Accessible Design Thinking

This blog is about the integration of accessibility, instructional design, and design thinking in an easy-to-use manner. Learn more about accessible design thinking.

A logo made from the letters a, d, and t

This blog is a passion project for me. For the last few years, I have been working to create instructional experiences that are meaningful and accessible for all users. Accessible instructional design is extremely relevant due to the fact that many learning opportunities are occurring in digital environments.

Designing accessible instruction is part of good universal design and integral in meeting 508 compliance guidelines. While educators are often prepared in cultivating lessons and the art of teaching, current educator preparation programs have not begun to address the increasing role of online instruction. As a result, instructional design is increasingly becoming an important aspect of educators’ job descriptions without the benefit of appropriate preparation. Without preparation, it can be difficult for educators to maximize the potential of online and blended learning environments.

Accessibility is coming to the fore in many areas. However, a quick review of online resources regarding accessibility guidelines for online content makes it clear that this information is geared for programmers. This can make information for best practices out of reach to anyone who does not have some knowledge of programming or coding. One of the goals of this blog to make accessibility considerations approachable and easy to implement for the lay user.

Finally, I strongly believe that design thinking is integral to this process. Design thinking is part of instructional systems design and includes several important elements. These include the following:

  • Empathizing with and learning about the user
  • Defining the instructional need, if any
  • Brainstorming ideas to address this need
  • Creating a prototype
  • Testing the design and materials to collect feedback
  • Implementing the design

While many naturally incorporate many of these elements, it is important to ensure this process is understood and undertaken when launching new initiatives, especially instructional ones.

As stated earlier, I hope to make this blog a place to make accessibility easy to understand and implement. I also want to address elements of instructional design and design thinking that are related, not only to accessibility but also effective online and blended instruction. Although my main audience is educators, I am positive that the information contained in this blog will be helpful to any user.

Welcome to Accessible Design Thinking!


About the author Rita Fennelly-Atkinson

My previous work with students with disabilities has ignited a passion for ensuring that all learners have access to meaningful instructional experiences in any learning environment. My current educational pursuits and work as a technology design coach combines my passion for accessibility, instructional design, and design thinking. As an educator, I have a wide array of instructional experience for K-12 and adult learners in a multitude of settings. Currently, I am a Sam Houston State University student in the Instructional Systems Design and Technology doctoral program.

All posts by Rita Fennelly-Atkinson →

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