Understanding Accessibility and Collaboration in Programming for People with Visual Impairments

There has been a growing interest in CSCW and HCI to understand the experiences of programmers in the workplace. However, the large majority of these studies have focused on sighted programmers and as a result, the experiences of programmers with visual impairments in professional contexts remain understudied. We address this gap by reporting on findings from semi-structured interviews with 22 programmers with visual impairments. We found that programmers with visual impairments interact with a complex ecosystem of tools and a significant part of their job entails performing work to overcome the accessibility challenges inherent in this ecosystem. Furthermore, we found that the visual nature of various programming activities impedes collaboration, which necessitates the co-creation of new work practices through a series of sociotechnical interactions. These sociotechnical interactions often required invisible work and articulation work on the part of the programmers with visual impairments.

CSCW 2021

(conditionally accepted)