Disability and Software Accessibility


Second-Year Software Design

Class Time:

Two 1-hour classes

Last Modified:

Wed 08 December 2021

Software Accessibility
Disability Theory
Principles of Universal Design

This module provides software design students with philosophical tools to help them anticipate the needs of a diverse set of users. In the first half of the module, students learn about medical and social models of disability and discuss whether different examples of software features (like dark mode) and broad approaches to software design (like universal design) might exemplify one model or the other. In the second half of the module, students discuss their real-world obligations to design accessible software. They draw upon moral theories like utilitarianism and the capability approach to justify the foundations of their legal and professional obligations. The module concludes with students appending an accessibility report to their final software design project, describing the actual or hypothetical accessible features that their product might possess.

This module was developed by Steven Coyne and Lindsey Shorser, with contributions from Emma McClure, Jonathan Calver, and Paul Gries. Diane Horton and David Liu provided feedback on this module.


Module materials coming soon.