This talk is based on the keynote presentation at the 18th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2016). According to the Word Health Organization there are one billion people in the world have a significant disability. The view of disability has changed over the past 100 years and continues to change. Accessibility has become a professional field both in research and practice. Technology originally intended for people with disabilities has become useful technologies for everyone. More and more technology for people with disability are being built into mainstream products. For example, screen readers are built into iOS and Android platforms. Mainstream companies are beginning to require knowledge of accessibility best practices in their job descriptions. More and more accessibility research is appearing in mainstream conferences. Overall, accessibility is becoming mainstream in both research and practice.
Richard Ladner is a professor in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, where he has been on the faculty since 1971. He received in B.S. degree in Mathematics at St. Mary’s College of California in 1965 and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1971. After many years of doing research in theoretical computer science, he turned his attention in 2004 to accessibility research, especially on technology for people who are blind, deaf, and deaf-blind. Some notable projects include the Tactile Graphics Project, MobileASL, ASL-STEM Forum, and MobileAccessibility. He wrote a short article for the SIGACCESS Newsletter about his transition from theoretical computer science research to accessibility research: