The pandemic has changed the way people access and expect to access information, build community, and experience conferences. What does this mean for ASSETS? Together with the ASSETS'22 Organizing Committee, the ASSETS Steering Committee, and the SIGACCESS Executive Committee, we have attempted to design a conference experience that reflects and strengthens our leadership as the premier academic conference in accessibility and computing while balancing community needs, technical and pragmatic constraints, and an agile approach necessary in the ever-changing dynamics of COVID. If you have a questions or concern, please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org
A New Format for ASSETS'22
For the first time in our conference history, ASSETS will offer both an in-person conference experience and a lightweight virtual complement. Unlike ASSETS 2020 and 2021, which were all-virtual and used Zoom for live presentations and Discord for discussions, the remote aspect of ASSETS 2022 will be fully asynchronous over Discord. We will not be live streaming content. Instead, all attendees will be able to view pre-recorded captioned videos and interact with authors and other attendees via our conference Discord server. In addition, we will have some "crossover" events to bridge the "virtual" and "on-site" worlds.
Our conference plan is informed by:
- Our experiences running ASSETS virtually in 2020 and 2021;
- The needs and expectations of our community;
- The technical capabilities and resources necessary to provide reliable and consistent content (e.g., Internet bandwidth and connectivity in the hotel);
- Time zone differences between Athens and expected attendee time zones (e.g., where our conference historically draws attendees from);
- Our observations of other "hybrid" conferences this past year;
- Continued monitoring of COVID rates and projections;
- Countless discussions amongst the ASSETS'22 Organizing Committee, the ASSETS Steering Committee, and the SIGACCESS Executive Committee.
Further, early in conference planning (~Sept 2021), we collectively brainstormed and iterated upon the following organizing principles:
- Accessible. We are the flagship ACM conference on accessibility. Accessibility should be the cornerstone of all of our design decisions.
- Safety and wellbeing. The safety and wellbeing of our community is paramount. Let us continuously assess and reassess plans based on the dynamics of COVID.
- Value. We should provide value to our participants—both virtual attendees and on-site attendees—in terms of intellectual value, networking value, social value, etc.
- Simple over complex. Running a conference—either physical or virtual—is complex. Running a hybrid conference is even more so. Let us then brainstorm ambitiously but be pragmatic in our final pursuits. ASSETS'22 is just the beginning. We prefer simple and successful rather than complicated and failure.
- Equitable representation. We want the work of authors who attend virtually or on-site to be equitably represented.
- Nimble and flexible. Relatedly, let us maintain an agility and nimbleness that befits a small conference and that we so demonstrated during the virtual conference years.
- Experimental. While potentially contradictory with the two bullets above, we should also be a bit experimental in our choices—not everything that we plan or try this year will succeed (no matter how much effort we expend). So let us realize that we are setting a much larger and longer course for ASSETS beyond just 2022.
Presenting at ASSETS'22
If you have accepted work to present at ASSETS'22, congratulations! We want you and your work to receive the attention it deserves. At least one author of accepted technical papers, posters and demonstrations, or other artifact-based tracks is expected to travel to Athens to present their work. If traveling to ASSETS is inaccessible to you or presents an insurmountable COVID health/safety risk for you, please email email@example.com, and we can find ways to accommodate you. ASSETS'22 is planned primarily as an in-person event with an asynchronous option for individuals to view pre-recorded videos and engage in discussion on Discord. We will not be live streaming content. For those presenters who cannot travel to Athens, we will play a pre-recorded, captioned video to the in-person audience. See below for more details.
Attending ASSETS in-person in Athens
ASSETS'22 will be hosted at the beautiful Hotel Titania in Athens, Greece with social events planned on Monday, Oct 24th at the hotel and an off-site event on Tuesday, Oct 25th. In-person attendees can also interact with virtual attendees via our Discord server.
While COVID has been hard on all of us—both personally and professionally—the shift to a virtual format for ASSETS'20 and '21 led to significant increases in attendance with 395 and 424 registrants, respectively, compared to 211 for ASSETS'19 in Pittsburgh and 164 for ASSETS'18 in Galway, Ireland. This shows an incredible, untapped interest in the ASSETS community and our work! But what was the quality of this virtual experience like? What was better and what was worse compared with a traditional conference experience? How can we learn from other conferences that have attempted hybrid or virtual formats?
In the past year, we have repeatedly investigated and discussed these questions, and have settled a plan that we feel provides value to the community and can be reliably executed. Our virtual conference experience does not rely on live streaming and time zone synchronization. Instead, virtual attendees will engage via Discord—similar to how Discord was used for ASSETS'20 and '21—and have access to pre-recorded, captioned videos.
With the above principles as a guide, we have planned the following conference experience. As with ASSETS'21, each paper artifact will be given its own Discord channel to foster and collate discussion. We will not be livestreaming or using Zoom (or other video conferencing) for any conference content.
Please note that the following plan is still a draft and is subject to change.
All full paper authors will create a max 6-min pre-recorded presentation with a caption file, which will be posted before the conference begins.
|In-person authors will present for 10 mins + 5 min Q/A||Remote authors will have the opportunity to play their 6-min pre-recorded video or to prepare a special 10 min pre-record. We will not support live virtual presentations or live Q/A for remote authors.|
In-person attendees can ask questions live (as is typical) or pre-submit questions via Discord.
In-person presenters will respond (as usual) to questions from the live audience or pre-submitted questions from Discord asked by a moderator. The audience questions and responses will also be recorded in Discord.
Remote presenters will not give live virtual presentations and there will be no live Q/A for virtual content. Instead, remote presenters will respond asynchronously to questions asked in Discord.
Any attendee—remote or in-person—can pre-submit questions for any content via Discord. Authors will also be encouraged to answer all remaining pre-submitted questions on Discord.
All poster/demo authors will create a 90-sec pre-recorded presentation with a caption file, which will be posted before the conference begins.
|In-person poster sessions will happen as usual. After the poster session, we will ask authors to log into Discord and answer questions.||There will be no specific virtual poster/demo presentations. Remote poster/demo presenters should respond to questions in their poster/demo's Discord channel.|
|In-Person Social Events||We will have a social reception at Hotel Titania on Mon, Oct 24 and an offsite social event at the Acropolis Museum and Cafe on Tues, Oct 25th.||N/A|
|To foster discussion and networking between our on-site and virtual attendees, we will have two 30-min Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) sessions via Discord each day—one early in the day, the other late to support diverse time zones.|
|We are currently planning two live, in-person keynotes. Virtual attendees will be able to view a video with ASL interpretation within ~24 hours after the keynote is completed.|
Hybrid Social/Fun Events
|We are planning on one or two hybrid social events. More details to come.|
|In addition to the hybrid social/fun events, we will have professional networking events oriented towards helping our more junior scholars. More details to come.|