Publishing our research at CHI 2023

We are excited to share that, our research with the stuttering community on their videoconferencing experience has been accepted by the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’23)!

Our paper, titled “The World is Designed for Fluent People’: Benefits and Challenges of Videoconferencing Technologies for People Who Stutter“, details the methodology and findings from our interview research with 13 participants who stutter from the US and the UK. We look forward to present our work at Hamburg, Germany in the end of April, and hope this work can draw broader public awareness and collective efforts on designing and building more inclusive videoconference environments for all.


At a very high-level, our participants reported the following benefits and challenges with videoconferencing and videoconferencing technologies:

  • Benefits
    • Reducing mental barriers to “show up”
    • Masking stutter
    • Connecting with the stuttering community
    • Increasing public empathy for communication challenges
  • Challenges
    • Stress and distractions with “self-view”
    • Difficulty getting and holding one’s turn using voice
    • Limited non-verbal channels to solicit emotional support from others

As revealed by our research, while people who stutter can still participate, the extra time, labor, and mental efforts required for VC meeting make this experience doubly exhausting and emotionally charging. As we enter a new era in which videoconferencing becomes the dominant and normalized mode for personal and professional communications, the design of videoconferencing technology charged additional emotional and cognitive costs that systematically marginalized people who stutter in social events, employment, civic process, and health care.

Next Steps

Informed by the insights we learned so far, we will be conducting a series of co-design workshops with the stuttering community in Spring 2023 to co-explore the design space for inclusive videoconferencing. A few directions pointed out by our interview participants are:

  • Provide users with more control over their speech and speech related behaviors (such as facial expression, body movements);
  • Support self-disclosure (for both stuttering and other marginalized, vulnerable identities in general) during VC meetings;
  • Offer the speaker real-time therapeutic and emotional support.

Support Us

If you find our work meaningful, please support us in any of these ways:

  • Stuttering friends: we want to learn and work with you! Please sign up here if you will be willing to participate in our co-design workshops, or simply share your feedback and insights on this topic with us.
  • Non-stuttering friends: please consider donating your time and talent to AImpower, we are looking for part-time designers, UX researchers, and software engineers (sign up here).
  • Academic & industry friends: we are open to collaborate! If you are interested at building inclusive telecommunication technologies, please reach out to Shaomei (
  • Media friends: we are ready to talk/write about this work, and AImpower’s work in general, contact us if you are interested to do an interview, podcast, article, or simply chat with us.

Last but not least, we are always looking for donations and fundings, and will be very grateful for any financial support for our work.

Read more

You can find more details about this work on our previous blog post, or read the preprint version of the full paper. Feel free to disseminate this work with the reference:

Shaomei Wu, “The World is Designed for Fluent People”: Benefits and Challenges of Videoconferencing Technologies for People Who Stutter. In Proceedings of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2023).

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