No Research Tool Available, Kinda No Problem: Bliss and Bootstrapping of Build-It-Yourself

For more than a decade, University of Hawaii’s Brett Oppegaard has been engaged in various research projects that necessitate building digital tools, platforms, and mobile apps as a part of the research process. Such an undertaking should not be approached lightly – especially if low-cost or free third-party tools already get the job done, and tenure is on the line – but in this session, Brett illustrates the potential of researchers moonlighting as digital-tool designers.

At the crux of this issue, some research questions simply cannot be answered by using available tools and conventional methods. So the researcher needs to decide if answering the question is worth the costs (including the time) of building the tool.

Although several examples will be shared, this session will focus on the evolution of The UniDescription Project (, which began with a box of paper U.S. National Park Service brochures and the research question of how those could be best shared with people who are blind or visually impaired.

June 7 @ 16:00

Brett Oppegaard