I conduct research aimed at elucidating and reducing the social and technical factors that exclude people with disabilities from gaining media and information (MIL) competencies that are vital to a person’s full participation in contemporary information landscape, and overall sense of self-determination and agency.
Three areas define my current and future work, and contributions to the fields of to human-computer interaction research, disability studies research, education research, and design studies research:
- Inclusive Tactile Media Creation
- Accessible Creativity Support Tools and DIY Maker Technologies
- Establishment of Tactile Media Studies
Much of this work has been completed as part of the Build a Better Book Project–a research initiative that is funded through an NSF ITEST Grant and led by a team from CU-Boulder Science Discovery, the CU-Boulder the Department of Computer Science, CU-Boulder ATLAS Institute, and CU-Boulder School of Education.
Inclusive Tactile Media Creation
People who are blind and visually impaired face active and passive exclusion from gaining access to media and participating in media creation.
- I conduct interventionist, educational research that introduces people who are blind and visually impaired to the materials and practices that support creative exploration, thinking and problem-solving, and media and information literacy, e.g. Co-Design of Accessible 3D Printed Tactile Picture Books in Indonesia.
All the while there are few teaching and learning resources for educators, technology designers, and other invested community members interested in developing their tactile media design skills.
- I conduct design-ethnographies to reveal peoples’ tactile media design practices, develop instructional materials, and identify new technology design opportunities, e.g. Transcribing Across the Senses: Community Efforts to Create 3D Printable Accessible Tactile Pictures for Young Children with Visual Impairments.
Finally, there is a need to develop social programming to teach the broader community about access media design and accessible technology design.
- I investigate the design and implementation of Maker-inspired courses in libraries and museums that engage participants in critical reflection about the communicative affordances of the medium and tools they use, the message they communicate, and the ways they have been positioned to engage in such practices through hands-on creation., e.g. Write, Design, and 3D Print Tactile Stories for Visually Impaired: Critical Making in a Middle School Classroom.
Accessible Creative Technologies
There is a socio-technical gap exists between what we know we must support socially (inclusion of people who are BVI in media creation) and what is currently support technically (accessible ICT and access technologies that make media creation–particularly at a time when creation has become a valued practice in STEAM and Making education).
In order to address this gap, I conduct research to assess the accessibility of existing access technologies, creativity support technologies, and Do-It-Yourself and Maker Technologies and develop new accessible interfaces, e.g. FluxMarker: Enhancing Tactile Graphics with Dynamic Tactile Markers.
Access Technology Design Research
In addition to the assessment and development of technologies focused on supporting creative activities, I conduct research that informs the development of access technologies for people who are blind and visually impaired, e.g. BrowseWithMe: An Online Clothes Shopping Assistant for People with Visual Impairments.
Tactile Media Studies
Research on tactile media attracts scholars and practitioners from a variety of fields. However, the body of literature on the subject is incredibly scarce and there has yet to be an effort to create a coherent research agenda that translates work on tactile media from perceptual and cognitive psychologists, literacy scholars, special education scholars, mechanical engineers, human-computer interaction researchers, media and communications scholars, and art historians.