Wed, Sep 20, 2023 @ 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science
PhD Dissertation Defense - Ali S. Alotaibi
Committee Members: William GJ Halfond (chair), Nenad Medvidovic, Mukund Raghothaman, Gisele Ragusa, and Chao Wang
Title: Automated Repair of Layout Accessibility Issues in Mobile Applications
Abstract: An increasing number of people are now dependent on mobile devices to access data and complete essential tasks. For people with disabilities, mobile apps that violate accessibility guidelines can prevent them from carrying out these activities. Layout accessibility issues are among the top accessibility issues in mobile applications. These issues impact the accessibility of mobile apps and make them difficult to use, especially for older people and people with disabilities. Unfortunately, existing techniques are limited in helping developers debug these issues. These techniques are only capable of detecting the issues but cannot help to repair them. Therefore, the repair of layout accessibility issues remains a manual process, which is both labor intensive and error prone.
Automated repair of layout accessibility issues is complicated by several challenges. First, a repair must account for multiple issues holistically in order to preserve the relative consistency of the original app design. Second, due to the complex relationship between UI components, there is no clear way of identifying the set of elements and properties that need to be modified for a given issue. Third, assuming the relevant views and properties can be identified, the number of possible changes that need to be considered grows exponentially as more elements and properties need to be considered. Finally,
a change in one element can create cascading changes that lead to further problems in other areas of the UI. Together, these challenges make a seemingly simple repair difficult to achieve. In this dissertation, I present an automated framework for repairing layout accessibility issues in mobile applications. To evaluate the effectiveness of this framework, I instantiated it to repair the different types of layout accessibility issues. I assessed the effectiveness of these instantiations by using them to repair issues detected in real world mobile apps. In addition, I conducted user studies to evaluate the impact of the repairs on the quality of the UIs of mobile apps. The results from these evaluations show that these techniques are effective in improving the accessibility of mobile apps without negatively impacting or distorting the UIs.
Location: Charles Lee Powell Hall (PHE) - 325
Audiences: Everyone Is Invited
Contact: Melissa Ochoa