Info for Participants
EC/NSF Workshop on Universal Accessibility of
Ubiquitous Computing: Providing for the Elderly
22-25 May 2001
Alcácer do Sal, Portugal
Portuguese Foundation for Science
Luso-American Foundation for Development
The population in developed countries is ageing slowly but surely,
due to advances in healthcare and a downward trend in population growth.
While this trend is known and widely acknowledged, the ageing population
seems to be notably absent from the minds of conventional application designers
who seem to think that devices and applications are to be used by able-bodied
young people. The problem is greatly exacerbated by new computing devices
and information appliances, which target the same population. While desktop
computing environments were by and large targeted at the younger population,
the market for new devices targets a significantly broader range of people,
backgrounds and age groups. Clearly new design approaches are needed to
address specific needs of senior citizens. The proposed workshop will look
at these problems in the context of new interconnected ubiquitous devices
and pervasive computing platforms. Not only the approaches to computing
pose new interesting technical problems, but the interface requirements
become ever more stringent and determinant in the success (or failure) of
the new technologies.
Nations cannot promote a have and have-not culture in information
technology. As the daily activities of living and the infrastructure to
support these activities increasingly rely on IT, all members of society
need to be able to access and use these techniques. Furthermore, the surge
of innovations of which ubiquitous devices and computer networks are perhaps
the most prominent, brings forth a new wealth of problems for which designers
are barely prepared. With the advent of mobile and ubiquitous computing,
a new generation of interactive devices is upon us. The tidal wave of innovation
unleashed by these new technologies while attractive to new users and developers
may also usher in new frustrations and barriers to accessibility. These
can be either facilitators of greater access to IT or added barriers for
some citizens. Further, the new capabilities for unforeseen interactions
between co-operating devices can present practical obstacles to universal
accessibility. New disciplines and design methods should be brought to bear
on this problem.
Individuals with disabilities represent a large customer base and protocols
need to be in place to enable them to work with the IT infrastructure and
for the infrastructure to work for them. The demographic trends in the developed
countries introduce new classes of disabilities and challenges specific to
the ageing process that so far have been mostly ignored by designers and
researchers alike. For example, sophisticated visualization transformations
and user interface improvements could make complex data accessible to individuals
with limited abilities or type could be enlarged to enable aging population
to read from a computer screen.
We propose to bring together 35 to 40 leaders in the fields of UA research,
business, academia and policy to review the current state-of-the-art and
produce a set of research agenda items for near and long term activities.
All attendees will provide background papers highlighting their individual
perspectives. Workshop sessions will include a formal short presentation
by the author(s) on the background of the paper or demonstration, a panel
of discussants on the topic, a facilitator and a recorder. The discussion
at each session will be transcribed and be available to all. Short presentations
by contributors to focus on these papers will be made at the workshop.
Each topic session, as noted below, will be followed by a brainstorming
and, where appropriate, a working activity.
- Pervasive Mobile Computing and People with Disabilities.
- Exploratory User Centered design for all citizens.
- Accessibility and the Elderly.
- Accessibility for people with Cognitive Disorders.
- User-centered design for people with disabilities.
- Sociological integration facilitated by technology.
- To re-assess, with respect to new advances in Information
Technology, the role, contribution and interaction of people with different
needs and challenges due to physical differences in age, perception, culture
- To explore and propose recommendations for new technical policies,
immediate Action Plans as well as long term projects and research agendas.
- To take into account experience from the past, lessons learned
from work with disabilities in general as well as insights based on trends
from technological breakthroughs.
- To articulate an integrated approach to addressing these problems
in the context of technology and human rights and values
- To take the rare opportunity to look at common aspects of
information systems from a completely different point of view – listening
to different disciplines, focuses, cultures and perceptions.
To be effective, the outcomes and directives from the workshop will
be accessible to all stakeholders: policy makers as well as researchers,
academics and of course members of the disabled community. We have secured
an agreement with ACM Press to publish the workshop proceedings in book
form after the meeting and through the ACM Digital Library. The results
will be made available through the World-Wide Web as well as at public
hearings, prestigious conferences, and well-established publications.
Results also will be forwarded to international leaders and policy
makers who engage in policy in the area of UA. Most notably, the results
will be forwarded to the National Science Foundation as well as the European
Commission as recommendations for setting a research agenda for the 6th and
ensuing framework programs. Additionally, these results will be sent for publication
to newsletters within the main professional societies (SIGGRAPH, SIGCHI and
IFIP all have agreed to do this) as well as societies and lobby groups representing
the elderly and disabled constituencies.
Additionally, professional societies such as ACM/SIGCHI, SIGCAPH
and SIGGRAPH agreed to support the workshop in many ways, including but not
limited to, being listed as a cooperating society of the workshop, supporting
the dissemination of results and advertising the venue. Similar agreements
have been negotiated with other professional associations such as Eurographics,
International Federation for Information Processing Technical committee
on Human Computer Interaction IFIP (TC13/WG13.3). In addition to the list
of invited participants, a few positions (about four to six) will be reserved
for doctoral students engaged in this research area. By including doctoral
students, we can extend the network of researchers ready to work to implement
the ideas generated at the workshop. The selection of these students will
be on a competitive basis after an evaluation of a position paper accompanied
by a letter of reference and statement of research goals. Preference will
be given to students who have been admitted to candidacy.
NSF and EC have signaled they will support the workshop. Thanks to this
support, we are offering to partially reimburse the travel expenses (a
round trip PEX fare to the conference venue, bus transfer from/to the airport,
three nights accommodation and meals at the meeting venue) to participants
with accepted contributions. We have secured the services of a local travel
agent to help participants with their travel arrangements. Reimbursement
will follow rules and procedures established by the EC and NSF for European
and US participants respectively. Please see travel and
accommodations below for details. Feel free to contact Joaquim Jorge
<firstname.lastname@example.org> or Rachelle
if you have any questions or comments. We are looking forward to seeing
you in Portugal.
The workshop is scheduled to take place in an inspiring location in
Alcácer do Sal near Lisbon, Portugal, inside a castle at the "Pousada
D. Afonso II", a site with 5000 years of history that goes back to the later
Neolithic period. The venue is located 70km (45 miles) to the south of Lisbon,
on a hill overlooking vast plains.
The workshop will last four days, from May 22nd to May 25th 2001.
This secluded site is chosen so that attendees can participate without distraction.
The cloistered nature of the venue encourages opportunities for continued
interchange outside of formal sessions. More important, the meeting venue
is accessible to people with disabilities. The relaxed atmosphere will enable
participants to from ad hoc small group discussions. The informality should
also act as encouragement to all to engage in discussions and permit all
to be heard. You can view the facilities of the Pousada and its surrounding
area on the Web at:
Position papers, will be evaluated by a program committee. The program
committee will decide on the final program and list of participants. The
following people compose the program committee:
|Position papers due:
|| March 23 2001
|Notification of Acceptance/rejection:
|| April 16 2001
|Final Versions due:
|| April 30 2001
|| May 22 - May 25 2001
- Rachelle Heller, USA (chair)
- Joaquim Jorge, Portugal
- Richard Guedj, France
- Jenny Preece, USA
- D. Duce, UK
Authors are requested to submit high-quality contributions, no longer
than 12 pages, with the main body set in a 12-point font. Each paper should
contain title, authors' names and affiliations, abstract, keywords, text,
illustrations and references. Submissions should be sent by e-mail to
<email@example.com> or to Rachelle Heller
<firstname.lastname@example.org>. Accepted contributions will be published
through this web site shortly before the conference.
ACM Conference format is encouraged but only required for final
submissions. We prefer position papers in PDF or HTML/CSS formats. Ms/Word
or Postscript areaccepted if you cannot produce one of the
other formats. Please contact email@example.com
directly if you do not receive a confirmation within 24 hours of submission.
- Joaquim Jorge, INESC-ID, Portugal
- Rachelle Heller, GWU, USA
- Richard Guedj, FR
- Paula Centeno, INESC-ID, Administrative support
- Manuel Fonseca, INESC-ID, On-line proceedings
Please refer all your questions concerning the workshop
Ms Paula Centeno
Rua Alves Redol, 9
Tel. +351 21 310 0303 Fax: +351 21 314 5843
We have enlisted the services of Abreu Tours, a local travel agent with
vast experience in conference organization and logistics to help with local
details, including accommodation, social programs and travel arrangements.
Transfer buses will be available at the airport to take you to the Pousada
(75 Km or 50 mi). Please check with the travel agent for details. We encourage
you to process your travel and accommodation bookings directly through Abreu
Tours to simplify arrangements and reimbursements. You can contact them through
one of their main offices in several cities:
Contact Ms Madalena de Almeida
Tel. +351 21 4156121 Fax. +351 21 4156383
New York, NY
Contact Ms. Dora Ferreira
350, 5th Avenue, Empire State Building, Suite 2414
Tel. 212 819 9205 Fax. 212 354 1840
Other offices exist in London and Madrid. For more details,
please see their website at