The 20th International Web for All Conference
April 30 & May 1, 2023
The 20th International Web for All Conference (W4A’23), the premier venue for web accessibility research, will take place in Austin, Texas. W4A is co-located with the 32nd International World Wide Web Conference – TheWebConf’23.
The conference focuses on all aspects of web accessibility. Areas of general interest include, but are not limited to the following: age, cognition, culture, education, emotions, dexterity, disability, diversity, health, hearing, income, infrastructure, language, learning, literacy, mobility, neurodiversity, situation, society, and vision.
Accessibility in the Metaverse
This year’s W4A conference theme is “Accessibility in the Metaverse”. The Metaverse – the emerging ecosphere built upon web and internet platforms has become an integral part of the today’s digital society. Representing a new paradigm, the Metaverse is made up of virtual worlds developed in extended reality (XR), mixed reality (MR), virtual reality (VR) and augmentative reality (AR) technologies. The Metaverse has opened up a plethora of exciting opportunities in which accessibility and inclusive design are important attributes.
As tech writer Julie Brehuescu recently wrote for The Drum,
“One goal of the metaverse is to replicate the feeling of real-world connection by creating immersive virtual environments. But it may also make the internet more accessible to the more than one billion people who struggle to interact with digital content each day due to neurodivergence, disability or other impairments.”
How can the Metaverse adapt to working and learning environments to ensure user needs are met quickly and efficiently? What solutions exist to encourage the autonomy and well-being of people with disabilities and older adults? What are the social, financial, cultural or ethical implications of deploying immersive web solutions without accessibility in mind?
While we encourage authors to contribute to the conference on any of the traditional topics covered at W4A, this year we seek to provide an answer to these and other related questions by particularly welcoming submissions that address web-related challenges and/or solutions associated with the following areas:
- Accessible e-learning, student evaluation and assessment
- Accessible remote work, physical workplace environment, employment, onboarding and job-training
- Accessible entertainment and media
- Telehealth, mental health support and exposure therapy
- Enhancements for accessible communication (e.g. accessible information and communication technologies – including social media, learning technologies, authoring technologies, multilingualism)
- Assistive technology (3D printing, virtual reality, tactile graphics, etc.)
- Social interaction
We are proud to announce two keynote talks:
From Talk to Transformation: Building a More Inclusive Metaverse
All technologies must be built and used in accessible ways. This is especially true for extended reality (XR) technologies that make up the metaverse, as workplaces are beginning to use them to onboard, train, and upskill their employees. However, inclusion in XR is often ignored or limited to discussions instead of actions. This means that technologies meant to open digital worlds and provide new methods of human-computer interaction may instead create barriers to them for people with disabilities. When XR technologies are designed with inclusion at the forefront, those technologies become more flexible, useful, and valuable for everyone. In this keynote, he will share key research questions and concrete steps you can take to design and develop accessible XR technologies and use them with the inclusion of people with disabilities and other intersectional identities in mind.
Bill Curtis-Davidson is a Director of the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT), a policy initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. PEAT helps to create a future where accessible technology is standard in all workplaces. Bill is a trusted advisor who advocates for disability inclusion and accessibility in support of numerous public and private sector efforts to develop accessibility standards, guidelines, and best practices. He also serves on the External Advisory Board of the Georgia Tech Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Degree Program.
Accessibility, Governance, Policies and Education
The European Accessibility Act should have been transposed to National laws, by June 2022 in EU countries, and it must be fully enforced by 2025. Different approaches have been adopted, depending on the governance policies of states and organizations, financial health, society willingness, and socio-technical readiness. The role of Higher Education on these factors is paramount and urgent, not just in the curricula of Information Design and Information Technology degrees and courses, regarding the later, but also through the example they provide to the society. How does one transpose the EAA to the University, and hopefully show how it will be adopted by public and private institutions, and provide society with the tools and resources that enable its enforcement by 2025?
Luís Carriço is Full Professor at the Department of Informatics, of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. He is currently Dean of this Faculty, since 2018. He was director of LASIGE, and he is currently a senior member of this research unit. He holds a PhD (2000) in Electronic and Computers Engineering, from the Technical University of Lisbon, and a Habilitation in Informatics, from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. His main research focus is on extreme human-device interaction, for health, accessibility, and emergency scenarios. He has published over 200 refereed technical/scientific papers and book chapters, mostly addressing mobile design and support for cognitive impairments and mobile and web accessibility. He was general and program chair of several top-level conferences, such as IUI, W4A, MobileHCI and CRIWG. He coordinated and participated in several research projects in those areas, including EU funded (e.g., ACCESSIBLE, GUIDE, AGEISM, ASTARTE, WAI-tools, SONAAR, WeHealth), national government funded (e.g., InSiThe, QualWeb, mIDR, FoodParenting), and industry funded, national and international (e.g., S4S, UXREC, IDEA-FAST). He was appointed for the evaluation of EU project proposals, and ongoing projects, on the e-Inclusion area, including those in ICT and Ageing and e-Health. He was appointed as one of the evaluators the Greek Research Units in Computer Science (2014). He has founded BoomUX (2010), a company in digital accessibility and user experience.
As a co-located event to the Web Conference, registration for W4A will be handled through the Web Conference website.