SIGACCESS FY'04 Annual Report

July 2003 - June 2004
Submitted by: Vicki Hanson, SIGACCESS Chair

This past year has been one of renewed activity for the SIG. First, there was a change in the composition of the SIG's officers. John Goldthwaite resigned as Chair of the SIG. As a result of this resignation, the ACM SGB appointed Vicki Hanson, Vice Chair, to assume the position of Chair. Jen Mankoff was appointed Vice Chair to fill that newly vacated position. Andrew Sears remains in the position of Secretary / Treasurer.

The most dramatic change has been renaming of the organization to more accurately reflect the interests of the current membership. Member communication with the SIG leadership indicated that the interests of SIGCAPH members had evolved over the years to include research and applications not initially envisioned by the SIG founders. To address this issue, a note was sent to members via the SIG's listserv asking for input from the entire membership about their views on the SIG goals and suggestions for a new name. A large percentage of the membership responded. After considering all the input, the name SIGACCESS best reflected the wishes of the membership.

This change effected the following two changes in the SIG's Bylaws:

a. This organization will be called the Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing (SIGACCESS) of the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. (the ACM); it will be referred to herein as "the Group."

b. The scope of the Group's specialty is the application of computer technology to aid persons with disabilities and the promotion of the education, employment, and professional development of computer professionals who have disabilities.

To coincide with the name change, our new webmaster, Klent Harkness, gave the SIG's website a complete overhaul. The new URL for the SIG is http://www.acm.org/sigaccess/

The ASSETS description has changed to the ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility.

The name of the newsletter changed to Accessibility and Computing.

SIGACCESS will remain in transition through the March 2005 SGB meeting, by which time we hope to have completed the activities needed to move SIGACCESS out of this transition status, qualifying it to hold elections in 2005. The primary activity needed to move SIGACCESS out of transition is to remove the newsletter backlog. During the past year, some progress has been made in this direction. Under the editorship of Alan Creak, three issues of the newsletter have appeared this year and a fourth has been completed and should be published shortly. This brings the newsletter current through June'03. Three additional issues of the newsletter are expected by the end of 2004, which would bring the newsletter current through June'04.

SIGACCESS has been ramping up professional activities this year related to interests of the SIG's members.

In November 2003, the SIG was a sponsor of the 2nd ACM Conference on Universal Usability. The two-day conference was held in Vancouver, Canada and covered a number of topics of interest to members, including aging, universal design, and applications for persons with disabilities. The conference gave two Best Paper Awards:

 
  • T. Parikh, K. Ghosh, A. Chavan, P. Syal, and S. Arora "Design Studies for a Financial Management System for Micro-credit Groups in Rural India"
     
  • K. Kottapally, C. Ngo, R. Reddy, E. Pontelli, T.C. Son, and D. Gillan "Towards the Creation of Accessibility Agents for Non-visual Navigation of the Web (A Progress Report)"

     

This past May, SIGACCESS sponsored the International Cross Disciplinary Workshop on Web Accessibility 2004 (W4A) at ACM's WWW Conference. The workshop was cross-disciplinary and brought together users, accessibility experts, graphic designers, and technologists from academia and industry to discuss how accessibility can be supported. The workshop theme was 'Accessible Layout - The Tension Between Accessibility and Visual Design'

Assets 2002 was a successful conference, with high quality papers on a wide range of topics. ASSETS 2004 will be held in October, in Atlanta. The organization of the conference has gone smoothly, papers have been reviewed and selected by the Program Committee, and conference registration is now open. We are looking forward to another exciting conference!

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