Kathrin Gerling Visits VISUS

June 20, 2024 / cw

KIT professor discusses the role of empowerment in HCI research

On June 18, 2024 researchers at VISUS had the great pleasure of welcoming Kathrin Gerling. She is Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Accessibility at the Institute for Anthropomatics und Robotics (IAR) within the Department of Informatics at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). As head of the research group Human-Computer Interaction and Accessibility, she focuses on the question how interactive technology can be designed in a way that supports human self-determination, and how we can achieve experiential accessibility – accessibility that strives for equitable experiences, and seeks to provide engaging user experiences for all of us.

Kathrin Gerling während ihres Vortrags am VISUS.
During her visit, Kathrin Gerling gave a talk on empowerment in interactive technology.

During her visit in Stuttgart, Kathrin Gerling gave a talk titled  “Access for All? Reflections on Empowerment as a Key Aspiration of Interactive Technology”. In the talk, she discussed the role of empowerment from the perspective of her research on Virtual Reality, games, and accessibility. With empowerment being one of the key values designers of interactive technology aspire to, the talk addressed the questions of who decides what empowerment looks like, how the risk of disempowerment can be reduced, and how a more rigorous research practice can contribute to the design of systems and experiences that have potential to engage and empower while being appreciative of their users' agency.

After the talk, VISUS researchers had the chance to exchange ideas with Kathrin Gerling and members of her research group, and to bring in their own questions and ideas regarding their current projects and future collaborations. This interaction provided a valuable opportunity for both teams to discuss challenges and solutions in the field of accessibility and human-computer interaction, and to explore potential avenues for joint research efforts aimed at advancing inclusive technology 

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