SIGCHI is the world's largest organization of researchers, educators, and practitioners in the area of human-computer interaction.
Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics computer science professor Jonathan Lazar picked up another accolade for his research, work and advocacy in making the internet accessible to all.
On May 8, he received the SIGCHI Social Impact Award at the Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) 2016 conference in San Jose, California. SIGCHI is the world's largest organization of researchers, educators, and practitioners in the area of human-computer interaction.
The award is given to individuals who promote the application of human-computer interaction research to pressing social needs. Lazar has received national recognition for his work to "unlock the web" and for advocating on behalf of people with disabilities in computing fields.
Lazar collaborated with colleagues, graduate and undergraduate students to develop an easy-to-use audio CAPTCHA for blind users. (CAPTCHAs are tests consisting of distorted visual text or a distorted audio clip. They thwart viruses and bots by differentiating humans from computers.) The team was granted a U.S. patent for the Sounds Right™ CAPTCHA.
In addition, Lazar championed the passage of a Maryland law to increase the amount of teaching information technology accessibility concepts at the state’s public universities. He was heavily involved with the effort, testifying on behalf of the bill and present when then-Gov. Martin O’Malley signed it into law.
On Tuesday, May 10, he gave a plenary speech about his work.