CFP        Schedule        Dates       Workshop Materials        DIS 2012 Workshops

Designing for Cognitive Limitations

June 12, 2012, Newcastle UK (part of DIS 2012)


D. Scott McCrickard, Virginia Tech
Clayton Lewis, Coleman Institute and University of Colorado Boulder

Call for participation

People with cognitive disabilities that affect their memory, attention, and comprehension can become overwhelmed when using technology—just as cognitively-demanding situations like driving, walking, or multitasking can hinder technology use for a great many people. However, appropriately-designed technology can assist in overcoming cognitive disabilities and cognitive limitations. This workshop seeks to bring together researchers and practitioners with design experience in the many areas of cognitive disability and cognitive limitation to exchange, evolve, and develop strategies for design. Workshop participants will present key lessons from their own experiences, and workshop activities will employ claims-based design strategies toward identifying, comparing, contrasting, and mapping approaches for addressing cognitive disabilities and limitations.

This workshop provides an opportunity for researchers and practitioners in many design areas (cognitive disabilities, distraction and interruption, mobile and ubiquitous computing, in-vehicle computing, and others) to exchange ideas and approaches in the design of interactive systems—to the planned benefit of all of the contributers and their communities.  To aid in the exchange of ideas, we will employ a claims-based approach to the workshop activities. In crafting your position paper, consider a small number of key interface design features, lessons, or decisions with their projected upsides and downsides. Seek to identify things that are particularly important to your population or their situation; for example, a one-hand keyboard that could be used while walking, a haptic communication technique that provides eyes-free information when users are in a meeting, or a multimedia data layout approach helpful for people with a moderate cognitive disability. Describe your contribution with success stories, lessons learned, field studies, experiments, or personal reflection--whatever fits your current point of conceptualization.

Leveraging the features, lessons, and design decisions that workshop participants identify, we will conduct claims-based analysis and discussions relating to the key design claims in their areas.  (It is expected that the workshop participants will work with the conference organizers prior to the conference to clarify their lessons learned in a designer digestible manner.)  The focus on claims will allow experts to think in a creative and integrative manner, with two key results. First will be a number of group-led designs on topics of mutual interest.  Second will be a map of interconnected concepts that reflect cross-pollination of interfaces for users with cognitive limitations.

Participants do not need prior experience with or understanding of the claims approach. For a more complete description of this workshop, please refer to our extended abstract.


The workshop will be held on June 12, 2012, and will last all day. Participants will have a brief opportunity to talk about their research focus and their key lessons learned, but most of the time will be dedicated to groupwork to try the design activities that leverage the lessons learned.  Time near the end of the workshop will be used to create a map of  interconnected concepts and to discuss follow-up workshops and events that build on the lessons from the workshop.

Important dates and submission instructions

Submission deadline: April 23, 2012
Notification: no later than one week after submission (before early registration closes)
Workshop: June 12, 2012

Participants are asked to submit a 2-4 page position paper (focusing on one or more of the key areas) in the SIGCHI extended abstract format. Also include a short 150-word bio and a link(s) to your online presence of your choice.  Please email the information to by the deadline. Feel free to contact us with any questions too.