• facebook
  • contact mail

Keynote Speaker

Vicki Hanson photo

Vicki Hanson is a Distinguished Professor at RIT within the HCI and Accessibility research groups. She also is Chair of Inclusive Technologies at the University of Dundee where she leads multiple efforts related to inclusion of older adults and individuals with disabilities. From 1986 to 2009 she was a Research Staff Member and Manager at IBM's T. J. Watson Research Center in New York, founding the Accessibility Research Group in 2000.

She received her PhD and M.A. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Oregon, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado. Her work on accessibility stemmed from language and educational access questions and over the years has grown to include development efforts to support the aging population and people with diverse abilities. For these efforts she has been recognized both by industry and academic honors, including and IBM Corporate Award, the Wolfson Research Merit Award from the Royal Society, and the Social Impact Award from ACM SIGCHI.

She currently serves as the ACM Vice President and as a member of the ACM-W Europe Executive Committee. She is Past Chair of SIGACCESS and was Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transitions on Accessible Computing. She serves on Fellows Committees for ACM and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and has been active in conference organizing and program committees for ASSETS, CHI, and several other ACM conferences.

She is a Fellow of the ACM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Keynote: Computing for Humans

In his editorial on Computing for Humans, Vardi [1] discusses computing as being an "instrument of the human mind", having the primary goal to enhance what we as humans are able to do. Nowhere is such a computing goal more evident than in the field of accessibility where we seek to create devices and software to serve people with extreme needs. In creating novel accessibility tools, research has advanced the state of the art in many areas from design of environmental spaces, to physical interfaces, to software aspects of computing.

There are several cross-cutting issues that accessibility research can address. For example, there are issues of language and communication. Communication is fundamental to being human. People who have hearing loss, aphasia, cerebral palsy, autism, or dyslexia are among those who experience communication difficulties. How can we drive computing forward to provide solutions for these communication problems? Mobility and independence are other important issues. People with visual impairments, cognitive disability, or physical impairment often face difficulties in independent navigation. How can technology help?

The needs of users can and should inform the agenda for new research in areas such as augmented memory, physical interactions, and human communication.


Work to be discussed in this talk was supported by RCUK grants EP/G066091/1 "RCUK Hub: Inclusion in the Digital Economy" and EP/K037293/1 "BESiDE - The Built Environment for Social Inclusion in the Digital Economy." The talk will also draw on discussions held during the Dagstuhl Seminar on "Augmenting Human Memory" (Dagstuhl, Germany, September 1 - 5, 2014).


[1] Vardi, M. 2011. Computing for humans. Comm. of ACM, 54(12). 5.

Photo used under creative commons