Teaching Inclusive Design: Design with Everyone in Mind

Ziddi Msangi
Associate Professor
Graphic Design
UMass Dartmouth

The World Health Organization defines disability as “a contextual variable”. One is more or less disabled by their interaction with a physical environment, social environment, or institutional environment. Inclusive Design aims to “reduce the experience of disability and enhance everyone’s experience and performance.

Universal design standards were developed to guide Designers in addressing disabling environments. The goal is to create accessible spaces for people with functional limitations.

Graphic design educators can integrate these principles in the design studio, providing a generation of students with the tools to improve the quality of life for all citizens.

“A User Expert is a person who has developed expertise by means of their lived experience in dealing with the challenges of the environment. due to a physical, sensory, and/or cognitive functional limitation. User/Experts include, older people with changing vision or stamina, people of short stature, limited grasp, or who use wheelchairs.”-Institute for Human Centered Design

In this model, we move beyond personas, as a way of identifying a users needs when developing a brand. User experts with functional limitations share their lived experience with students. The insight students gain from a User Expert helps guide the design process.

This presentation will share the visual outcome of junior level branding and identity projects, and the impact on student understanding. Over the course of the semester, students were in conversation with four User Experts who helped guide the development of the projects.

Zika and Public Health Guidelines: Prototyping Models for Different Personas

Courtney Marchese
Assistant Professor of Interactive Media + Design
School of Communications
Quinnipiac University

: In graphic design, models are material prototypes that help synthesize research into testable forms. Through experimentation and testing, many rounds of revisions are made to culminate in a visual that can effectively speak to its audience. In an age of infinite information, data visualization, particularly in global health, is a critical arena for accurate and useful visual modeling. For example, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has Zika Pregnancy Guidelines in the form of a flowchart (Figure A). While it is certainly a necessary model to share with the general public, it is often cumbersome and difficult to understand. Riddled with professional medical terminology, footnotes, and companion charts, the model fails to serve as an accessible form to the information most needed by its audience. In examining the CDC’s guidelines, it is unclear whether they intend to communicate with health professionals or women potentially infected with zika. Rather than using a “one size fits all” approach to the chart, I propose modeling different forms that the information can take as viewed through the lens of different people in different environments and scenarios. Each prototype will take on a persona and emphasize the most important information to a specific audience explaining what to do before, during, and after exposure to zika virus. As such, each persona also serves as a model of sorts to represent an audience segment. By prototyping multiple forms, my goal is to make critical health information engaging and clear to those who need it most. Additionally, these prototypes can serve as a model for other issues within public health communication.