An understanding of disability studies and accessibility is crucial for designers and information professionals, as they play an important role in building systems that cater to a diverse range of individuals and communities. This course will introduce students to disability studies, accessibility, and inclusive design as relevant to design; the course does not require any previous knowledge or experience in the areas of disability or accessibility. The course (INF2165H – Accessibility and Inclusive Design) will focus on disability as a social, cultural, and historical phenomenon and accessibility in relation to the design of systems and environments. Students will get an overview of issues related to disabilities and technology use, disability-related policy, accessibility-related guidelines, and assistive technologies. They will also be exposed to prior research on disability, accessibility, and inclusive design, as well as current practices in the industry around their implementation in practical scenarios. The course will further focus on training students to engage in rigorous reflective research and inclusive design practices that will prepare them as designers and information professionals looking to work with a diverse range of people.
Note: Open to 2nd year students only
**Description and prerequisites effective September 1, 2023**
Previous Course Description until September 1, 2023: This course (INF2165H — Accessibility and Inclusive Design) will introduce students to concepts related to disability, accessibility and inclusive design as relevant to UI/UX design; it does not require any previous knowledge or experience in the areas of disability or accessibility. The course will primarily focus on accessibility of digital interfaces, especially those governed by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines published by the World Wide Web consortium. It will also emphasize the need for designing inclusively by working with people with disabilities during research, design, and evaluation; and highlight how inclusive design results in better outcomes for everyone.
In the course, students will be exposed to prior academic research and publications on accessibility and inclusive design as well as current practices in the industry around their implementation in practical scenarios. Regulatory and legal implications will also be introduced. In assignments, students will adopt a two-pronged approach:
1. Rethinking the field of user experience design by including accessibility and inclusive design perspectives;
2. Apply the understanding in doing a new inclusive design project.
Students will work in teams to create a proposal for inclusive design of a digital product such as website, app, or some other, work through the design and present their results and reflections at the end. The focus of the learning will be on developing empathy for the digital interaction needs of people with disabilities and learning how to address them in a design process.