Digital avatars are an important part of identity representation, but there is little work on understanding how to represent disability. We interviewed 18 people with disabilities and related identities about their experiences and preferences in representing their identities with avatars. Participants generally preferred to represent their disability identity if the context felt safe and platforms supported their expression, as it was important for feeling authentically represented. They also utilized avatars in strategic ways: as a means to signal and disclose current abilities, access needs, and to raise awareness. Some participants even found avatars to be a more accessible way to communicate than alternatives. We discuss how avatars can support disability identity representation because of their easily customizable format that is not strictly tied to reality. We conclude with design recommendations for creating platforms that better support people in representing their disability and other minoritized identities.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, videoconferencing technology has been widely adopted as a convenient, powerful, and fundamental tool that has simplified many day-to-day tasks. However, video communication is dependent on audible conversation and can be strenuous for those who are Hard of Hearing. Communication methods used by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community differ significantly from those used by the hearing community, and a distinct language gap is evident in workspaces that accommodate workers from both groups. Therefore, we integrated users in both groups to explore ways to alleviate obstacles in mixed-group videoconferencing by implementing user-generated icons. A participatory design methodology was employed to investigate how the users overcome language differences. We observed that individuals utilized icons within video-mediated meetings as a universal language to reinforce comprehension. Herein, we present design implications from these findings, along with recommendations for future icon systems to enhance and support mixed-group conversations.
Workplaces around the globe are beginning to rapidly adopt hybrid meetings to conduct, plan, and organize their work. While previous literature explores the benefits and drawbacks of hybrid meetings, the experiences of professionals with disabilities are largely missing. With an orientation towards an accessible future of work, we interviewed 21 professionals with disabilities to unpack the accessibility barriers, opportunities, and conflicts of hybrid meetings. We highlight the creative ways professionals with disabilities developed workarounds and repairs to these accessibility tensions. Our paper expands the understanding of accessibility in hybrid meetings by identifying how the visibility of access labor may be affected by being in the room together with other colleagues or joining remotely. We also observed how hybrid configurations can require navigating accessibility conflicts specific to the location site of each participant. Building from our analysis, we offer practical suggestions and design directions to make hybrid meetings accessible.
Collaborative coding environments foster learning, social skills, computational thinking training, and supportive relationships. In the context of inclusive education, these environments have the potential to promote inclusive learning activities for children with mixed-visual abilities. However, there is limited research focusing on remote collaborative environments, despite the opportunity to design new modes of access and control of content to promote more equitable learning experiences. We investigated the tradeoffs between remote and co-located collaboration through a tangible coding kit. We asked ten pairs of mixed-visual ability children to collaborate in an interdependent and asymmetric coding game. We contribute insights on six dimensions - effectiveness, computational thinking, accessibility, communication, cooperation, and engagement - and reflect on differences, challenges, and advantages between collaborative settings related to communication, workspace awareness, and computational thinking training. Lastly, we discuss design opportunities of tangibles, audio, roles, and tasks to create inclusive learning activities in remote and co-located settings.
A growing body of literature on mixed-ability teams within HCI investigates how disabled and non-disabled people collaborate. Still, how different disabilities can interact in a mixed-ability team is underexplored, especially for long commitments and in non-western contexts. As an emerging perspective in accessibility studies in HCI, disability justice emphasizes the importance of cross-disability collaborations. Collaborative access, interdependence, and cross-disability dialogue are keys to building accessible mixed-ability interactions. We conducted ten in-depth interviews with the members of a unique mixed-ability team (which includes people with different physical disabilities) using the same workspace with cross-disability interactions in Turkey. We aim to understand the requirements for an accessible mixed-ability virtual workspace and to identify practical design considerations for cross-disability solidarity-oriented virtual collaboration tools. To ensure equal access in virtual workspaces, we suggest implications for centering collective access, balancing external power dynamics, and supporting language and cultural diversities.
Speechreading is the art of using visual and contextual cues in the environment to support listening. Often used by d/Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (d/DHH) individuals, it highlights nuances of rich communication. However, lived experiences of speechreaders are underdocumented in HCI literature, and the impact of online environments and interactions of captioning with speechreading has not been explored in depth. We bridge these gaps through a three-part study consisting of formative interviews, design probes, and design sessions with 12 d/DHH individuals who speechread. Our primary contribution is to understand the lived experience of speechreading in online communication, and thus to better understand the richness and variety of techniques d/DHH individuals use to provision access. We highlight technical, environmental and sociocultural factors that impact communication accessibility, explore the design space of speechreading supports and share considerations for the design future of speechreading technology.