Building Accessible Information Systems: A Data-Driven Approach

Danielle Bragg, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Washington


Date: 2018-01-17
Time: 4:00pm
Location: Room 1202, CSE Building, UC San Diego

Guest Speaker: Danielle Bragg, University of Washington
Ph.D. Student, Computer Science

Host: Design Lab at UC San Diego


The second seminar in the Winter 2018 Design@Large lecture series will be given by University of Washington Ph.D. candidate Danielle Bragg.

Computer scientists have made progress on many problems in information access: curating large datasets, developing machine learning techniques, building extensive networks, and designing interfaces to navigate various media. However, many of these solutions do not work well for people with disabilities, who total a billion worldwide (and nearly one in five in the US). For example, visual graphics and small text may exclude people with visual impairments, and text-based resources like search engines and text editors may not fully support people using unwritten sign languages.

In this talk, I will present three systems that expand and enrich access to information: 1) ASL-Search, an American Sign Language (ASL) dictionary trained on data from volunteer ASL students, 2) Smartfonts and Livefonts, scripts that reimagine the alphabet’s appearance to improve legibility for low-vision readers, and 3) ASL-Live, the first animated reading/writing system for ASL. These systems employ quantitative methods, using large-scale data collected through existing and novel crowdsourcing platforms to solve data scarcity problems and explore design spaces. They also involve people with disabilities in the solution process, to better understand and address accessibility problems.


Danielle Bragg is a Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science at the University of Washington advised by Richard Ladner. Her research interests combine Accessibility, Human-Computer Interaction, and Applied Machine Learning. In her research, Bragg takes data-driven approaches to address accessibility problems, helping to make the world a more equitable place for people with disabilities. Her  diverse past research projects have spanned data visualization, computational biology, computer music, applied mathematics, and network protocols. Before starting her PhD, she received her AB in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University.