News & Events

UW highlights Ph.D. candidate's work on touchscreen accessibility

Monday, April 3, 2017

Martez Mott

Today’s touchscreen world threatens to leave behind a lot of people with motor impairments, but iSchool Ph.D. candidate Martez Mott is working to change that with “Smart Touch.” The project aims to make touch devices intuitive and accessible to everyone, regardless of whether they touch with a finger, a palm or the back of a hand.

The University of Washington highlighted Mott’s work with “Smart Touch” and Ability-Based Design in a feature story on its home page.

The story delves into Mott’s research at Provail, a local center that helps people with disabilities. The nonprofit offers computer classes, and Mott worked with eight participants, asking each to hit targets on the screen and then collecting the data.

“When people are motivated to use technology, they’ll employ a lot of different strategies in order for that to become possible. It was difficult to get an understanding of what ‘touch’ looks like, he told the UW for its story. “People used the software in ways I couldn’t have predicted, which resulted in a lot of failure – and fixing – for me.”

After “a lot of learning,” Mott has a system up and running and is constantly tweaking its algorithms to improve accuracy and perform better. His work is in collaboration with his advisor, Associate Professor Jacob Wobbrock, who will be honored this spring with the SIGCHI Social Impact Award for his work with Ability-Based Design.

> Read the UW story about Mott and watch a video about his work.

> Learn more about Wobbrock and Ability-Based Design.