In a previous post, I mentioned that my colleagues at UMBC and Landmark College and I had an AccessComputing minigrant accepted for funding to run a “Participatory Design Workshop for Accessible Apps and Games” at Landmark, a small 2-year college in Vermont that serves students with learning and cognitive disabilities.In early December, we actually had the opportunity to run the workshop and it was a great success! The purpose of the workshop was to expose Landmark students to some of the basic principles of human-computer interaction, focusing on participatory design and taking into account user needs and characteristics when designing technology. UMBC students led the participatory design sessions on mobile apps and games they were designing as part of a current course project.
Throughout the workshop, we noted that the Landmark students were very engaged and enjoyed the design activities very much. They were a group of kids with a technology-orientation (the course they were recruited from was a web design course), and heavily involved in playing video games. The apps we brought were gaming-oriented, if not full-fledged video games, and this aspect seemed to really appeal to the Landmark students. The UMBC students remarked on how much they learned about working with users in small participatory design groups as well. We look forward to maybe doing future versions of this workshop, or other collaborative activities with UMBC and Landmark students.
You can find the information on the ongoing collaboration between Landmark and UMBC, as well as specifics about the event and some of the outcomes here (stay tuned for updates!).