Designing for Accessibility

CS 377Q: Designing for Accessibility

This project-based class introduces concepts and perspectives in how to approach designing accessible user experiences and exercises them in the course of a project designed with the needs of enabling accessibility in mind. A focus of the class is to help students develop empathy for people with disabilities, and use that empathy as design inspiration for a project concept. Students will also learn how to conduct user studies with people with disabilities. Enrollment will be limited to 30 students; class application will be available during the first day of class.

Tuesdays/Thursdays: 4:30-5:50, STLC105

Lecturer: John Tang, Microsoft Research

Office Hours: Wednesdays, Fridays, 3:00-5:00pm (by appointment:
Google Hangouts:

TA: Trijeet Mukhopadhyay

Office Hours: By appointment (




Class sessions highlighted are mandatory to attend as they involve significant graded component, or otherwise critical activity. Please contact the teaching team ASAP if you cannot attend any of these.

Week Date Title Assignment
1 2-Apr Introduction: What is designing for accessibility? A0: Class application
Assign A1: Documenting the use of an accessibility aid (5 points)
  4-Apr Making files accessible; Disability simulation training A1 due
Assign A2: Making work accessible (4 points)

Assign A3: Disability simulation (12 points, in pairs)

Human guide techniques (for low vision)

2 9-Apr Disability simulation (in class) A2 due
  11-Apr Guest lecture: Scaling up Accessibility (Gslides) A3 due (individual submission)

Guest Lecture: Neurodiversity (Gslides with videos)

Reflecting on assignments

Assign A4: Reconsidering disability simulations (3 points)
3 16-Apr Reflection on disability simulation A4 due
Need finding for accessibility Assign A5: Need finding (12 points, team of 3)
  18-Apr UX for accessibility  
Guest lecture: Ability-based design
4 23-Apr

Need finding presentations


A5 due
Assign A6: Idea pitch (4 points, individual)
  25-Apr Idea pitch presentations A6 due: Presentations
Assign P1: Brainstorming (project team of 3, 5 points)
5 30-Apr Brainstorming presentations P1 due
Guest lecture: AI in Accessibility Assign P2: Prototyping (15 points)
  2-May Best practices in designing for accessibility P2a User scenario due
Prototyping check-in
6 7-May User study design for accessibility Assign P3: User Study Design and Recruitment Plan (5 points)
Guest lecture: Assistive technologies
  9-May Prototype demo P2b Prototype demo due
7 14-May User study design presentations P3 due
Assign P4: Conduct a User Study (10 points)
  16-May User study data analysis  P2c Prototype revision due
8 21-May User study pilot review P4a Pilot study due
  23-May User study tips and accessibility product development  
Accessibility in Industry panel
9 28-May Presentation design, User data review P4b User study data collection due

Guest lecture: Accessibility + HCI research

Assign P5: Presentation Showcase (10 points)
  30-May User study presentations P4c User study presentations due

6/3/2019,  6–8 pm, atrium, Bldg. 550

Presentation Showcase P5 due


Course Logistics

Grading breakdown

40% Weekly Assignments
45% Final Project (Team)
15% Class Participation
No Final

Final presentation event: June 3rd (Monday evening, 6:00-8:00pm) in conjunction with CS377U — Understanding Users (check for conflicts!)

Attendance Policy

Must attend class when grading occurs in class (highlighted dates in syllabus)
Let us know in advance if there are any expected absences in the class to work out how to manage that
More than 2 absences or any unexplained absences detracts from class participation grade

Honor Code

We expect you to adhere to the Stanford Honor Code:

We will be collecting info about individual contribution to team projects.


Course Summary:

Date Details Due