About Me

I am a third year Ph.D. student studying computer science at the University of Washington in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering advised by Dr. Jennifer Mankoff. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My current focus is on accessibility and assistive technology.

kmack3 [at] uw [dot] edu

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

News

  • March 28, 2022- Our CHI paper "Anticipate and Adjust: Cultivating Access in Human-Centered Methods" received an Honorable Mention.
  • March 22, 2022- Our paper "Anticipate and Adjust: Cultivating Access in Human-Centered Methods" about making research accessible to disabled participants and researchers was accepted to CHI '22.

Projects

Anticipate and Adjust: Cultivating Access in Human-Centered Methods

Summary Blog Post | Blog Post of Tips for Accessible Research | Publication

a top-down view of several researchers working on computers and having a discussion at a table

In order for "human-centered research" to include all humans, we need to make sure that research practices are accessible for both participants and researchers with disabilities. Yet, people rarely discuss how to make common methods accessible. We interviewed 17 accessibility experts who were researchers or community organizers about their practices. Our findings emphasize the importance of considering accessibility at all stages of the research process and across different dimensions of studies like communication, materials, time, and space. We explore how technology or processes could reflect a norm of accessibility and offer a practical structure for planning accessible research.

Designing Tools for High-Quality Alt Text Authoring

Blog Post | Publication

a screenshot of the PowerPoint alt text editing pane

Alternative (alt) text is a description of a digital images so that someone who is blind or low vision or otherwise uses a screen reader to understand image content. Little work examines what it is like to write alt text for an image. We created interface designs to support writing and providing feedback about alt text and tested them with people who write alt text and people who use alt text. Our results suggest that authoring interfaces that support authors in choosing what to include in their descriptions result in higher quality alt text. The feedback interfaces highlighted considerable diferences in the perceptions of authors and SRUs regarding “high-quality” alt text. We discuss the implications of these results on applications that support alt text.

Mixed Abilities and Varied Experiences: a group autoethnography of a virtual summer internship

Blog Post | Publication

a person signing into a computer where there are two other people signing on a video call

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to convert their daily work lives to a “virtual” format where everyone connected remotely from their home, which affected the accessibility of work environments. We the authors, full time and intern members of an accessibility-focused team at Microsoft Research, reflect on our virtual work experiences as a team consisting of members with a variety of abilities, positions, and seniority during the summer intern season. We reflect on our summer experiences, noting the successful strategies we used to promote access and the areas in which we could have further improved access.

What Do We Mean by "Accessibility Research"?

Blog Post | Publication

a screenshot of a graph showing the number of accessibility papers published over time

Accessibility research has grown substantially in the past few decades, yet there has been no literature review of the field. To understand current and historical trends, we created and analyzed a dataset of accessibility papers appearing at CHI and ASSETS since ASSETS’ founding in 1994. Our findings highlight areas that have received disproportionate attention and those that are underserved— for example, over 43% of papers in the past 10 years are on accessibility for blind and low vision people. We also capture common study characteristics, such as the roles of disabled and nondisabled participants as well as sample sizes (e.g., a median of 13 for participant groups with disabilities and older adults). We close by critically reflecting on gaps in the literature and offering guidance for future work in the field.

Social App Accessibility for Deaf Signers

Blog Post | Publication

a person signing into a computer where there are two other people signing on a video call

Social media platforms support the sharing of written text, video, and audio. All of these formats may be inaccessible to people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing and use sign language: Deaf signers. We study how Deaf signers engage with social platforms, focusing on how they share content and the barriers they face. We employ a mixed-methods approach involving seven in-depth interviews and a survey of a larger population (n = 60). We find that Deaf signers share the most in written English, despite their desire to share in sign language. We further identify key areas of difficulty in consuming content (e.g., lack of captions for spoken content in videos) and producing content (e.g., captioning signed videos, signing into a phone camera) on social media platforms. Our results reveal potential ways to make social media platforms more accessible to Deaf signers.

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Industry Internships

Service

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