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UW’s Jennifer Mankoff, Batya Friedman and Jacob Wobbrock elected to CHI Academy

Allen School professor Jennifer Mankoff

Three University of Washington faculty who are recognized leaders in human-computer interaction (HCI) research — Allen School professor Jennifer Mankoff and Information School professors (and Allen School adjunct professors) Batya Friedman and Jacob Wobbrock — have been honored by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI) with election to the CHI Academy. The CHI Academy is composed of individuals who have made substantial, cumulative contributions to the field of HCI through the development of new research directions and innovations and have influenced the work of their peers. Mankoff, Friedman and Wobbrock are three of only eight new CHI Academy members elected this year!

Jennifer Mankoff, who holds the Richard E. Ladner Endowed Professorship at the Allen School, is a leading researcher in human-computer interaction who has devoted her career to promoting a digital future defined by inclusion and accessibility for all. As director of the Make4All Group and a member of the interdisciplinary DUB (Design, Use, Build) group, one of the ways in which she has sought to advance that goal is by revolutionizing and democratizing the production of assistive technologies using 3D printing and other advanced fabrication techniques.

In one of her recent projects, Mankoff worked with Allen School colleague Shyam Gollakota and members of the Networks & Mobile Systems Lab to develop the first 3D-printed objects capable of tracking and storing data about their use, with potential applications ranging from smart prescription pill bottles to customized prosthetic devices. She also led the development of a paradigm-shifting technology for screen readers — Spatial Region Interaction Techniques, or SPRITEs — in collaboration with colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University, where she was a faculty member before joining the Allen School. SPRITEs leverages a standard keyboard to make interactive web content more accessible for people who are blind or low-vision. In addition to her focus on accessibility, Mankoff has been a pioneer in applying computation to address societal challenges around sustainability, such as leveraging Internet-scale technologies to reduce energy consumption.

Mankoff’s work previously has been recognized with an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, an IBM Faculty Fellowship, a GVU Impact Award from her alma mater, Georgia Tech, and Best Paper awards at the ASSETS, CHI, and Mobile HCI conferences.

“It’s an honor to be included in the CHI Academy, and one I hope to live up to in my future research as much as in my past research,” Mankoff said. “I am passionate about creating accessible, inclusive systems and the engineering to make them feasible and deployable, and grateful for all the students and collaborators who have helped me to create them and to be recognized for this work.”

iSchool professor Batya Friedman

Joining Mankoff in the 2019 class of CHI Academy inductees are fellow DUB members Batya Friedman and Jacob Wobbrock, professors in the iSchool and adjunct professors in the Allen School.

Friedman is a pioneer of value sensitive design, an approach to developing technology that accounts for human values. Her work has influenced multiple fields beyond HCI, including computer security, architecture, civil engineering, law, transportation, and many others.

Wobbrock’s research aims to develop a scientific understanding of how people interact with technology and information. His work seeks to improve the quality of those interactions, particularly for people with disabilities, using human performance measurement and modeling, input and interaction techniques, accessible computing, and more.

“Jen, Batya, and Jake have helped build UW’s reputation as a center of excellence in HCI research and innovation,” said Hank Levy, director of the Allen School. “All three have made lasting contributions not just in HCI and computing, but also in many other fields in their quest to use technology to solve some of society’s greatest challenges. Their induction into the CHI Academy is a testament to their technical leadership and enduring impact by putting people first.”

iSchool professor Jacob Wobbrock

Current CHI Academy member and iSchool dean Anind Dey concurred. “Combining this with three members of the 2019 CHI Academy class being from the UW really solidifies the UW as a global leader in HCI,” he said in a related announcement. “The level of impact all three have had for such a sustained period of time is admirable, and makes them very deserving of recognition by the CHI Academy.”

The new inductees will be formally recognized at the CHI 2019 conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in May. Learn more about the 2019 SIGCHI Awards here, and read the related iSchool article here.

Congratulations to Jen, Batya, and Jake!

February 13, 2019