Back to Program: April 25 | April 26 | April 27 | Pre-recorded Sessions

Reconsidering Accessibility and the Future of Interface

Gregg Vanderheiden

Date: April 25, 2023

Lecture: 1:05pm-1:20pm

Q&A: 1:20pm-1:30pm


Next-next generation interfaces (20 years from now) and the technologies that will drive them provide new challenges (barriers) to accessibility, as well as new tools for addressing these barriers. These new technologies can also help us address barriers that some people face with today’s technologies – barriers that we currently do not have good solutions for. This is particularly true for cognitive, language, and learning disabilities, deaf-blindness, blindness and intellectual impairments and other combinations of disabilities.

With funding from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR/ACL), and NSF, the Trace Center is currently exploring next-next generation technologies in order to propose new paradigms for addressing them. In the course of this effort, the Trace Center conducted a workshop on the Future of Interface & Accessibility in February 2023 to

  • Thoroughly explore all visions for the future of interface,
  • Gather all different thoughts, approaches, and paradigms from the best in the international accessibility community, and
  • Create both mainstream and accessibility research agendas that can result in solutions for next-next generation interface technologies, to be available when these technologies enter the marketplace (instead of 5 years or more behind them).

The workshop brought together (virtually) the best mainstream and accessibility experts to address the above three goals. The resulting research agenda is intended to be a living agenda that is updated over time and used by a broad range of stakeholders. This presentation will summarize some key results.

Presentation material: Future of interface

About the Speaker

Gregg Vanderheiden

Dr. Vanderheiden is the founder of the Trace R&D Center and a Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. He has been active in the field of technology and disability for 50 years and was a pioneer in the field of Augmentative Communication (a term originating from his writings), assistive technology and computer access. Access features developed by Dr. Vanderheiden and Trace can be found in every computer and mobile device internationally (Windows, MacOS, iOS and Linux), in the Library of Congress’s talking book player, Kiosks, and worked with over 50 companies on increasing the accessibility of their products. He wrote the first Web Guideline in 1995 and co-chaired WCAG 1.0 and 2.0. Dr. Vanderheiden is a past President and Fellow of RESNA, a Founding Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and Fellow in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

White bearded man with eyeglasses. He is wearing a black suit, blue shirt and a red tie. He is smiling.