Personalized dynamic accessibility

Krzysztof Z. Gajos, Amy Hurst, and Leah Findlater



It is a cliche to point out that computers and the Internet have entered all parts of our lives. We need them at work; governments urge us to file our taxes online; students are required to use them in their classes; online businesses offer better deals than their brick-and-mortar counterparts; and it is becoming more difficult to maintain relationships without access to social networking and social media sites. Public discourse about accessibility focuses on the assertion that access to these technologies is essential for meaningful participation in today's society. Unfortunately, compliance with accessibility guidelines and standards is still not a part of mainstream software engineering and user interface design practice. As a result, we must remind, beg, and threaten developers to make software accessible. But is this sufficient? Are we blinding ourselves to tomorrow's challenges as we fight yesterday's battles?

We argue that it is both the possibility and the efficiency of access that are necessary for meaningful and equitable participation in society. As larger fractions of our personal and professional activities are conducted using computers, inefficient access limits what an individual can achieve. We propose a longterm vision of Personalized Dynamic Accessibility: We believe that user interfaces will enable more effective interaction if they reflect each person's unique abilities, devices, and environment.

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Citation Information

Krzysztof Z. Gajos, Amy Hurst, and Leah Findlater. Personalized dynamic accessibility. interactions, 19(2):69-73, March 2012.