Crowd-Sourced Tools to Help Employees with Disabilities Make Accommodation Decisions

Karen Milchus (PI), Carolyn Phillips (co-PI), and many others
Janine Baltazar, Parinia K. Patel, Yoana Zaharieva

Georgia Tech is developing two online tools to help employees with disabilities and their employers figure out what types of accommodations (e.g., assistive technologies, strategies, universal features) might help them perform their jobs.

Work ACCESS is an easy-to-use workplace-accommodation assessment system.  The website/mobile app collects information about personal, task, and environmental factors and determines potential solutions.  The system's decision trees and algorithms are based on crowd sourcing, research on accommodation best practices, and the reported accommodation outcomes of system users. 

For detailed information about products, employees can turn to the Assistive Software Knowledgebase.  This is a centralized resource for information about computer software/apps for people with disabilities. The site includes searchable information about features, usage tips, compatibility, and user experiences with a variety of software (e.g., screen readers or scheduling apps). 

While we are developing the tools, both will available for free, in exchange for feedback on how to improve them.

Dr. Chantal Kerssens

CIDI advocates for usability, inclusivity, and accessibility for all. Our center collaborates with colleagues, friends, designers, and innovators to expand the awareness around the importance of incorporating accessibility into design. Our goal is to impart the importance and value of a disability, because accessibility affects all aspects of our lives. Our center is excited and prepared to continue to share knowledge and ideas on the next steps in accessibility and inclusion.

The Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI) was created by a merger of the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA) and AMAC Accessibility.

CATEA grew out of collaborations in the late 1970s between Georgia Tech Industrial Design students and local disability groups. Their efforts led to the establishment of CATEA in 1980 by the Board of Regents. For more than 20 years, CATEA provided services for Georgia's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, established the statewide TechKnowledge information clearinghouse on assistive technology, hosted various national resource centers on assistive technology for the workplace, provided accessibility audits for public facilities and information technology to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and produced computer skill and adult education programs. By the early 2000s, CATEA had transformed from a service-oriented center into a full-fledged research center.

AMAC Accessibility started in 2005 as the Alternative Media Access Center to help post-secondary institutions provide complete, timely, and efficient accommodations to print-disabled students. This began with e-text production, and by 2009 had expanded into braille, captioning, and audio description. By 2010, AMAC transitioned to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where it became a research and service center of Georgia Tech's College of Design in 2013 known as AMAC Accessibility Solutions & Research Center. In 2017, as a leader in content engineering designed to increase accessibility globally in the post-secondary industry, it simplified its name to AMAC Accessibility.