UBICOMP / ISWC 2020
ACCESSIBILITY FAQ

Conference Details

Conference: UbiComp / ISWC 2020
Location: Online via Whova.com and Gather.town
Dates: September 12-17, 2020
Times: 9am-10pm New York (15:00-4:00 Berlin, 22:00-11:00 Tokyo)

Contact Name: Jennifer Rode
Contact Role: Accessibility Chair
Contact Email: accessibility-2020@ubicomp.org

Key Links

Accessibility Statement: /accessibility/statement/
Program Overview: /program/at-a-glance/
Program Details: /program/agenda/
Accessibility Presentation Guidelines: /accessibility/guidelines/

Conference Format

The conference sessions will occur on Whova.com. The papers themselves are captioned and prerecorded by the authors. Throughout the session questions can be asked in writing using Whova. After the papers for the session are played there will be a synchronous panel in Zoom. These live sessions in Zoom (Q&A panels, keynotes, plenaries) will be captioned using 3PlayMedia.

Gather.town is a virtual world that allows participants to attend virtual poster sessions and other interactive meeting activities including casual networking between paper sessions.

Sessions last 90 minutes. Some are followed by breaks of 30-90 minutes, whereas, so others are followed by Gather.town activates, poster sessions etc. Please see schedule links above for details, including time zone information.

Please see below for details of the accessibility of these platforms.

Asynchronous Participation

Paper talks, Q&A panels, keynotes, plenaries will be available to watch asynchronously via Whova throughout the conference and several days after. Poster and demos will be up in Gather.com throughout the event, but will only be staffed by their presenters during the poster and demo session Monday 11:30-13:00 EST. Other Gather.town activities are synchronous only.

Please see below for details of the accessibility of these platforms.

Assistance at the Conference

Assistant Policy: Assistants must register for the conference. No fee will be charged. Contact accessibility chair for logistic help doing this.

Will student volunteers be available to assist attendees with disabilities? Yes, please indicate on registration or contact the accessibility chair as far in advance as possible.

Requesting Accommodations

This conference has no early registration deadline, but we recommend registering two weeks in advance, by September 2nd, to allow the accessibility chair time to meet accommodation requests.

Early Registration Deadline: None
Registration URL: http://www.cvent.com/d/9nql4d

How to request assistance

If you want assistance please answer yes to the following question: “Do you have a disability or special need that impacts your access to ACM conferences, special interest groups, publications, or digital resources?”

This then allows you to request:

  • Sign language interpretation
  • Captioning

  • Volunteer assistance (e.g. sighted guide)
  • Advance tour of the virtual spaces
  • Specify other requests

Whova Conference Venue Accessibility

Venue Name: Whova
Venue Website: (TBD)
Does the venue have online information about accessibility? No
Whova’s Accessibility URL: None

This is a virtual portal to the conference and contains a schedule, and links to watch all of the sessions. It is possible to plan which sessions one wishes to attend in advance and save them into a schedule. There are also chat boards for attendee interaction. All Q&A can be managed through Whova.com both during the session, as well as before and after.

Screen Reader Support

Findings

Jennifer tested Whova with Apple Voice over, and found it possible though difficult to navigate the site, and perform core tasks like listening to a talk. Some icons were unlabeled.

Mitigations

We recommend asking the accessibility chair for a tour of the site in advance. It is possible to bookmark sessions, therby creating a schedule of which sessions you wish to attend to minimize the need to navigate the UI during the session. We can assist with this as well, if needed.

Contact the accessibility chair (accessibility-2020@ubicomp.org) to request information on a different screen reader.

Captioning for Papers Sessions

All paper presentations are pre-recorded and captioned, and all live sessions will be captioned live.

Gather.town Conference Venue Accessibility

Venue Name: Gather.town
Venue Website: (TBD)
Does the venue have online information about accessibility? No
Gather.town Accessibility URL: None

Gather.town is a virtual world that allows participants to move their avatars around to interact via chat or video with those nearby and attend virtual poster sessions and other interactive meeting activities. There is also a text chat facility.

Accessibility Support

An SV will be available to provide assistance in the Gather.town entrance at all times. Additionally, an accessibility SV will be available on chat at all times, and will be in direct contact with the accessibility chair.

Screen Reader Support

Findings

Jennifer tested Gather.town with Apple Voice over, and found it impossible to navigate the virtual world. As I moved my avatar no verbal feedback was given on its location nor what virtual spaces or other avatars were nearby. It was possible to navigate the UI using a screen reader to chat to all which would facilitate wayfinding or asking an SV for help, but I was unable to chat with a specific user. You are able to have your avatar follow another to facilitate wayfinding.

Mitigations
  • SV support: We can provide you with an SV to help you move from virtual room to room, or to find participants with which you wish to speak. We can either assign you an SV for a block of time, or you can request one as needed. We recognize the former has implications for the privacy of your discussions with other attendees.
  • Support worker guides: Alternatively, you can have your own support worker provide assistance, in which case you will not need to pay a registration fee for your support worker.
  • Maps: We can provide you with a map (see below).
  • Tours: You may request a tour of the virtual space in advance (contact accessibility-2020@ubicomp.org).

Captioning

Findings

Gather.town does not support captioning. This is important as questions for papers and networking will occur in Gather.town. Interactions with other attendees happen through video chat which facilitates lip reader and/or signing.

Mitigations

Request that we provide you a captioner. Then can set their avatar to follow yours and caption any communication. You will not need to pay a registration fee if you wish to provide your own support worker.

Low Hand Dexterity

Findings

Gather.town does not afford moving your avatar by voice. It is possible to move one’s avatar using mouse keys, and the “x” key starts a video chat with nearby users. There are no other key commands to allow one to chat, quickly navigate to a specific room, or access menu items (map, raise hand, set status, setup, etc.).

Mitigations
  • Improved layout: In response to an accessibility audit the virtual space was relayed out to remove unnecessary obstacles and make it as easy as possible for a low dexterity user to move about the space.
  • SV support: We can provide you with an SV to help you move from virtual room to room, or to find participants with which you wish to speak. We can either assign you an SV for a block of time, or you can request one as needed. We recognize the former has implications for the privacy of your discussions with other attendees.
  • Support worker guides: Alternatively, you can have your own support worker provide assistance, in which case you will not need to pay a registration fee for your support worker.

Map and Description of the Virtual Conference Space

Is there a map of the venue available? Yes
Map URL: (To be provided once virtual space is built.)
Text Description of the Conference Space: (Forthcoming)
Tours: Please contact the accessibility chair (accessibility-2020@ubicomp.org) to request a virtual tour of the space in advance of the conference.

WHO IS THIS Q AND A FOR?

We are prepared to make reasonable adjustments and accommodations, or otherwise take steps to ensure that people with disabilities can take part in the conference. This Q and A is for anyone with accessibility needs.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ‘A DISABILITY’?

A disability is any impairment or condition that places an individual at a substantial disadvantage in relation to one or more daily life activities. This includes mobility, hearing and visual impairments, as well as a number of conditions that might be less immediately obvious as a disability (e.g. Mental Health Conditions, Specific Learning Disabilities, Autism, Chronic Illness, Cancer, HIV amongst other all fall within this definition).

WHAT CAN I REQUEST?

In short, we are willing to take all steps that are possible to include people with disabilities at Ubicomp / ISWC2020. It is important that all participants that have special requests announce those to us with their registration as it may require additional time on our side to provide the requested support. Some examples are shown above. This includes anticipatory steps we are taking in advance of the conference to ensure accessibility takes place for as many of our attendees as possible without the need for a specific request.

HOW DO I REQUEST A REASONABLE ADJUSTMENT OR ACCOMMODATION?

Please indicate your request on your registration form as you register for the conference. We aim to approve most requests within two weeks of receipt, although if further investigation or consultation is required, this may take longer.

I HAVE A COMPLEX REQUEST FOR A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION. HOW WILL YOU DECIDE UPON WHETHER OR NOT THIS CAN BE HONOURED?

In short, we will generally honour a request if it is possible for us to do. The more notice we have the better, and the more likely we would be able to find an effective implementation of your request that fits with any competing challenges that also apply to our conference. We may need to consult with ACM and more widely in order to fully investigate such a request, in which case we would ask your permission to do so.

  • Will it be possible to obtain chat transcripts? Chat and the Q&A on Whova transcript can be reviewed at any time. In Gather.town chat transcripts can only be obtained by chat participants, but we can arrange to have an SV participate in your chat to ensure you can obtain a transcript. Contact the SV chair if you need assistance obtaining a Transcript.
  • Can I join via phone? If so, how? This is not possible for Gather.town. It is possible for the Whova/Zoom sessions. Each session has a unique phone number, and you will need to request it from the accessibility chaitr in advance.
  • How can I ask questions if I can’t access the chat function? If I can’t access the audio? We will have a Google Hangout staffed throughout the conference by a combination of the Accessibility Chair, SV chair and SV volunteers. Due to time zone differences the accessibility chair will not always be online, but he SVs will know how to contact the accessibility chair at all times (Details on Google Hangout contact forthcoming).
  • What practices are being implemented for limiting background noise? In Whova, we will ask participants to mute microphones when not speaking. If someone forgets we can mute them for them. For Gather.town we will educate participants in good mic etiquette, but can not enforce it. We would however encourage all participants to feel empowered to remind attendees to mute to avoid background noise. For more formal events in Gather.town let us know if there is a problem and the accessibility chair can provide a reminder.
  • Will it be possible to obtain posters in an accessible format in advance of the poster session? If so, how? Please contact the accessibility chair if you need posters in advance and we will collect them for you.
  • Will it be possible to obtain copies of slides from presenters? If so, how? Please contact the accessibility chair if you need posters in advance and we will collect them for you.
  • Where will last-minute changes to the format be communicated? The Accessibility chair will communicate any format changes directly to any attendee registered with a disability via email.
  • Is there a way to contact other attendees to set up direct conversations in a more accessible channel (e.g., zoom or hangouts)? In Whova, it is possible to create video meetings on a variety of platforms including Zoom and Hangouts. If you will need assistance with this, if possible, please let us know in advance. If you have an emergent need, please contact us on the accessibility Google hangout and we will help facilitate these conversations. (Details on Google Hangout contact forthcoming.)

Past Conferences

The ACM international joint conference on pervasive and ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) is the result of a merger of the two most renowned conferences in the field: pervasive and ubicomp. while it retains the name of the latter in recognition of the visionary work of mark weiser, its long name reflects the dual history of the new event. a complete list of both ubicomp and pervasive past conferences is provided below.

UbiComp 2019, London, England

UbiComp 2018, Singapore

UbiComp 2017, Maui, USA

UbiComp 2016, Heidelberg, Germany

UbiComp 2015, Osaka, Japan

UbiComp 2014, Seattle, USA

UbiComp 2013, Zurich, Switzerland

UbiComp 2012, Pittsburgh (PA), USA

Pervasive 2012, Newcastle, England

UbiComp 2011, Beijing, China

View All