Co11ab: Augmenting Accessibility in Synchronous Collaborative Writing for People with Vision Impairments

Maitraye Das, Thomas Barlow McHugh, Anne Marie Piper, Darren Gergle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Collaborative writing is an integral part of academic and professional work. Although some prior research has focused on accessibility in collaborative writing, we know little about how visually impaired writers work in real-time with sighted collaborators or how online editing tools could better support their work. Grounded in formative interviews and observations with eight screen reader users, we built Co11ab, a Google Docs extension that provides configurable audio cues to facilitate understanding who is editing (or edited) what and where in a shared document. Results from a design exploration with fifteen screen reader users, including three naturalistic sessions of use with sighted colleagues, reveal how screen reader users understand various auditory representations and use them to coordinate real-time collaborative writing. We revisit what collaboration awareness means for screen reader users and discuss design considerations for future systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2022 - Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450391573
StatePublished - Apr 29 2022
Event2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Apr 30 2022May 5 2022

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • Collaborative writing
  • ability-diverse collaboration
  • accessibility
  • collaboration awareness
  • screen readers
  • vision impairments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software

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