Sugamyata

Sugamyata (सुगम्यता) means Accessibility in most Indian languages.

For updates, follow us on ResearchGate. If you want to contribute to this project, read this post and contact us.


Background

The World Health Organization estimates that more than a billion people live with some form of disability. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) mandates countries to “… promote the design, development, production, and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems…”. To accomplish this, concepts and skills needed to develop accessible products and services must be included in computing education. Software giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft emphasize making their products accessible, and accessibility often features as a preferred skill in their job postings. For instance, a current Google job posting for a Software Engineer position specifies “Experience developing accessible technologies” as a preferred qualification. Only about 2.5% of the United States CS faculty teach accessibility; most of them include accessibility topics in specialized human-computer interaction (HCI) courses, but very few in core CS courses like software engineering (Citation: & al., ) , , & (). Who Teaches Accessibility? A Survey of U.S. Computing Faculty. Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3159450.3159484 . The numbers in India are likely to be even lower.

This lack of accessibility in curricula reflects in the industry. Web accessibility practitioners reported that formal schooling was a predominant way to learn about web accessibility for only 5.5% of them. ‘Lack of knowledge’ is considered an important reason for not implementing accessibility features (Citation: & al., ) , , & (). Increasing the uptake of inclusive design in industry. Gerontechnology, 5(3). 140–149. https://doi.org/10.4017/gt.2006.05.03.003.00 .

There is a growing interest among computing education researchers in addressing this gap by developing resources for including accessibility in curricula and evaluating their impact on student learning and software development: See (Citation: & al., ) , , & (). Who Teaches Accessibility? A Survey of U.S. Computing Faculty. Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3159450.3159484 (Citation: & al., ) & (). Teaching Accessibility. ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3017680.3017804 (Citation: & al., ) , & (). Accessibility as a first-class concern in teaching GUIs and software engineering (abstract only). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3017680.3022393 (Citation: & al., ) , , & (). Teaching Inclusive Thinking in Undergraduate Computing. ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3132525.3134808 (Citation: & al., ) , & (). Teaching accessibility: A design exploration of faculty professional development at scale. https://doi.org/10.1145/3287324.3287399 (Citation: & al., ) , & (). A systematic analysis of accessibility in computing education research. Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3328778.3366843 (Citation: , ) (). Teaching accessibility to software engineering students. https://doi.org/10.1145/3328778.3366914 (Citation: & al., ) , , , , , & (). Comparison of methods for teaching accessibility in university computing courses. ASSETS 2020 - 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. https://doi.org/10.1145/3373625.3417013 .

Our contribution

In our initial study (Citation: & al., ) , , , , & (). Inclusive Thinking Questionnaire: Preliminary Results. ACM, New York, USA. https://doi.org/10.1145/3478432.3499066 , conducted in a junior/senior year software engineering course focusing on Android app development, we presented an “Inclusive Thinking Questionnaire” at the start and at the end of the semester. We asked students to design a hypothetical “vaccine verification” app to be potentially used by users with diverse backgrounds and skills. The questionnaire asked, among other things, who they would test the prototype with. Less than 5% of the students considered persons with disabilities before the course, however, the number raised to over 40% at the end of the course.

Our Publications

This project is supported by BITS Pilani Research Initiation Grant No. BPGC/RIG/2020-21/04-2021/02.
This project is supported by BITS Pilani Additional Competitive Research Grant No. GOA/ACG/2021-2022/Nov/05.

Bibliography

Baker, El-Glaly & Shinohara (2020)
, & (). A systematic analysis of accessibility in computing education research. Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3328778.3366843
El-Glaly (2020)
(). Teaching accessibility to software engineering students. https://doi.org/10.1145/3328778.3366914
Goodman, Dong, Langdon & Clarkson (2006)
, , & (). Increasing the uptake of inclusive design in industry. Gerontechnology, 5(3). 140–149. https://doi.org/10.4017/gt.2006.05.03.003.00
Kawas, Vonessen & Ko (2019)
, & (). Teaching accessibility: A design exploration of faculty professional development at scale. https://doi.org/10.1145/3287324.3287399
Ladner & May (2017)
& (). Teaching Accessibility. ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3017680.3017804
Nagpal, Bhatia, Goel, PD, Tiwari & Joshi (2022)
, , , , & (). Inclusive Thinking Questionnaire: Preliminary Results. ACM, New York, USA. https://doi.org/10.1145/3478432.3499066
Palan, Hanson, Huenerfauth & Ludi (2017)
, , & (). Teaching Inclusive Thinking in Undergraduate Computing. ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3132525.3134808
Ross, Ko & Stearns (2017)
, & (). Accessibility as a first-class concern in teaching GUIs and software engineering (abstract only). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3017680.3022393
Shinohara, Kawas, Ko & Ladner (2018)
, , & (). Who Teaches Accessibility? A Survey of U.S. Computing Faculty. Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3159450.3159484
Zhao, Mande, Conn, Al-Khazraji, Shinohara, Ludi & Huenerfauth (2020)
, , , , , & (). Comparison of methods for teaching accessibility in university computing courses. ASSETS 2020 - 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. https://doi.org/10.1145/3373625.3417013