Accessibility, Usability, and Universal Design Research

Information and communication technologies offer tremendous possibilities to increase engagement and participation in society. Unfortunately, this potential can be reduced by products and services are often difficult to use or otherwise not optimally designed to meet the needs of end users. Too often, designers and developers treat usability and accessibility are as separate, unrelated disciplines. Accessibility related to barriers that prevent a person from using a product or service as it was intended, and is a principle that is particularly important for individuals with functional limitations, such as people with disabilities. Usability focuses on reducing design elements that prevent users from correctly or efficiently using a product or service. Accessibility and usability intersect in the goals of inclusive or universal design. In order to achieve inclusive design goals, accessibility and usability must be integrated. The Center for Advanced Communication Policy (CACP) has a number of ongoing research projects that explore the intersection of accessibility and usability, particularly as regards people with disabilities and the aging. Areas of CACP research include: accessible wireless devices and services, voting and election processes, knowledge work, employment, and workforce development, and inclusive environments for the aging. For more information on accessibility and universal design contact Brad Fain [], Sarah Farmer [] or Paul M.A. Baker []


Notable Projects