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ASSETS 2008 - 10th ACM Conference on Computers and Accessibility

  • Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • October 12-15, 2008

For futher information, please visit http://www.sigaccess.org/assets08/

Event photos available at http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=assets2008&m=text

Top caliber accessibility research, a small friendly gathering, and a picturesque setting—these were just a few of the highlights of the Tenth International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS'08).

ASSETS '08 took place from October 12–15, 2008 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Doctoral Consortium (DC) was held on the 12th of October.  This year 11 students participated in the DC, a one-day workshop, where PhD students present their research and receive feedback from a panel of senior researchers. The consortium is typically an intense, but exceedingly helpful experience.

One of my favourite things about ASSETS is its intimate size. Because it is a relatively small conference, it remains friendly and provides ample opportunity to both catch-up with old friends and make new ones.
With Monday morning came the start of the main program, and Dr. Ron Baecker roused our sleepy eyes with an invocative opening plenary on the design of technology to aid cognition.

In total, 29 papers were presented over the three-day conference covering a wide range of topics. Web-accessibility continued to be a hot topic, but research also ventured in a few new directions including gaming and the use of social networks to improve accessibility. Lunches and coffee breaks provided occasions to mix with other conference attendees and to check out the 34 posters and demonstrations, as well as the posters from the 9 student research competition semi-finalists and the doctoral consortium attendees.
There was a lot to see, but luckily a reception Monday night provided even more opportunity to meet, mingle, and catch all the new and exciting research.

ASSETS '08 was particularly special, as the first ever SIGACCESS Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computing and Accessibility was presented at a banquet Tuesday night. This biennial award recognizes individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to the development of computing technologies that improve the accessibility of media and services to people with disabilities. This year's award went to Dr. Jim Thatcher for his pioneering work on screen readers.

In general, the quality of the research presented this year was exceptional, but two papers were noted as standing above the rest.
This year the ACM SIGACCESS Best Student Paper Award went to Yevgen Borodin, Jeffrey P. Bigham, Rohit Raman, and I. V. Ramakrishnan for their paper, "What's new?: Making web page updates accessible." And, the ACM SIGACCESS Best Paper Award went to Jinjuan Feng, Jonathan Lazar, Libby Kumin, and Ant Ozok for their paper, "Computer usage by young individuals with down syndrome: An exploratory study."