Assistive Technology

Instructor: Jennifer
HCII, 3601 NSH, (W)+1 (412) 268-1295
Office hours: By Appointment & 1-2pm Thurs

Course Description

This class will focus on computer accessibility, including web
and desktop computing, and research in the area of assistive technology.

The major learning goals from this course include:

  • Develop an understanding of the relationship between disability
    policy, the disability rights movement, and your role as a
    technologist. For example, we will discuss we will discuss the pros
    and cons and infrastructure involved in supporting mainstream
    computer applications rather than creating new ones from scratch.
  • Develop a skill set for basic design and evaluation of
    accessible web pages and desktop applications.
  • Develop familiarity with technologies and research relating to
    accessibility including a study of optimal font size and color for
    people with dyslexia, word-prediction aids, a blind-accessible
    drawing program,
  • Develop familiarity with assistive technologies that use
    computation to increase the accessibility of the world in
    general. Examples include memory aids, sign-language recognition,
    and so on.


Students will be expected to do service work with non-profits serving
the local disabled community during one to two weekends of the start
of the semester. This course has a project component, where students
will design, implement, and test software for people with
disabilities. Additionally, students will read and report on research
papers pertinent to the domain.

Grading will be based on service work (10%); the project (60%); and
class participation, including your reading summary and the lecture
you lead (30%).

Other relevant documents

Course CalendarAssignmentsBibliography


Prerequisites for this class are: Familiarity with basic Human
Computer Interaction material or consent of the instructor (for
undergraduate students)

It is recommended that you contact the instructor if you are interested
in taking this class.

Past version of class

Spring 2002