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Learning to design accessibly with MSc DDI

Students at the GDI Hub lab
Students at the GDI Hub lab

As I reflect on my journey with the MSc DDI programme, I am grateful for the new skills, knowledge and experiences I gained throughout this academic journey, which has provided me with the resources I need to progress my career in design with focus on inclusivity and accessibility.

My first interest in design developed during my undergraduate studies where I was involved with projects to adapt play technology for disabled children and later during my final year project where I was introduced to the design process (within the engineering framework) to improve medical technology. This lead me to the field of HCI and UX design which I pursued by working as a product designer in a social enterprise to design a digital platform as a tool for creative hubs to manage their community, resources and services.

Throughout my early career, I was constantly drawn back to this programme as I have interest in exploring the intersection between design and disability to implement accessibility within my work and design process. The programme proved to be insightful, with each module providing access to relevant knowledge and resources related to research, design, development and business. My knowledge was then expand further beyond design into research and development, business strategy, and policy. Overall, I gained a better understanding of the complex interplay of disability inclusion, assistive technology design and development, and disability interaction, which has shift my perspective in approaching design and innovation to be inclusive and collaborative of disabled people.

The MSc DDI programme is resourceful and supportive in providing assistance to further our understanding in disability by connecting the class with disability experts, organisations and companies. It is also exciting that we have access to resources and experts across University College London (UCL), University of Arts London (UAL) and Loughborough University London (LuL), offering us knowledge and experiences across different environments. The faculty was also supportive of our interests and through UCL, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with Audemic, a startup to make research papers accessible, by exploring the process of designing for inclusivity and accessibility.

For my dissertation, I had the opportunity to co-design with blind and partially sighted people (BPSP) on a solution for making the tourism industry more accessible which provide insights into the importance of collaboration to design useful and relevant tools that meets the diverse needs of disabled people. Having a supportive supervisor helps me explore different approaches to set up and facilitate the co-design workshops with BPSP which I am grateful for. The work felt deeply important which I hope would contribute to a more inclusive tourism industry. This experience has broadened my horizons and deepened my commitment to using design as a tool for social good, especially in making experiences more inclusive and accessible.