Workshop at INTERACT 2021

Designing Accessible Mobile Services

Mobile services allow people to participate in everyday and professional ac-tivities by improving their mobility. People with low vision, people who are physically impaired, or people with cognitive impairment benefit from assis-tive technology and geographic information systems. In this workshop we investigate the universal design of mobile services and how mobile services provide access to a pedestrian’s context. Allocentric and egocentric ap-proaches of interaction with mobile devices are combined with multiple mo-dalities to ensure users are travelling efficiently and effectively. New mobile services will be needed to address blind spots in repositories for geographical information. For example, buildings have been largely unaddressed. Work-shop participants are encouraged to discuss the development of universal understanding of barriers for the widest range of users.

Title: Designing Accessible Mobile Services
Workshop at INTERACT 2021
August 30th, 2021, Bari, Italy


Mobile computing has allowed the development of novel assistive technologies to support people with mobility and visual impairments in their everyday needs to travel and orient themselves more independently. Mobile and wearable devices have become commodities not only for car drivers but also for pedestrians to increase their mobility with respect to safety, the complexity of routes, and user experience. 

In contrast to the wide availability of mobile devices, it is necessary for designers to understand the needs of an even wider range of users to address the needs of people with disabilities. Mobility services supporting universal designs should integrate both egocentric and allocentric approaches. Egocentric approaches guide the user (e.g. “take 10 steps forward”, “go 200 meters straight”) whereas allocentric approaches orient the user to landmarks and points of interest (e.g. “the church is beyond the post office”).  These two approaches form a design space that can be explored to create accessible and useful solutions for disabled and older users.

Verbalization of geographical information is an effective approach for users with low vision or mobility impairment but may be challenging for individuals with a cognitive disability or those unfamiliar with verbalizations. Thus, different approaches will be needed for mobile services to represent maps, directions, alarms, or notifications.

Workshop Objectives

The workshop will address the most recent developments in universal design of mobile services and electronic travel aids, mapping services, and indoor navigation. In particular, we encourage participants to exchange on new AT needed, the methods of universal design for mobile services, and evaluation with users in a mobile context. 

Methods for a systematic approach to design for diverse users with possibly contradictory requirements is given room for discussion in the workshop, for example, the creation of personas representing pedestrians should be reflected regarding a developer’s own mobile behavior.    

Evaluation of mobile computing often is not easily controlled. The workshop aims at discussing ethical concerns to be considered before creating dangerous situations.

Expected Outcomes

Participants will discuss the major challenges in designing wearable but accessible devices for users with diverse needs. We will work towards producing a jointly authored paper for publication on the challenges in designing more universal approaches for mobile and wearable assistive technologies. Organizers will at least prepare a report on the website of the workshop.

Call for Participation

This workshop aims at researchers and interface designers interested in bridging between mobility needs and actual services of diverse users. We encourage submissions on the universal design of wearables, new and updating of existing geographical information services for improving the mobility of people in outdoor and indoor contexts.

Important Dates

  • Jun 4, 2021: Submission deadline of position papers
  • July 2, 2021: Notification of acceptance
  • July 26, 2021: Final workshop papers due  
  • Sept 2, 2021:  Workshop in Bari

Selection of Relevant Topics:

  • Requirement analysis, development of personas.
  • Allocentric and egocentric approaches of interaction with mobile devices.
  • Multiple modalities to ensure users are traveling efficiently and effectively.
  • Blind spots in repositories for geographical information such as buildings.
  • Evaluation of prototypic accessible mobile systems.
  • Mobile services or specific AT for supporting better mobility
  • Access to geographic information (indoor and outdoor) 


In order to attend the workshop, participants are invited to submit short papers (up to 2-4 pages long) reporting original academic or industrial research relevant to the workshop’s theme.

  • Submissions should be no longer than 4 pages (including references) in Springer LNCS format
  • Submissions are not anonymous and should include all author names, affiliations, and contact information.
  • Papers should outline authors’ research or technical development around aspects of accessible mobile services, together with key research questions or challenges that arise in their work.
  • Work-in-progress contributions are welcome. Selected contributions might be invited for publication at a later date.
  • Submissions should be sent by June 4th 2021 to the address: interactworkshop(at) [NOTE: replace underscore with n]

Selection Criteria

  • Submissions will be selected according to relevance, diversity of opinions, and the probability of creating dynamic discussion.
  • All submissions will be reviewed by an international program committee.
  • We plan to send out notifications on July 2nd, 2021.
  • If accepted, at least one author must register for the workshop at Interact 2021:

Preliminary Schedule

  • 09:00: Welcome and introduction
  • 09:30: Paper presentation part I (4 papers, each 20 min including questions)
  • 10:50: Break   
  • 11:00: Collaborative activity, interactivity session part I
  • 13:00: Lunch break
  • 14:00: Paper presentation part II (4 papers, each 20 min including questions) 
  • 15:20: Collaborative activity, interactivity session part II
  • 16:20: Short Break 
  • 16:30: Wrap up (discussion and planning for future directions and outcomes)
  • 17:00: Workshop ends


Claudia Loitsch is a postdoc at the Technische Universität Dresden. She researches and teaches at the Chair of Human-Computer Interaction on user-centered design, accessibility, and user-adaptive interfaces to support diversity and inclusion by personalizing information technologies.

Karin Müller is deputy director of the Study Center for the Visually Impaired at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe. Her interests are accessibility of digital information, tactile graphics, non-visual interaction i.e. sonification. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Stuttgart on probabilistic syllable modeling for speech synthesis.

Helen Petrie is Professor Emerita of Human-Computer Interaction at the University of York in the United Kingdom. She has participated in over 30 British and international projects on technology for older and disabled people, including a number of projects on mobility for people with visual impairments. She has received numerous awards for her work including a Social Impact Award from the ACM (2009), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal National Institute for Blind People (2017).

Gerhard Weber is a professor in Human-Computer Interaction at Technische Universität Dresden. His interests are in non-visual interaction, tactile graphics, accessibility of mobile HCI, and teaching on accessibility. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Stuttgart on tactile/haptic interaction for blind people and has habilitated at Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg with his work on the design of screen readers. 


This workshop is supported by IFIP Working Group TC 13.3 Human Computer Interaction, Disability and Aging and takes place at International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2021