Dr. Iris Xie and Dr. Wonchan Choi Awarded IMLS National Leadership Applied Research Grant

Professor Iris Xie (PI) and Assistant Professor Wonchan Choi (co-PI) at UW-Milwaukee, School of Information Studies have been awarded a $695,631.00 Applied Research grant from IMLS National Leadership Grants for Libraries. The project “Universal Accessibility and Usability of Digital Libraries in the Mobile Environment: Developing design guidelines to support blind and visually impaired users” was one of 39 projects selected out of 139 applications. The three-year grant goes from August 1st, 2022, to July 31st, 2025. This project extends the PI’s prior IMLS-funded project that focused on creating accessibility and usability digital library (DL) guidelines in the desktop environment to the mobile environment. 

This project will generate a new framework including 1) the theoretical approach that takes into account both social and gap disability theories and interactive information retrieval (IR) models which consider all users rather than just sighted users; 2) the types of help-seeking situations encompassing both design and content/format related difficulties that blind and visually impaired (BVI) users encounter in their interactions with DLs using various mobile devices; 3) mobile DL accessibility and usability guidelines (mDLAUG) addressing each type of help-seeking situation; 4) a report on how DLs currently comply with mDLAUG; and 5) methodology that can be applied to develop similar guidelines for DLs and other types of IR systems to address additional groups of underserved users’ mobile accessibility and usability issues.  

The project team, led by Dr. Iris Xie, represents different DL stakeholders who develop, research and use DLs. The following organizations and/or their representatives serve as partners and/or advisory board members: organizations developing DLs (DL Federation, Digital Public Library of America, HathiTrust, OCLC, OER Commons, ProQuest, Milwaukee Public Libraries, Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, UWM Libraries, and Recollection Wisconsin), organizations serving the BVI community (American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, National Federation of the Blind, Envision, and Vision Forward), Trace R&D Center, and ASIST standards committee.  

The project will help policymakers, researchers, and practitioners understand DL design problems in diverse mobile contexts and enable developers to enhance DLs for universal access. Please see the official IMLS Announcement: https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/lg-252289-ols-22 

For more information about this project, contact Professor Iris Xie at hiris@uwm.edu