COVID-19 pandemic and government restriction have rapidly transformed people’s daily social activities into the new form of online society. For many people with disabilities, options like promoting remote working, online education, and online shopping have been needed for years. So what are the gaps in digital accessibility for those people with disabilities to access the Social Web resources? Moreover, in an online world blighted by barriers for those with physical, sensory and cognitive difficulties, what could be done with the power of AI technologies?

The rapid transformation of social activities from offline to online that has occurred since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many disabled people have encountered both opportunities and challenges in their daily social life. This workshop aims to invite academic and industry experts in the area of digital accessibility and AI to offer research and their individual views as to a range of digital accessibility issues they perceive as causing barriers to access, alongside possible solutions and strategies powered by AI technologies to provide an inclusive social web. The goal of this workshop includes:

  • Understand how the pandemic has changed the social life for people with disabilities on the Web
  • Discuss the accessibility gaps and barriers
  • How AI could enable the field of Social Web to be more accessible and inclusive.

Call for Papers (CfPs)

In this workshop, we especially welcome contributions that:

  • Have a broader perspective on the Web Science and AI that could better improve inclusive social life for people with disabilities (i.e., online and offline)
  • Present successful cases of interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary AI and Inclusion research
  • Examine automation and AI in all its manifestations relevant to the Web and AI Inclusion
  • Consider the impact of COVID on technology adoption, risk perception and risk taking, change management, digital health, remote working and remote learning for people with disabilities.

Please upload your submissions via Easychair

Workshop registration via WebSci’21 website

Important Dates

  • May 7, 2021 - Workshop paper submission deadline (extend)
  • May 12, 2021 - Notification (extend)
  • May 17, 2021 - Camera-ready versions due
  • June 22, 2021 - Workshops

*All submission deadlines are midnight in the Anywhere on Earth (AoE) time zone.

Format of the Submissions

The AI and Inclusion workshop, co-event with the 13th International ACM Conference on Web Science in 2021 (WebSci’21) will run as an online conference, where authors will present their work remotely to online participants. There is two type of submission for all contributors:

  • Full page: up to 10 pages
  • Short paper: up to 5 pages

The authors shall adopt the current ACM SIG Conference proceedings template (acmart.cls).

Please submit papers as Accessible PDF files using the ACM Submission template (single column). To create your PDF submission, you may use either Microsoft Word format or the ACM LaTeX template on Overleaf (ACM Conference Proceedings “Master” Template) using the “manuscript” option. A full description of the procedure can be found in this link. For the review process, manuscripts should be of approx. 9-13 pages length single column (inclusive of references, appendices, etc.).

Please note that accepted papers will later be re-formatted with the sigconf style (double column) at camera-ready time. When changing to this style manuscripts may also need to be adjusted to the corresponding final page limit of between 6 and 10 pages (inclusive of references, appendices, etc.).

All contributions will be judged by the Program Committee upon rigorous peer review standards for quality and fit to the conference, by at least three referees. We will adopt a single-blind review process. Do not anonymise your submissions. Submissions without authorship information will be desk-rejected without review.

For authors who wish to opt-out of publication proceedings, this option will be made available upon acceptance. This will encourage the participation of researchers from the social sciences that prefer to publish their work as journal articles. All authors of accepted papers (including those who opt out of proceedings) are expected to present their work (virtually) at the conference. In 2020, the Web Science conference registration costs were kept low, and the intention is to continue this for Web Science 2021.


This half day workshop will start at 14:00 BST on 22 June, 2021. The schedule includes:


Keynote Speaker

Our keynote speaker Dr John Rochford will present his research ‘using AI and Crowdsourcing to Simplify COVID-19 Info Worldwide’. John Rochford is passion to help make the web usable by people with disabilities. He focuses on people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism. His research is to develop artificial intelligence (AI) powered web text simplification on a mass scale. Easy-to-understand text is great for people with cognitive disabilities, non-native language speakers, people with low literacy, seniors, and really everyone.


The panel session will include invited experts in the field of digital accessibility and AI technologies. Each member of digital accessibility experts will pose accessibility gaps or barriers faced by those people with disabilities during or after pandemic and each member of AI experts will discuss the possible solutions or strategies that can overcome these gaps with leveraging the power of AI technologies.

Organization Committee

  • Mike Wald, School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton
  • Chaohai Ding, School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton
  • E.A. Draffan, School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton
  • Silvia Mirri, Department of Computer Science and Engineering DISI, University of Bologna


The organising committee would like to acknowledge the funding received from Innovate UK in supporting their NFeedback project aimed at improving online learning outcomes.