University of Maryland


Trace Faculty and Students Contribute to a Successful Virtual ASSETS 2021

October 26th, 2021

Trace faculty and students contribute work and play key leadership roles at ASSETS 2021, which marks landmark 50th anniversaries for both the Trace R&D Center and SIGACCESS.

ASSETS 2021 logo, October 18th-22nd

ASSETS 2021 celebrated 50 years of its sponsor, ACM SIGACCESS, including a 1970s-inspired logo designed by Rachel Wood, a Trace-affiliated PhD student in the UMD iSchool.

The 23rd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility – ASSETS 2021 – wrapped up last week with a record-breaking 424 registrants, including 34 members of the University of Maryland community. And this year’s conference, held virtually, continued the tradition of significant contributions and leadership from faculty and students affiliated with the Trace R&D Center. (For more details on Trace’s history of involvement at ASSETS, see UMD iSchool Faculty and Students Lead the Way at the ASSETS 2020 Conference which includes the papers, presentations, and leadership roles of Trace faculty and students in 2020.)

iSchool Professor Jonathan Lazar served as general chair for the ASSETS 2021 conference. Professor Lazar noted, “Our goal for ASSETS 2021, as a virtual conference, was to continue the great tradition of the ASSETS conference series, while also acknowledging the challenges that people face in attending conferences in virtual format.” Among the changes made for the 2021 conference: the conference lasted five days instead of three days, with more break times and more times to socialize. The organizing committee itself took care of captioning the pre-recorded videos, instead of asking authors to do so. In addition, through an in-kind partnership with Adobe, Adobe ensured that all PDF files of research papers were accessible, again, instead of asking authors to do so. Attendees were encouraged to bring family members to the virtual social events. 

In addition to Professor Jonathan Lazar serving as general chair, UMD iSchool assistant research scientist and Trace core faculty J. Bern Jordan served as one of the Accessibility co-chairs; visiting professor from Shippensburg University and Trace affiliate faculty Brian Wentz served as one of the Virtual co-chairs; and Meagan Griffith (HCIM, iSchool) and Rachel Wood (PhD, iSchool), two students affiliated with Trace, were Web Design co-chairs, bringing to life the 1970s theme in honor of 50 years of SIGACCESS, the ACM Special Interest Group that sponsors ASSETS. (The theme was also celebrated in a ‘70s Zoom dance party and a ‘70s singalong to close two of the conference days!)

Zoom grid with 25 people, some with 1970s backgrounds and dancing

1970s Zoom dance party closed the first day of ASSETS 2021.

As this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Trace Center, the first afternoon of ASSETS featured a panel discussion and Q&A on the impact of Trace, moderated by Clayton Lewis, emeritus professor at the University of Colorado, and featuring Judy Brewer, director of the Web Accessibility Initiative at the World Wide Web Consortium, David Capozzi, former executive director of the US Access Board, Alan Brightman, founder of the accessibility team at Apple, and Gregg Vanderheiden, founder and former director of Trace and professor in the UMD iSchool. The panelists reflected on the unique contributions of the Trace Center over its first 50 years and offered insights into the potential for its next half century of groundbreaking work related to technology, disability, and accessibility. (Watch excerpts from the impact of Trace panel on YouTube, or watch the full discussion on YouTube.)

 Contributions from Trace faculty and students included three technical papers, including one Best Paper Award Nominee, The Efficacy of Collaborative Authoring of Video Scene Description, co-authored by UMD iSchool assistant professor and Trace core faculty Hernisa Kacorri and recent UMD graduate and Trace-affiliated student Ebrima Jarjue. In addition, Trace faculty and students contributed a presentation, two posters, a participant in the doctoral consortium, and a presentation in the student research competition.

Recent UMD graduate Sabahat Fatima, a mentee of Dr. Kacorri, won the Undergraduate Student Research Competition for her work, “Activity Recognition in Older Adults with Training Data from Younger Adults: Preliminary Results on in Vivo Smartwatch Sensor Data.” And Drs. Vanderheiden and Jordan’s poster/demo on Morphic, “An Open-source Tool for Simplifying Computer and Assistive Technology Use,” was awarded Honorable Mention for the Best Artifact Award.


Here is a complete list of Trace-affiliated work presented at ASSETS 2021:


The Efficacy of Collaborative Authoring of Video Scene Description

[technical paper, *Best Paper Award Nominee]

  • Rosiana Natalie, Singapore Management University
  • Jolene Loh Loh, Singapore Management University
  • Huei Suen Tan, Singapore Management University
  • Joshua Tseng, Singapore Management University
  • Ian Luke Yi-Ren Chan, Singapore Management University 
  • Ebrima H Jarjue, University of Maryland 
  • Hernisa Kacorri, University of Maryland 
  • Kotaro Hara, Singapore Management University 


Sharing Practices for Datasets Related to Accessibility and Aging

[technical paper]

  • Rie Kamikubo, University of Maryland 
  • Utkarsh Dwivedi, University of Maryland 
  • Hernisa Kacorri, University of Maryland 


Accessing Passersby Proxemic Signals through a Head-Worn Camera: Opportunities and Limitations for the Blind

[technical paper]

  • Kyungjun Lee, University of Maryland 
  • Daisuke Sato, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Saki Asakawa, New York University
  • Chieko Asakawa, IBM
  • Hernisa Kacorri, University of Maryland 


Investigating Best Practices for Remote Summative Usability Testing with People with Mild to Moderate Dementia [Full text of the paper.]

[TACCESS presentation]

  • Rachel Wood, University of Maryland
  • Emma Dixon, University of Maryland
  • Salma Elsayed-Ali, University of Maryland
  • Ekta Shokeen, University of Maryland
  • Amanda Lazar, University of Maryland
  • Jonathan Lazar, University of Maryland


Uncovering Patterns in Reviewers’ Feedback to Scene Description Authors


  • Rosiana Natalie, Singapore Management University
  • Jolene Loh Kar Inn, Singapore Management University
  • Tan Huei Suen, Singapore Management University
  • Joshua Tseng Shi Hao, Singapore Management University
  • Hernisa Kacorri, University of Maryland
  • Kotaro Hara, Singapore Management University


An Open-source Tool for Simplifying Computer and Assistive Technology Use

[poster/demo, *Honorable Mention – Best Artifact Award]

  • Gregg Vanderheiden, University of Maryland
  • J. Bern Jordan, University of Maryland


Facilitating Sharing and Re-use of Accessibility Datasets: Benefits and Risks

[Doctoral Consortium] 

  • Rie Kamikubo, University of Maryland


Activity Recognition in Older Adults with Training Data from Younger Adults: Preliminary Results on in Vivo Smartwatch Sensor Data

[*Winner of Undergraduate Student Research Competition]

  • Sabahat Fatima, University of Maryland