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CHI 2021 Accessibility FAQ

CHI 2021 is committed to providing an inclusive environment and we will do our best to accommodate requests for special assistance. This page describes the accessibility features of CHI 2021, to help you make an informed decision about whether the conference will be accessible to you. Please contact us if your question is not answered here, or if the conference arrangements as described are not enough to allow you to attend. We will work with you to the best of our ability, to make the conference accessible.





How do I communicate accessibility needs to organizers?


The Accessibility Chairs for CHI 2021 are Chieko Asakawa, Kotaro Hara, and Shari Trewin, whose goal is to ensure the conference is accessible to everyone. When you register for the conference, there will be a registration question labeled, "Please tell us if there is anything we can do to ensure your participation is barrier-free. " Please write-in anything that will help make the conference accessible to you. The accessibility chairs will follow up to discuss your needs in more detail. You can contact them directly at any time by emailing


Please be aware that some accommodations may be difficult to provide at short notice, and we may not be able to accommodate every request.


During the conference, there will be an Accessibility Help Desk, a live Zoom session which you can join with a direct link. At least one member of Accessibility Chairs or Student Volunteers will be there to support you with accessibility needs or answer you with accessibility related questions. The help desk will be available from Monday, May 10th. You can email the Accessibility Chairs for the link to the help desk ( or look for it on the Accessibility page on the Delegate Connect site.


Are the conference technologies accessible?


CHI 2021 will be a virtual conference. The conference will be using the following technologies: Delegate Connect and Zoom.


Delegate Connect. We will be using Delegate Connect as our main virtual conferencing platform ( Delegate Connect is a web application. It will host program information and links to virtual sessions. Video presentations and live Q&A sessions for papers and other programs (e.g., journals) will be streamed using the platform unless otherwise mentioned. Pre-recorded video presentations will have author-provided captions. Sign language interpretation and CART services for sessions will be offered on a per request basis (please contact the accessibility chairs as early as possible so that we can find the service). We detail tips and accessibility issues with the platform below.


Delegate Connect was the most accessible technology among the ones that we tested in the process of deciding the virtual conferencing platform for CHI 2021. The platform’s user interface mostly conformed with WCAG 2.1 AA. The user interface handled magnification and reflow well, so we expect it to be easier to use for people who use zooming and screen magnification on a web browser and a mobile device. The user interface was mostly keyboard navigable; most of the elements on the browser user interface could be accessed using tab (and shift+tab). However, we found some accessibility problems. Delegate connect has been working to correct these. The sections below provide details on how best to use the platform. There are some quirks with keyboard-only interaction, especially on a mobile browser, the main menu is difficult to close. The platform is screen reader accessible on the desktop browser. If you find any issue, let us know so that we will do our best to find a workaround.


Zoom. Although Delegate Connect's live streaming capability will be used for most parts of the conference, more interactive sessions (e.g. workshops) will occur over Zoom. You will be able to find direct links to these Zoom sessions within Delegate Connect. When using Zoom, we encourage you to turn on video to help lip-reading (a virtual background can be used for privacy). Zoom supports a range of keyboard shortcuts, supports screen reader alerts, and automatic live captioning. If you request sign language interpretation, interpreters can join Zoom sessions that you will be in. Please see the following page for more information about Zoom’s accessibility support: If you request CART service, this will be provided in a separate stream (which can reduce delays).


SIGCHI's Progressive Web App (PWA). SIGCHI’s Progressive Web App will provide you alternative access the conference program and schedule. Each item in the program contains a button to a session page in Delegate Connect (aria-label="Live broadcast").


The conference will offer several ways for you to socialize with other attendees outside of sessions. There will be live video Zoom Chat Rooms with accessibility features; they can accommodate large groups and will be open for the entire conference. Also, Delegate Connect offers Roundtable Chat Rooms; live video rooms that allow up to 16 people to join at a time. Note, however, we have not been able to test the accessibility of the Roundtable Chat Rooms as they will be only available after the conference starts. So there could be some accessibility hiccups. And we know that the Roundtable Chat Zoom rooms will not provide serve live captioning. You could access Zoom Chat Rooms and Roundtable Chat Rooms on CHI Corridor (


Will sign language interpretation be available?


Yes, if you request sign language interpretation in your conference registration, Interpretation will be available for all conference presentations and events, including informal conversations. Please register your request before Friday, April 9th. The accessibility chairs will follow up with you and connect you to the interpreters. After that point, we will do our best to accommodate the needs.


If you have reserved sign language interpretation for CHI 2021, you and your interpreters will have a dedicated Zoom room to use for signing. You can attend any live streaming session (paper sessions, journals, keynote talks, panels, alt.chi, case studies), and your interpreters will join the same session and sign to you in the Zoom room.


When you want to join an interactive session (Late-breaking work, Interactivity, SIGs, Exhibits, SRC, CHI Corridors, alt.chi debate), you and the interpreters will leave your Zoom room and join the room for that session, where you will be able to pin the interpreter’s video.


If the interpreters are having difficulties in finding the session that you are joining, please share with them the direct link to the live streaming session or your Zoom room.


Please follow the schedule you provided to the accessibility chairs as these will be what the interpreters are using to follow you around the conference.


If you need support in coordinating with the interpreters which sessions you are joining, please let the Accessibility Chairs know by emailing


You may also bring your own interpreter to the event. Please reach out to the accessibility chairs to set this up.


Will captions be available?


All CHI livestream and Zoom sessions will have live transcription available, using the Amazon Web Service speech recognition engine. The exception is that the smaller CHI Corridor (roundtable chat) rooms do not have automated captions.


The video presentations will be accompanied by the author-provided captions (please be aware, however, the audio for the pre-recorded videos will be live captioned during the live sessions instead of streaming the author-provided captions). CART service will be provided if requested during registration. Please register your request before Friday, April 9th. The accessibility chairs will follow up with you and provide more details on connecting to the captioning service. After that point, we will do our best to accommodate the needs.


If you have reserved CART service, your CART transcriptionist will travel with you throughout the conference, and will provide a live transcript in a separate URL outside the platform. Please communicate directly with your CART transcriptionist during the conference. Feel free to post your live transcript URL to the chat in any session, for others to access.

Please follow the schedule you provided to the accessibility chairs as these will be what the captioners are using to follow you around the conference.


For synchronous sessions (e.g., presentation Q&A), automatically generated closed captions will be provided by default on both Zoom and the Delegate Connect's user interface. The captioning engine that the platform uses is Amazon Web Service’s speech recognition engine.


You may also bring your own captioner to the event. Please reach out to the accessibility chairs to set this up.


Using Delegate Connect with a Screen Reader


For screen reader users, we have prepared an introductory video tour of the CHI 2021 Virtual Platform.


We recommend preparing a list of sessions you are interested in, and sharing it with the accessibility help desk. They can provide direct links to the sessions you wish to attend. On desktop computers, the navigation menus are presented as a very long sequence of links, but you can skip to the main content of a page by jumping to the first heading or using the ‘skip to main content’ link. For more detailed guidance please refer to our screen reader user’s guide to CHI 2021.


If you would find it helpful to have someone post questions into the chat for you or read out the chat to you during livestream sessions, please ask at the accessibility help desk.


If you come across any video or pdf that is not accessible, the accessibility help desk can provide an accessible version of a pdf, or audio description for a video.


Accesing CHI with Browser Magnification


The conference site can be magnified up to 200% and beyond. At larger magnification, the site will switch into a mobile layout. If you are on a desktop, we recommend staying with the desktop layout. It affords much more real estate for the main content, and allows access to more functionality (including your profile).


Be aware that the navigation menus open automatically when you hover over them but do not close automatically when you move away. Sometimes even when you navigate to a new page, a menu remains open. When a menu is open, the main content of the page is grayed out. You can close the submenus by clicking in the gray area.


On Firefox, magnification works better when the ‘Zoom text only’ feature is turned off.


Accessing CHI using Keyboard Navigation


If you don’t use a pointing device, but do use the visual display, we recommend the desktop layout. Although the site does not always use standard keyboard navigation patterns, the functions are keyboard accessible.


  • Desktop layout
    • Skip navigation: The first tab stop on each page is a ‘Skip to main content’ link that bypasses the top and left navigation menus and allows efficient access to the main content of each page.
    • Navigating the menus: Many of the navigation menu items have sub-menus that open automatically when the item receives keyboard focus. When tabbing forwards, the tab chain includes all items in the sub-menu, but when tabbing backwards, only the top level menu items are included. The most efficient way to keyboard navigate the menus is to jump to the main content, tab backwards to the menu item you want, then tab forwards through the sub-items.
    • Closing sub-menus: The sub-menus cannot be closed using ‘Escape’, and some include a large number of options (especially the session type and program options.) To back out of one of these menus, you could reload the page, navigate backwards past the items with sub-menus, or jump the keyboard focus back to the start of the page, follow the ‘Skip to main content link’, then press ‘tab’ again to start navigating within the main content. This will close any open sub-menus.
    • Technical support: The pink bubble for requesting technical support is not keyboard accessible. Instead, use the ‘Contact Us’ menu item to get technical support, or contact the accessibility help desk.


  • Mobile layout
    • Hamburger menu: In the mobile layout, all menus are collapsed into a single hamburger menu. The menu opens automatically when it receives keyboard focus. Use the ‘tab’ key to navigate within the menu, and ‘enter’ to open and close the submenus. The ‘X’ to close the hamburger menu is not keyboard accessible. The menu will close when you navigate to a new page. To close the menu without making a selection, navigate back to the top of the page, follow the ‘Skip to main content’ link, then press tab. The hamburger menu will close as you start to navigate within the main content of the page.
    • Skip navigation: The ‘Skip to main content’ link bypasses the hamburger menu and allows efficient access to the main content of the page.
    • Technical support: The pink bubble for requesting technical support is not keyboard accessible. Instead, use the ‘Help Desk’ or ‘Contact Us’ menu item to get technical support, or contact the accessibility help desk.
    • Social media links: In the mobile layout, the links to social media (facebook, instagram, twitter, linkedin and email) are keyboard accessible, but are not visible on the page as they are covered by the shortcut links pinned to the bottom of the screen.


Will there be a chance to try the videoconferencing and other technologies in advance of the conference?


Yes, Delegate Connect is now open for those who have registered. You can access non-live items like video presentations if you would like early access and an introductory tour of any of the conference technologies, please reach out to the accessibility chairs on


Will talks be pre-recorded?

All presenters were requested to pre-record their talks and to provide a transcript for caption generation. If you are a presenter and require assistance with your recording (e.g. someone to voice the talk for you), please reach out to the accessibility chairs on


Is there a detailed agenda with direct links?


The conference agenda will be made available to registered participants over Delegate Connect. The agenda will contain direct links to each session or event. Once you sign in to Delegate Connect, you can find the program in the following page:


CHI 2021 program is large and you may find navigating the list of sessions hard. We believe this is especially so if you are using a screen reader or using only a keyboard to navigate the program. We can support accessing the sessions in two ways.


We can create a custom list of sessions with direct links. You could explore the program before the conference either using the program page on Delegate Connect ( or SIGCHI’s Progressive Web App ( Please let us know the name of the sessions that you would like to attend so that we can compile a list of sessions (e.g., in an excel file).


During the conference, at least one member of Accessibility Chairs or Student Volunteers will be at the Accessibility Helpdesk. This is a Zoom room that will be hosted during the conference from Monday. You can visit the Zoom room and tell us which session you would like to attend; we will send you a direct link(s) to you. Please contact the accessibility chairs on so that we can send you a direct link to the Zoom room.


Will talks be available in advance?


Yes, all prerecorded contents are available to registered participants on the Delegate Connect platform.


Can someone assist me with my online participation/presentation?


If you would benefit from assistance in giving your presentation or handling questions, please reach out to the accessibility chairs to make arrangements.


Will presenters be visible?


Presenters and other speakers will be requested to use video when speaking to help lip-reading and non-native speakers. We recognize that this may not be possible for every speaker. Captions will be available as a fall-back for all pre-recorded presentations. If you would rely on captions when presenters are not visible please indicate this in your conference registration or reach out directly to the accessibility chairs.


How will the conference sessions be run?


Participants will be encouraged to use video when speaking, to support lip-reading and non-native speakers. Audience members will have the ability to turn captions on and off.


Conference sessions will have a professional moderator. At the start of each session, if a human captioner is present, the moderator will post a direct link to the caption stream. For keynotes, the moderator will pin the sign language interpreter’s video to make it visible alongside the presentation and speaker. For other livestream presentations, interpreters will be using a separate rom and will not be visible in the main presentation.


Participants will ask questions using the chat features on the platform. For paper sessions, the questions will be spoken aloud to the presenters by the session moderators.


Will live sessions be recorded?


At this time, we anticipate that live presentation sessions will be recorded and will be made available later on a video streaming platform.


Who should I contact if I have an access problem during the event?


We will provide the primary accessibility support channel during the conference. You may also contact the accessibility chairs on in advance for private backchannel contact information.


I have another question


If you have other questions about accessibility of CHI 2021, please contact the accessibility chairs on


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