Accessible Crowdwork? Understanding the Value in and Challenge of Microtask Employment for People with Disabilities

  • Kathryn Zyskowski ,
  • Meredith Ringel Morris ,
  • Jeffrey P. Bigham ,
  • ,
  • Shaun Kane

CSCW 2015 |

Published by ACM - Association for Computing Machinery

We present the first formal study of crowdworkers who have disabilities via in-depth open-ended interviews of 17 people (disabled crowdworkers and job coaches for people with disabilities) and a survey of 631 adults with disabilities. Our findings establish that people with a variety of disabilities currently participate in the crowd labor marketplace, despite challenges such as crowdsourcing workflow designs that inadvertently prohibit participation by, and may negatively affect the worker reputations of, people with disabilities. Despite such challenges, we find that crowdwork potentially offers different opportunities for people with disabilities relative to the normative office environment, such as job flexibility and lack of a need to rely on public transit. We close by identifying several ways in which crowd labor platform operators and/or individual task requestors could improve the accessibility of this increasingly important form of employment.