.

The grading rubric for this assignment is as follows. When points are 1 or 0, this is pass fail (no nuance). When points are 0-3, use the following scale: 0 – Not done; 1 – Short shallow solution; 2 – Good solution; 3 – Outstanding solution.

Points Description Comments (by grader)
0-3 Create a 3D model that solves a problem
1 or 0Learn how to correctly size a model
1 or 0Apply an appropriate attachment method
1 or 0Learn the pipeline: Create a 3D printed object from your model
0-3Describe how a model should be used

Point-of-Care Manufacturing: Maker Perspectives on Digital Fabrication in Medical Practice

Maker culture in health care is on the rise with the rapid adoption of consumer-grade fabrication technologies. However, little is known about the activity and resources involved in prototyping medical devices to improve patient care. In this paper, we characterize medical making based on a qualitative study of medical stakeholder engagement in physical prototyping (making) experiences. We examine perspectives from diverse stakeholders including clinicians, engineers, administrators, and medical researchers. Through 18 semi-structured interviews with medical-makers in US and Canada, we analyze making activity in medical settings. We find that medical-makers share strategies to address risks, define labor roles, and acquire resources by adapting traditional structures or creating new infrastructures. Our findings outline how medical-makers mitigate risks for patient safety, collaborate with local and global stakeholder networks, and overcome constraints of co-location and material practices. We recommend a clinician-aided software system, partially-open repositories, and a collaborative skill-share social network to extend their strategies in support of medical making.

“Point-of-Care Manufacturing”: Maker Perspectives onDigital Fabrication in Medical Practice. Udaya Lakshmi, Megan Hofmann, Stephanie Valencia, Lauren Wilcox, Jennifer Mankoff and Rosa Arriaga. CSCW 2019. To Appear.

A venn diagram showing the domains of expertise of those we interviewed including people from hospitals, universities, non-profits, va networks, private practices, and government. We interviewed clinicians and facilitators in each of these domains and there was a great deal of overlap with participants falling into multiple categories. For example, one participant was in a VA network and in private practice, while another was at a university and also a non-profit.

Project 2: Build a Better Button

Learning Goals for the Project

  • Learn about Circuit design
  • Learn how to communicate between an Arduino and your phone
  • Build a simple circuit that is enhanced by its connection to your phone

Basic Requirements for Project

Your project should demonstrate your ability to either:

  • Take input from at least one button (or other sensor), and connect it to some interesting service
  • Your focus should be on circuit design and Arduino programming. You don’t need to create a custom phone app. You can if you want create a custom case or button using 3d printing.

You should make a case for why this is an assistive technology of some sort. For example, you could build a door opening sensor (using a button or proximity sensor) that causes your phone to announce the door was opened, or a single switch control for scrolling or tabbing through a web page, or a capacitive sensor that captures a log of how often a cane is used.

There is some great software that con be connected to the Arduino including 1Shield, AppInventor, Blynk and IFTTT. Some work only for Android, others for both Android and iPhone.

There are lots of really great examples online of arduino based projects, arduino projects that involve smartphones, and arduino projects that involve 3D printing or laser cutting. Many of them are too complex for the expectations of this project, though they might help to inspire final projects, or give you ideas for something simple you can do in a week. Here is a sample:

Hand In

Create a Thingiverse or Instructables page for your project with a brief description of the project, a video, any 3D printed files, and a schematic for your circuit. Turn the URL in by email with the subject: Project 2. Be prepared to demo your project in class.

PointsDescription
1 or 0 Project uses physical computing to solve an accessibility problem
1 or 0Project communicates with your phone in some way
1 or 0Project includes a working circuit that you designed
1 or 0Project includes at least one button
1 or 0 Project includes some kind of response to the button
1 or 0Thingiverse or Instructables page describes project in a reproducable fashion.

“Occupational Therapy is Making”: Clinical Rapid Prototyping and Digital Fabrication

Assistive Technology

Instructor: Jennifer Mankoffjmankoff@cs.cmu.edu
Spring 2005

HCII, 3601 NSH, (W)+1 (412) 268-1295
Office hours: By Appointment & 1-2pm Thurs

Course Description

This class will focus on computer accessibility, including web and desktop computing, and research in the area of assistive technology.

The major learning goals from this course include:

  • Develop an understanding of the relationship between disability policy, the disability rights movement, and your role as a technologist. For example, we will discuss we will discuss the pros and cons and infrastructure involved in supporting mainstream computer applications rather than creating new ones from scratch.
  • Develop a skill set for basic design and evaluation of accessible web pages and desktop applications.
  • Develop familiarity with technologies and research relating to accessibility including a study of optimal font size and color for people with dyslexia, word-prediction aids, a blind-accessible drawing program,
  • Develop familiarity with assistive technologies that use computation to increase the accessibility of the world in general. Examples include memory aids, sign-language recognition, and so on.

Requirements

Students will be expected to do service work with non-profits serving the local disabled community during one to two weekends of the start of the semester. This course has a project component, where students will design, implement, and test software for people with disabilities. Additionally, students will read and report on research papers pertinent to the domain.

Grading will be based on service work (10%); the project (60%); and class participation, including your reading summary and the lecture you lead (30%).

Other relevant documents

Course CalendarAssignmentsBibliography

Prerequisites

Prerequisites for this class are: Familiarity with basic Human Computer Interaction material or consent of the instructor (for undergraduate students)

It is recommended that you contact the instructor if you are interested in taking this class.

Lyme Disease’s Heterogeneous Impact

An ongoing, and very personal thread of research that our group engages in (due to my own journey with Lyme Disease, which I occasionally blog about here) is research into the impacts of Lyme Disease and opportunities for helping to support patients with Lyme Disease. From a patient perspective, Lyme disease is as tough to deal with as many other more well known conditions [1].

Lyme disease can be difficult to navigate because of the disagreements about its diagnosis and the disease process. In addition, it is woefully underfunded and understudied, given that the CDC estimates around 300,000 new cases occur per year (similar to the rate of breast cancer) [2].

Bar chart showing that Lyme disease is woefully under studied.

As an HCI researcher, I started out trying to understand the relationship that Lyme Disease patients have with digital technologies. For example, we studied the impact of conflicting information online on patients [3] and how patients self-mediate the accessibility of online content [4]. It is my hope to eventually begin exploring technologies that can improve quality of life as well.

However, one thing patients need right away is peer reviewed evidence about the impact that Lyme disease has on patients (e.g. [3]) and the value of treatment for patients (e.g. [4]). Here, as a technologist, the opportunity is to work with big data (thousands of patient reports) to unpack trends and model outcomes in new ways. That research is still in the formative stages, but in our most recent publication [4] we use straightforward subgroup analysis to demonstrate that treatment effectiveness is not adequately captured simply by looking at averages.

This chart shows that there is a large subgroup (about a third) of respondents to our survey who reported positive response to treatment, even though the average response was not positive.

There are many opportunities and much need for further data analysis here, including documenting the impact of differences such as gender on treatment (and access to treatment), developing interventions that can help patients to track symptoms, manage interaction within and between doctors, and navigate accessibility and access issues.

[1] Johnson, L., Wilcox, S., Mankoff, J., & Stricker, R. B. (2014). Severity of chronic Lyme disease compared to other chronic conditions: a quality of life survey. PeerJ2, e322.

[2] Johnson, L., Shapiro, M. & Mankoff, J. Removing the mask of average treatment effects in chronic Lyme Disease research using big data and subgroup analysis.

[3] Mankoff, J., Kuksenok, K., Kiesler, S., Rode, J. A., & Waldman, K. (2011, May). Competing online viewpoints and models of chronic illness. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 589-598). ACM.

[4] Kuksenok, K., Brooks, M., & Mankoff, J. (2013, April). Accessible online content creation by end users. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 59-68). ACM.

 

3D Printed Wireless Analytics

Wireless Analytics for 3D Printed Objects: Vikram Iyer, Justin Chan, Ian Culhane, Jennifer Mankoff, Shyam Gollakota UIST, Oct. 2018 [PDF]

We created a wireless physical analytics system works with commonly available conductive plastic filaments. Our design can enable various data capture and wireless physical analytics capabilities for 3D printed objects, without the need for electronics.

We make three key contributions:

(1) We demonstrate room scale backscatter communication and sensing using conductive plastic filaments.

(2) We introduce the first backscatter designs that detect a variety of bi-directional motions and support linear and rotational movements. An example is shown below

(3) As shown in the image below, we enable data capture and storage for later retrieval when outside the range of the wireless coverage, using a ratchet and gear system.

We validate our approach by wirelessly detecting the opening and closing of a pill bottle, capturing the joint angles of a 3D printed e-NABLE prosthetic hand, and an insulin pen that can store information to track its use outside the range of a wireless receiver.

Selected Media

6 of the most amazing things that were 3D-printed in 2018 (Erin Winick, MIT Technology Review, 12/24/2018)

Researchers develop 3D printed objects that can track and store how they are used (Sarah McQuate), UW Press release. 10/9/2018

Assistive Objects Can Track Their Own Use (Elizabeth Montalbano), Design News. 11/14/2018

People

Students

Vikram Iyer
Justin Chan
Ian Culhane

Faculty

Jennifer Mankoff
Shyam Gollakota

Contact: printedanalytics@cs.washington.edu

Venkatesh Potluri

Venkatesh Potluri is a Ph.D. student at the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering at University of Washington. He is advised by Prof Jennifer Mankoff and Prof Jon Froehlich. Venkatesh believes that technology, when designed right, empowers everybody to fulfill their goals and aspirations. His broad research goals are to upgrade accessibility to the ever-changing ways of our interactions with technology, and, improve the independence and quality of life of people with disabilities. These goals stem from his personal experience as a researcher with a visual impairment. His research focus is to enable developers with visual impairments perform a variety of programming tasks efficiently. Previously, he was a Research Fellow at Microsoft Research India, where his team was responsible for building CodeTalk, an accessibility framework and a plugin for better IDE accessibility. Venkatesh earned a master’s degree in Computer Science at International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad, where his research was on audio rendering of mathematical content.

You can find more information about him at https://venkateshpotluri.me