Over 20% of people are excluded from education, employment, and healthcare due to inaccessible digital technologies and content.
Digital technologies (such as software apps, websites, digital documents, and operating systems) are often designed without considering the needs of people with disabilities. Remediating existing accessibility issues can be a time-consuming and expensive process that still fails to include the disability community and often leads to delays in access.
The new Maryland Initiative for Digital Accessibility (MIDA) combines the expertise and passion of researchers, designers, developers and educators from multiple disciplines at the University of Maryland with a united goal of making digital technologies accessible for all. MIDA aims to involve the disability community, private and public partners, and anyone interested in accessibility issues, in technology development projects, public outreach programs and advocacy. We will collaborate with others to proactively build in accessibility when developing new technologies – known as the “born-accessible” approach.
MIDA has five high-level goals:
- Building a community of faculty, staff, and students across the University of Maryland (UMD) who are passionate about digital accessibility
- Creating opportunities for UMD to engage with external stakeholders including disability rights groups, technology companies, and policymakers
- Developing technology projects to improve accessibility and demonstrate the born-accessible approach to design
- Fundraising to further support MIDA’s mission
- Increasing awareness of digital accessibility through public events and programming at UMD.
- A New Way to Make Digital Technology Accessible to AllA Grand Challenges Q&A with Gulnoza Yakubova: Associate professor in the College of Education, Gulnoza Yakubova is a co-principal investigator of MIDA. She explains how digital accessibility can increase equity for people with disabilities and...
- An Ally for AccessPalm-sized Robot Navigates Touchscreens for Visually Impaired Users. Having to tap-tap-tap away to order a sandwich or check bags at a touchscreen kiosk can be annoying. For those who are blind or visually impaired, it...
- Recent study finds people with dementia use changing information behaviors when seeking health informationINFO Assistant Professor Amanda Lazar and a team of researchers studied how people with dementia search for health information after diagnosis. In a study published last year, College of Information Studies (INFO) assistant professor and member of...
- UMD Tech Tool Aims to Make Workplaces More Inclusive for Autistic PeopleVideo Platform Designed by Neurodiverse Team Could Improve Communications for All. A new communications platform in development at the University of Maryland could increase employment opportunities for the autistic community by helping individuals navigate the...
- Stephanie Valencia-Valencia Explores How Large Language Models Can Accommodate People with DisabilitiesThe INFO assistant professor studies the benefits and limitations of technology in aiding communication.
- Maryland Initiative for Digital Accessibility (MIDA) informs public policy on technology accessibility for people with disabilitiesJonathan Lazar provided testimony about digital accessibility to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and MIDA provided comments to the rulemaking related to web and mobile app accessibility under Title II of the Americans...
- News Release: Maryland Initiative for Digital Accessibility (MIDA) LaunchesLed by the UMD INFO College, Maryland Initiative for Digital Accessibility (MIDA) aims to change technology design to include disability communities as equal partners, proactively building in accessibility.