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

Assistive Technology on Demand: A new level of Digital Equity

Gregg Vanderheiden, J. Bern Jordan

This pre-recorded session is available to registrants only.


Asistive Technology (AT) on Demand helps people who need assistive technologies to use any computers they encounter. This is really a ground-breaking technology in that it allows users to have the AT they need available for them on any* PC or Mac computer they encounter and need/want to use, at any time or place, regardless of whether the AT software is installed on the computer or not – providing a level of digital equity to their peers not possible before. 

If their AT is not present when they sit down to the computer AToD will: 

  1.   install their AT (even if computer is “locked down”) 
  2.   configure it with their personal settings, and 
  3.   remove it when they are done. 

5 ways AToD can bring AT users closer to equity with their peers in ways not possible before. 

  1.   AT users can use any computer at school, library, work, tutors etc.– even if the AT they need is not on the computer. 
  2.   People who don’t have their own computer can be AT users. 
  3.   Interns or new hires can have their company computer set up for them, the same morning they come onboard. 
  4.   Ditto if an AT user’s computer fails or is lost 
  5.   Institutions and their IT departments can have AT available on all computers without having to install AT on any of them. 

AT on Demand is being delivered by the non-profit Raising the Floor as a new service that will work with its free Morphic software.

About the Speakers

Gregg Vanderheiden

Dr. Vanderheiden is founder of the Trace R&D Center and 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.

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J. Bern Jordan

J. Bern Jordan, Ph.D. has been working in the field of accessibility of information and communications technology for over 20 years with degrees in biomedical engineering. He is interested in accessibility and its practical applications—and he works to improve both the technology side and the standards and practice around accessibility. His work has included the development of techniques for cross-disability access to self-service transaction machines, kiosks, and other public ICT, the development of hands-on accessibility training workshops, and research into automatic user interface generation and adaptation. Dr. Jordan has worked with various US agencies and organizations on accessibility, including the US Access Board, US National Library Service, US Capitol Visitors Center, Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, FDIC, and NIST. He was appointed to the 2020-2022 Disability Advisory Committee of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Dr. Jordan has also contributed to accessibility standards development and rulemaking from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), IEEE, Underwriters Laboratories, US Department of Transportation, and US Access Board. He has 10 patents related to access for kiosks and touchscreens and has worked with over a dozen companies large and small on making their products and services more accessible. Recently, he has been consulting on the accessibility of at-home tests, apps, and instructions for COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases for the RADx Tech initiative of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), National Institutes of Health (NIH). He was also the User Experience lead on the 5-year development of open-source, auto-personalization software for people with disabilities.

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