University of Maryland


New History of the Trace Center Released: “Technology and Disability: 50 Years of Trace R&D Center Contributions and Lessons Learned”

The new book from Springer recounts Trace’s 50-year history, its enduring contributions to the field, and the lessons learned along the way. According to reviewers, Trace is “a tour de force,” “a catalyst for a global movement” and “an indispensable engine propelling accessibility forward for people with disabilities.”    The story of the Trace R&D […]

Morphic: Advancing Social Equity Through Digital Inclusion

  We live in a world of digital technology. Computers have become embedded in our everyday lives to the point where many of us hardly notice how often we interact with technology—to buy our groceries or train tickets, check out books from the library, communicate with colleagues, friends and family, do our banking, enter secure […]

Blind Users Accessing Their Training Images in Teachable Object Recognizers (Summary)

Teachable object recognizers allow blind users to train their camera-equipped devices such as mobile phones to recognize everyday objects by providing a few photos as training examples. A user takes a series of pictures of an object to “train” the machine learning model how to distinguish that object from other objects, so that in the […]

Mobile Phone Use by People with Mild to Moderate Dementia: Uncovering Challenges and Identifying Opportunities (Summary)

Dementia is a syndrome that involves changes in cognition (thinking, remembering, and reasoning) and abilities, often affecting the ways that individuals engage in daily activities. Many everyday technologies are not designed to meet the access needs of individuals with dementia. Recent research shows that almost half of those with mild cognitive impairment and mild dementia […]

Inclusive AI: Representation of Age, Gender, and Race in Accessibility Datasets

More and more technologies that we use in our everyday lives are supported by artificial intelligence (AI). AI-infused technologies help us unlock our mobile phones, power our digital assistants, monitor health conditions, detect financial fraud, and navigate the best travel route. Although AI affords numerous conveniences and efficiencies to users, it can lead to discriminatory […]

IncluSet: A data surfacing repository for accessibility datasets. (Summary)

Kacorri, H., Dwivedi, U., Amancherla, S., Jha, M., & Chanduka, R. (2020). IncluSet: A data surfacing repository for accessibility datasets. In T. Guerreiro, H. Nicolau, & K. Moffatt (Eds.), ASSETS ’20: The 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (pp. 1-4, No. 72). New York: ACM.  DOI: PMCID: PMC8375514   Data is […]

A case study of a strobe GIF and photosensitive epilepsy

Photosensitive epilepsy is a condition that can cause seizures when affected people view flickering lights, flashing in videos and video games, and bold, regular patterns. It is estimated that 1 in 4000 people have photosensitive epilepsy with it being most common in adolescents. The Trace R&D Center (in the College of Information Studies at the […]

How People with Dementia Access Health Information: Research Identifies Barriers, Strategies, and the Potential for New Technologies

Dr. Amanda Lazar and her team presented recent research at the 2022 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems examining the barriers faced by people with dementia to accessing relevant, accurate health information, as well as the potential for AI-driven tools to support different types of memory. The inclusion of people with dementia […]

New Law Ensures Equivalent Access to Digital Tools for All of Maryland’s K-12 Students

iSchool professor Jonathan Lazar contributed to and testified in support of the bill to bring an accessibility requirement into the procurement process for digital educational tools in Maryland’s K-12 schools.   When Maryland’s 900,000 K-12 public school students hung up their backpacks in March 2020, where most remained for the next 18 months, the locus […]

Covid-19 Pandemic Moves Research on Assistive Technologies From the Lab to People’s Homes

Dr. Hernisa Kacorri’s research on object recognizers with blind participants required a pivot to remote usability testing, leading her team to reflect on the many lessons learned from the shift from the lab to people’s homes.   When the covid-19 pandemic disrupted everyday life around the world, Dr. Hernisa Kacorri, assistant professor in the UMD […]

iSchool Faculty and Staff Join Global Team to Launch New Publication

“Including Disability” offers innovative approaches to eliminating systemic barriers and gives voice to disabled people.   Including Disability is a free, open-access journal launched earlier this week by an international team, including faculty and staff from the UMD College of Information Studies, as part of a global effort to give voices to disabled people and promote […]

Online-Only Services Offer Safety, But May Limit Access

As a result of the covid-19 pandemic, interaction with websites and apps sometimes become the only way to access certain goods and services, leaving some older adults and people with disabilities facing significant accessibility challenges. A recent NYT article discussed the impact of bank branch closures during the covid-19 pandemic on older adults in Spain […]

Expanding the Possibilities for Accessible Data Visualization

iSchool professor and Trace affiliate faculty Dr. Niklas Elmqvist leads a team to continue work on accessible data visualization and to make a high school data science course accessible for all students with a $2 million contract from the Maryland State Department of Education.   Extracting insights from massive datasets in order to answer questions […]

Work on the Use of Intelligent Voice Assistants by Older Adults Wins ACM TOCHI Best Paper Award

The paper by iSchool PhD student Alisha Pradhan, iSchool assistant professor Dr. Amanda Lazar, and University of Washington’s Dr. Leah Findlater explores the potential for and challenges of this technology for older adults who use digital technology infrequently. Intelligent voice assistants like Alexa and Siri have become ubiquitous — in our homes, cars, and pockets. […]

Trace Center at 50: Accomplishments, Lessons Learned and Future Directions

Trace Center researchers present an overview of the first 50 years and a look forward at current and future work at the University of Maryland Disability Summit.                   The 2021 Disability Summit hosted by the University of Maryland President’s Commission on Disability Issues and the Trace R&D […]