Gregg Vanderheiden

Gregg Vanderheiden

Gregg Vanderheiden

2117A HBK
301- 405- 2033


The design of mainstream information and communication technologies to be more accessible and usable by people facing barriers due to disability, literacy, digital literacy or aging with a particular focus on development of a global public inclusive infrastructure to allow auto-personalization of all ICT information and interfaces in a manner affordable to all.


  • Ph.D., Technology in Communication Rehabilitation and Child Development, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • MS, Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • BS, Electrical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Dr.Vanderheiden has been active in the area of Technology and Disability for over 45 years.  His early work was in Augmentative Communication, a term taken from his writings in the late 70’s.  Starting in 1979, his focus shifted to personal computers and he worked inside Apple, Microsoft and IBM on increasing the accessibility and usability of their products. Apple included features in Apple IIe, gs, and MacOS and iOS.  IBM and Microsoft licensed 9 features from Dr. Vanderheiden’s group for inclusion in DOS, OS/2, and Windows.  Dr. Vanderheiden co-chaired and co-authored the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 1.0 and 2.0), worked with the Access Board on 255 and 508,  and lead the effort to develop the EZ-Access package of cross-disability access features that are now built into Amtrak ticket machines, Automated Postal Stations, Homeland Security Passport Kiosks, and many other ITMs across the country.   His current focus is on the development of a Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII). 


  • Principal Investigator, RERC on Universal Interface & Information Technology Access (seven consecutive 5-year grants since 1983 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Dept. of Education; current grant is $4,750,000, 2013-2018)
  • Principal Investigator on a 20 million dollar 5 year grant to build and test the "auto-personalization from preferences” (APfP) capability of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII).  This is a joint project with Raising the Floor, IBM, Microsoft, OCAD, Syracuse, Misericordia, and others.
  • Prosperity4All (2014-2018) a 12.5 million Euro, 4 year project involving 29 different companies, universities and organizations in Europe, the Canada, the US, Korea, and Qatar focused on developing the infrastructure for facilitating the evolution of the ecosystem to all more vendors, of different sizes (including single developer and consumers and professionals) to be able to explore, develop, test, and market solutions (AT and mainstream product features) for a wider range of users.


  • 2017 RESNA Colin McLaurin Distinguished Lectureship Award.
  • TDI Karen Peltz-Strauss Public Policy Award (2017)


  • Design and Human Disability and Aging
Research Projects: 

Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure - Automated Personalization Computing Project

Principal Investigator: Gregg Vanderheiden
Investigator: Kate Vanderheiden

A Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) was made to change any devices’ interfaces for people who cannot use technologies due to barriers caused by their level of disability, literacy, and/or digital literacy.

RERC on Universal Interface and Information Technology Access

Principal Investigator: Gregg Vanderheiden

The Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) will be tested in libraries with a focus on serving users with disabilities. Also, a tool will be developed to help people find and use assistive technologies and access features in everyday technologies.