Human Computer Interaction
ERCIM News No.46, July 2001 [contents]

The ERCIM Working Group ‘User Interfaces for All’

by Constantine Stephanidis


Since its establishment in 1995, the ERCIM Working Group ‘User Interfaces for All’ (UI4ALL) has organised annual workshops, that have brought together researchers and teams working in the different ERCIM organisations (but also organisations beyond ERCIM or the European boundaries), who share common interests and aspirations, and contribute to the endeavours towards making the emerging Information Society equally accessible to all. The prolific and dedicated work of this growing community has led to the establishment of the new International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (UAHCI). The first such event, UAHCI 2001 (http://uahci.ics. forth.gr/), will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 5-10 August 2001, in cooperation with HCI International 2001, with 228 papers accepted for presentation covering a wide variety of topics in this area. The seventh ERCIM UI4ALL Workshop will be organised in October 2002, and henceforth workshops will take place every second year, alternating with the UAHCI Conference.

Furthermore, the work of the ERCIM Working Group UI4ALL has contributed to the establishment of the International Scientific Forum ‘Towards an Information Society for All’ ISF-IS4ALL (1997-2000), an international ad hoc group of experts which first recognised the need for a global approach towards an Information Society for All (http://ui4all.ics.forth.gr/isf_is4all). Two White Papers have been published and submitted to the European Commission, reporting on an evolving international R&D agenda in the field of HCI. Since then, the vision of an Information Society for All and the necessity for universal access to Information Society Technologies have acquired widespread acceptance and importance not only at a scientific and technological, but also at a European policy level, as demonstrated by the eEurope - eAccessibility initiative of the European Commission (http://europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/index_en.htm).

The activities initiated by the International Scientific Forum are now being continued in the framework of the Thematic Network (Working Group) ‘Information Society for All’ IS4ALL (http://is4all.ics.forth.gr). For more details see article in this issue.

The work of the ERCIM UI4ALL Working Group, recipient of the ERCIM WG Award for the year 2000, has also contributed to the establishment of an international, interdisciplinary refereed journal ‘Universal Access in the Information Society’ (UAIS), published by Springer (http://link.springer.de/journals/uais/) that solicits original research contributions addressing the accessibility, usability, and, ultimately, acceptability of Information Society Technologies by anyone, anywhere, at anytime, and through any media and device. ‘User Interfaces for All’ is also the title of an edited book dedicated to the issues of Universal Design and Universal Access in HCI, published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (ISBN 0-8058-2967-9, 760 pages).

Please contact:
Constantine Stephanidis ICS-FORTH
Tel: +30 81 391741
E-mail: cs@ics.forth.gr