The DCitizens Project has taken a significant stride in supporting the participation of its junior researchers in the highly acclaimed ASSETS 2023 Conference. This endeavour aligns seamlessly with the project’s mission, particularly under Work Package 3, which is geared toward enhancing the scientific profile of early-stage researchers at the Interactive Technologies Institute. ASSETS 2023, being the preeminent platform for research in the domain of computing for individuals with disabilities and older adults, offers our project members an exceptional opportunity to contribute to this vital field of study.

ASSETS 2023: A Glimpse

ASSETS, which stands for the International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, is renowned worldwide for its dedication to promoting technological solutions and advancements that cater to the unique needs of people with disabilities and older adults. It serves as the epicenter for presenting and discussing cutting-edge research on topics encompassing the design, evaluation, use, and education related to interactive technologies. Notably, ASSETS holds the prestigious “Core A” rating, designating it as one of the most highly respected academic conferences within its discipline—a testament to its remarkable influence within the field.

The DCitizens Project’s Contributions

This year, the DCitizens Project is proud to be represented at ASSETS 2023 by two exceptional junior researchers: Patricia Piedade and Filipa Rocha. Their contributions to the conference underline the project’s commitment to advancing the accessibility and inclusivity of technology for all individuals, regardless of their abilities.

Patricia Piedade’s “PartiPlay: A Participatory Game Design Kit for Neurodiverse Classrooms”

Patricia Piedade, a member of the DCitizens Project, will be presenting a poster at ASSETS 2023 titled “PartiPlay: A Participatory Game Design Kit for Neurodiverse Classrooms.” Her poster serves as a showcase of her Master’s thesis work, a collaborative project undertaken at the Interactive Technologies Institute (ITI). Working closely with Isabel Neto (ITI) and Ana Pires (ITI) and under the guidance of Prof. Hugo Nicolau (ITI) and Prof. Rui Prada (INESC-ID), Patricia’s research took her to primary school classrooms to co-create an inclusive tabletop game using a small robot.

What makes Patricia’s work truly outstanding is the methodology she developed, including crafting activities and accessible worksheets, to create a toolkit for other researchers working with neurodiverse groups of children. Her research underscores the significance of allowing for multiple modes of expression, such as writing, speaking, and drawing, to promote equitable participation for neurodivergent children. Furthermore, Patricia’s findings emphasize the profound impact of letting children take home their creations, fostering a profound sense of ownership and accomplishment.

Filipa Rocha’s “Mixed-Visual Ability Collaboration for Children in Computational Thinking”

Filipa Rocha, another exceptional talent within the DCitizens Project, is participating in the ASSETS Doctoral Consortium. Her research, titled “Mixed-Visual Ability Collaboration for Children in Computational Thinking,” delves into the realm of inclusive education and the challenges that arise in mixed-visual ability classrooms.

Her work acknowledges that merely including children with visual impairments in mainstream classrooms is not enough to ensure their full participation and engagement. Assistive technology tools, while essential, sometimes prioritize accessibility over fostering truly inclusive and collaborative learning environments. Filipa’s research will focus on how to create equitable participation and engagement within mixed-visual ability groups through the development of an interdependent coding environment with audio-augmented tangibles.

The DCitizens Project’s Ongoing Commitment

The DCitizens Project’s support of Patricia Piedade and Filipa Rocha in their endeavours at ASSETS 2023 is a testament to the project’s ongoing commitment to advancing the field of accessibility in technology. By enabling the participation of early-stage researchers in such prestigious conferences, the project not only supports these talented individuals in their academic journey but also furthers its mission of promoting a more inclusive and accessible world for all.