Digital Accessibility: Readability and Understandability

With the growth of online services and physical kiosks, people are required to have more and more online accounts which require security and authentication.  This very often requires the use of passwords and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), but may also require or involve CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) also known as HIPs (Human Interaction Proof), biometric authentication (including Face identification), two factor authentication, use of secondary physical devices and so on.  These can pose many accessibility problems.  There has been a considerable body of research on making CAPTCHAs and HIPs accessible, particularly to people with visual disabilities, but there are many open questions and technologies are constantly evolving which raises new accessibility issues.  For example, since the coronavirus pandemic, there has been extensive use of QR codes for the authentication of vaccination and Covid-negative status which raise new accessibility issues.

Another important topic in online security is the range of online security threats, and whether these differentially affect disabled and older people. These include viruses, fake official websites, ransomware, online scams of all kinds.  Older people may be particularly targeted and vulnerable to some of these threats, but are people with other disabilities also more vulnerable due to the way they interact with technologies?

This STS welcomes presentations on all aspects of authentication and online security with relevance to disabled and older people.  Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Exploration of the problems and needs of particular groups of disabled and older people in relation to authentication and online security
  • Accessibility of particular authentication tools for particular groups of disabled or older people
  • Solutions to accessibility issues, for example CAPTCHAs, HIPs, biometrics including face identification
  • Support for disabled and older people in understanding the issues around authentication and online security


This STS is organized by Working Group 13.3 (Human Computer Interaction, Disability and Aging) of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).




  • Helen Petrie, Professor Emerita, Human Computer Interaction Research Group, Department of Computer Science, University of York

  • Burak Merdenyan, University of York, Department of Computer Science

  • Klaus Höckner, Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreichs

  • Werner Rosenberger, Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreichs

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