Published in Proceedings of the 24th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS '22), 2022
COVID-19 accelerated the trend toward remote software development, increasing the need for tightly-coupled synchronous collaboration. Existing tools and practices impose high coordination overhead on blind or visually impaired (BVI) developers, impeding their abilities to collaborate effectively, compromising their agency, and limiting their contribution. To make remote collaboration more accessible, we created CodeWalk, a set of features added to Microsoft’s Live Share VS Code extension, for synchronous code review and refactoring. We chose design criteria to ease the coordination burden felt by BVI developers by conveying sighted colleagues’ navigation and edit actions via sound effects and speech. We evaluated our design in a within-subjects experiment with 10 BVI developers. Our results show that CodeWalk streamlines the dialogue required to refer to shared workspace locations, enabling participants to spend more time contributing to coding tasks. This design offers a path towards enabling BVI and sighted developers to collaborate on more equal terms.
Recommended citation: Venkatesh Potluri, Maulishree Pandey, Andrew Begel, Michael Barnett, and Scott Reitherman. 2022. CodeWalk: Facilitating Shared Awareness in Mixed-Ability Collaborative Software Development. In Proceedings of the 24th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS '22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 20, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1145/3517428.3544812 https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3517428.3544812