RMI 641: Universal Design


RMI 641: Universal Design


The Mediterranean Graduate School of Applied Social Cognition




Prof. Pier-Luigi Emiliani

Dr. Eleni Michailidou


Spring 2014


Instructor Email



Instructor’s personal website, if applicable



  1. Course Description

The course focus in subjects of information and communication technology, universal access, accessible content and interaction and will cover processes, principles and examples of accessible human-computer interaction, as well as methods and techniques for designing accessible and universally designed systems. Ethical, legal restrictions and guidelines, business trends and standards and good practices in relation to global trends are topics that the course covers. As part of this course, students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of topics relating to concepts, necessity, principles and guidelines of inclusive design.

Students will demonstrate knowledge of the importance of design for all users by understanding the needs of different groups such as people with vision, cognitive, mobility problems. They will be able to understand the procedures and design methodologies in order to design interactive systems and education material that take into account the needs of a broad spectrum of the population.

    ii. Course Objectives

By the end of the course participants should be able to:

  • Have a critical understanding of Universal Design related to assistive technolpogies (AT), the importance and impact on the efficient use and implementation of AT and issues of quality of life and inclusion in everyday activities.
  • Have a real world understanding of the complex needs of older and disabled people when using ICT and people who use AT
  • To provide understanding of the social, political and economic issues of eInclusion
  • To provide a sound basis for solving complex problems and undertaking innovative research and design.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the importance of universal design and the reasons of support.
  • Understand the needs of different groups which are often not taken into account in the planning process, for example people with vision problems, cognitive problems, mobility problems, and seniors.
  • Understand the procedures and design for all methodologies
  • Develop arguments to support planning for all in different design scenarios
  • Design of interactive systems that take into account the needs of a wide spectrum of the population
  • Determine any conflict for the needs of different population groups for which the design is done
  • Determine the requirements of users with different needs of various interactive systems
  1. Course Prerequisites
  2. Course Credits
  3. Required Texts and Materials
  4. Supplementary (Optional) Texts and Materials
  5. Basis for Final Grade

This course unit is suitable for students following other Masters and PhD pathways.

List number of course credits

Lazar, J (2007): Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations. John Wiley and Sons

DfA@eInclusion. (2009). "DfA @eInclusion" -

Preece, J., Rogers, Y. & Sharp, H. (2011). Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-66576-3

Benyon, D., Turner, S., & Turner, P. (2004). Designing Interactive Systems: People, Activities, Contexts, Technologies. Addison Wesley. ISBN 321116291

Clarkson J, Coleman R, Hosking I and Waller S. (2007): Inclusive design toolkit. Cambridge Engineering Design Centre and also:

Keates, S and Clarkson, J. (2003): Countering design exclusion, An introduction to inclusive design. Springer-Verlag.

Stephanidis, C. (ed), (2009): The Universal Access handbook. CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group.

Students should make use of primary research resources. The following journals publish papers relevant to Design for All, and Universal Design. The following journals and conference proceedings: ASSETS, AAATE, Behaviour and Information Technology, Gerontechnology, ICCHP, Interacting with Computers, Transactions on Accessible computers, Universal Access in Information Systems

Newell, A.F.: "Commentary on "computers and people with disabilities": Accessible computing - past trends and future suggestions", ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing, 1(2) (2008), ACM, pp.9.1-9.7.

Eisma, R, Dickinson A., Goodman, J., Syme, A., Tiwari, L., Newell. A.F. (2004): Early user involvement in the development of information technology-related products for older people. Universal Access in the Information Society 3(2): 131-140.

AssistiveWare has profiles, podcasts and links to videos on people who use assistive technologies, see link to video One thumb to rule the world.

The Center for Universal Design: See seven principles of Universal Design, select preferred format from:

Inclusive Digital Economy Network – link to videos hosted on YouTube mainly relating to older people using new technologies. Also available as DVD’s

Microsoft Enable:

Trace Centre

   Inclusive Design toolkit

Provide a listing of assessments in the semester total.


Percent of Final Grade

Bi-Weekly Activities


Individual Project


Group Project




Course Structure

Class Sessions and Attendance

Attendance is mandatory. In case you need to miss a class session, please inform the instructor a week in advance (except in case of an emergency).

Class Schedule (13 teaching weeks per semester)



Class topic

Class objectives




Introduction, Principles and Definitions

Introduce the requirements and structure of the course, Familiarize students with Project-Based-Learning, Definitions on Universal Design and Present Case studies

Specific Journals

Preece, J., Rogers, Y. & Sharp, H. (2011)

Stephanidis, C. (ed), (2009)



Universal Design: Stages, Analysis

Students will be introduced to the design stages and the Analysis Stage in-depth

Students will generate an Analysis Report for a case study

Specific Journals

Preece, J., Rogers, Y. & Sharp, H. (2011)

Stephanidis, C. (ed), (2009)




Students will familiarize themselves with Technologies for Access

Generate requirements for Access

Specific Journals and Websites

Stephanidis, C. (ed), (2009)

Benyon, D., Turner, S., & Turner, P. (2004)




Students will familiarize themselves with Technologies for Communication

Generate requirements for Communication

Specific Journals and Websites

Stephanidis, C. (ed), (2009)

Benyon, D., Turner, S., & Turner, P. (2004)



Web Accessibility

Evaluate Web Accessibility

Specific Journals

Preece, J., Rogers, Y. & Sharp, H. (2011)

Stephanidis, C. (ed), (2009)

Benyon, D., Turner, S., & Turner, P. (2004)



Learning and Cognition

Students will familiarize themselves with Technologies for Learning and Cognition

Generate requirements for Learning and Cognition

Specific Journals and Websites

Stephanidis, C. (ed), (2009)

Benyon, D., Turner, S., & Turner, P. (2004)



Universal Design: Design Stage

Generate low-fidelity prototypes

Specific Journals

Preece, J., Rogers, Y. & Sharp, H. (2011)

Stephanidis, C. (ed), (2009)

Benyon, D., Turner, S., & Turner, P. (2004)



Universal Design: Development Stage

Generate high-fidelity prototypes

Develop prototype

Specific Journals

Preece, J., Rogers, Y. & Sharp, H. (2011)

Stephanidis, C. (ed), (2009)

Benyon, D., Turner, S., & Turner, P. (2004)



Universal Design: Evaluation Stage

Evaluate Prototype

Generate report on evaluation

Specific Journals

Preece, J., Rogers, Y. & Sharp, H. (2011)

Stephanidis, C. (ed), (2009)

Benyon, D., Turner, S., & Turner, P. (2004)



Field Work

Students will have to evaluate a place/service and present results and conclusions

Specific Journals and Websites



Invited Speaker

Students will be presented on a case with all the design stages including obstacles during the process

Specific Journals and Websites



Project Feedback and Course Recap

During this week student groups will be able to get one-to-one feedback on the project and Discussion on issues raised will take place




Group Project Presentation

Students will present their Group Project to instructors, students and experts. They will receive final feedback


*Readings provided here is an indication. More details and specific chapters and journals will be announced weekly

Class Participation

In order for this learning experience to be beneficial and worthwhile reading of the assigned material, contribution to face-to-face and online discussions, and participation in all class activities is imperative. Conversations and ideas can grow if you don’t read the assigned material and/or contribute to the class discussions.


Students work should be assessable and gradable. The learning outcomes include practical experiences, problem solving and group work that would allow for innovation in assessment strategies such as preparing presentations, and demonstrating solutions.

Students are required to generate reports on their weekly/bi-weekly activities and projects, working in groups and individual.

Grading Scale


Letter Grade

94 - 100


90 - 93


87 - 89


83 - 86


80 - 82


77 - 79


73 - 76


70 - 72


67 - 69


63 - 66


60 - 62


< 60