Toward Centering Access in Professional Design

Bennett, Cynthia L.

Human-Computer Interaction research has long been concerned with foregrounding user
needs in the design of technology. Indeed, its professionalized application, often called
design, aims to put this philosophy in practice. For example, when designing for people with
disabilities, designers aim to gather user needs specific to this population and translate them
into accessible designs. Accessibility is gaining increased attention in the field, one indication
being that accessibility was one of the most popular keywords describing publications at the
2019 CHI Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. But this dissertation argues that
despite increased momentum, perspectives from the people with disabilities accessible
designs purportedly benefit are under-represented, and these absences may negatively impact
people with disabilities and the field of professional design.