Looking for courses that include curriculum about accessibility? Start here – but do check the UW course catalog, MyPlan, and the department course listings to confirm when courses are taught and by whom.

CSE 340 – Interaction Programming »

  • Accessibility assignment and related learnings

User interfaces for computing systems, including principles and implementation techniques. Covers key topics and programming paradigms for interactive systems, such as event handling; graphical layout, design, and widgets; undo; accessibility; and context awareness. Provides experience with modern application domains and frameworks (e.g., mobile applications).

Instructor: Lauren Bricker, Jen Mankoff
Quarter: Winter, Spring

CSE 440 – Introduction to HCI »

  • Lecture on accessibility

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) theory and techniques. Methods for designing, prototyping, and evaluating user interfaces to computing applications. Human capabilities, interface technology, interface design methods, and interface evaluation tools and techniques. Prerequisite: CSE 332.

Instructor: Scott Ichikawa / James Fogarty / Amy Zhang
Quarter: Autumn, Winter, Spring

CSE 482 – Capstone Software Design to Empower Underserved Populations »

Students work in teams to design and implement a software project involving multiple areas of the CSE curriculum, for the purpose of empowering marginalized or underserved populations.

Quarter: Not currently offered
Course details in MyPlan (UW ID required)

CSE 493e – Accessibility

Starting Autumn 2023, CSE 493e – Accessibility will explore how computing can enable new solutions to accessibility, including both access to the world and access to computers. Similarly, the course will investigate how a disability-led perspective can guide us in the development of empowering and relevant solutions to accessibility problems. Both topics will be addressed through a combination of discussions, reading, and building.

Instructors: Jen Mankoff and Venkatesh Potluri
Quarter: Autumn

CSE 590w – Accessibility Research Seminar »

The seminar is for students and faculty members to explore research in accessible computing for people with disabilities in the context of human-computer interaction (HCI). The seminar consists of short student presentations of current research results, followed by discussion and critical evaluations the research. Topics vary by quarter.

Instructor: various CREATE graduate students
Quarter: Autumn, Winter, Spring
CREATE description | CS course description | time schedule (UW ID required)

DISST – Disabilities Studies courses »

Disability Studies is a multi-disciplinary field that investigates, critiques, and enhances Western society’s understandings of disability.
Disabilities Studies course descriptions | UW course catalog

DISST 332 – Disability & Society: A Focus on Community and the Outdoors »

A community partnership with the Outdoors For All Foundation, the service learning course focuses on disability, community, and play in the outdoors and seeks to provide students with a place to learn about Disability Studies in Education in applied contexts. Students serve as volunteer ski instructors, get to know the program participants’ individual strengths and limitations, then assist by adjusting bindings, giving tips and encouragement, and talking over support strategies with family members.

Instructor: Jason Naranjo, UW Bothell
Cross-listed on UW Bothell and Seattle campuses
Course flyer | Course description in MyPlan | UW News article

Gen St 297 – Disability 101: Identity, Education, Careers, & Leadership »

Small-group discussion with faculty representing a wide spectrum of academic disciplines. Topics include faculty’s research techniques or findings, concentrated reading in his/her area of interest, or illustrated problems and alternative related to the study of a particular academic discipline. Class structure varies based on instructor.

Instructor: Scott Bellman, Sheryl Burgstahler
Quarter: Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer

HCDE 315 – Inclusive Design and Engineering »

Surveys a range of methods that examine, support, and interrogate design and engineering for disability and inclusivity. Students enact inclusive methods, reflect on their capacities to broaden design and engineering goals, and critique and evaluate their effectiveness from a variety of perspectives.

Instructor: Sarah Coppola
Quarter: Not currently offered
Prerequisite: none

HCDE Directed Research Group »

Students in the Tactile Graphics Directed Research Group (Spring 2023) work on teams to develop workflows for tactile graphics. In this showcase, view demos of hardware and software solutions for low-cost Blind and Low Vision making and tactile biomechanics diagrams.

Instructors: Sarah Coppola, Nadya Peek, Abigale Stangl, and Emily Whiting
Quarter: Not currently offered
Prerequisite: none

HCDE 515 – Accessibility and Inclusive Design »

Introduction to designing, prototyping, and evaluating inclusive user interfaces that meet the needs of a diverse range of users – such as older adults; users with visual, cognitive or motor disabilities; and users who are deaf or hard of hearing. Building on basic concepts in human-centered design, students will learn about design exclusion and barriers to use, and methods by which these can be overcome.

Instructor: Leah Findlater
Quarter: Spring
Prerequisite: HCDE 518

ITA 340 – Introduction to Web Publishing »

  • Includes the Web Accessibility Initiative

Introduction to markup languages and publishing web content. Students gain understanding of HTML coding and extensions, image manipulation, information architecture, and web site publishing. Includes the Web Accessibility Initiative.

Instructor: iSchool
Quarter: TBA

ITA 341 – Client-side Scripting and Design »

Introduction to web browser design environment, scripting languages, JavaScript, Document Object Model, and creation of dynamic HTML web pages in combination with Cascading Style Sheets. Includes client-server architecture and web design principles in the contexts of technical feasibility, usability, and accessibility.

Instructor: iSchool
Quarter: TBA

ME 412 – Biomechanics of Movement »

Introduction to the dynamics and control of human movement and other biological systems. An overview of the major challenges in movement biomechanics and experience with the engineering tools we use to address these challenges. Course includes weekly assignment, hands-on labs, and a final project.

Instructor: Kat Steele
Quarter: Winter
Prerequisites: ME 374 or permission

PMP – Future of Access Technologies »

Accessible technologies are at the forefront of technological innovation in a changing society. This class covers these cutting edge technologies, teaches thinking about access and inclusion, and looks at some of the history and critical theory around disability. Primarily, this is a class to build in, and we will learn about physical access technology using Arduinos and fabrication tools as well as software access technology. This is a graduate class with a fairly open-ended project at the end.

Instructor: Jen Mankoff
Quarter: varies
Prerequisites: comfort with programming, new languages

Related news

  • CREATE's Newest Ph.D Graduates

    June 9, 2023

    We're proud to see these talented, passionate students receive their Ph.D.s and excited to see how they continue their work in accessibility.

    Alyssa Spomer, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering

    Dissertation: Evaluating multimodal biofeedback to target and improve motor control in cerebral palsy

    Advisor: Kat Steele

    Honors, awards and articles:

    Current: Clinical Scientist at Gillette Children's Hospital, leading research in the Gillette Rehabilitation Department to improve healthcare outcomes for children with complex movement conditions.

    Elijah Kuska, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering

    Elijah Kuska smiling with a sunset in the background

    Dissertation: In Silico Techniques to Improve Understanding of Gait in Cerebral Palsy

    Advisor: Kat Steele

    Honors, awards and articles:

    Plans: Elija will start as an assistant professor at the Colorado School of Mines in the Mechanical Engineering Department in January 2024.

    Megan Ebers, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering

    Headshot of Megan Ebers, a young woman with dark wavy hair, smiling broadly.

    Dissertation: Machine learning for dynamical models of human movement

    Advisors: Kat Steele and Nathan Kutz

    Awards, honors and articles:

    • Dual Ph.D.s in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Math
    • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

    Plans: Megan will join the UW AI Institute as a postdoc in Spring of 2023 to pursue clinical translation of her methods to evaluate digital biomarkers to support health and function from wearable data. 

    Nicole Zaino, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering

    Headshot of Nicole Zaino, a young woman with wavy brown hair and teal eyeglasses.

    Dissertation: Walking and rolling: Evaluating technology to support multimodal mobility for individuals with disabilities

    Advisors: Kat Steele and Heather Feldner

    Awards, honors and articles: 

    • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, 2018 - Present
    • Gatzert Child Welfare Fellowship, University of Washington, 2022
    • Best Paper Award at the European Society of Movement Analysis for Adults and Children, 2019.
    • Finalist, International Society of Biomechanics David Winter Young Investigator Award, 2019

    Plans: Nicole is headed to Bozeman Montana to join the Crosscut Elite Training team to work toward joining the national paralympic nordic ski team for Milano-Cortina 2026, while working part-time with academia and industry partners. 

    Ricky Zhang

    Headshot of Ricky Zhang, a young man with short hair, wearing black frame glasses and a gray business suit.

    Dissertation: Pedestrian Path Network Mapping and Assessment with Scalable Machine Learning Approaches

    Advisors: Anat Caspi and Linda Shapiro

    Plans: Ricky will be a postdoc in Bill Howe’s lab at the University of Washington.

    Kat Steele, who has been busy advising four out of five of these new PH.D.s, noted, "We have an amazing crew of graduate students continuing and expanding upon much of this work. We're excited for new collaborations and translating these methods into the clinic and community."

    Read more

  • Rethinking Disability and Advancing Access

    UW CREATE collaborates toward a world with fewer problems and more solutions for people of all abilities.

    The UW College of Engineering showcased CREATE’s mission, moonshots, and collaborative successes in a feature article, Rethinking disability and advancing access, written by Alice Skipton. The article is reproduced and reformatted here.

    A person sitting in a wheelchair looking at a phone while two people are looking over her shoulder at the phone.
    CREATE researchers and partners work on high-impact projects — such as those focused on mobility and on mobile device accessibility — advancing the inclusion and participation for people with disabilities.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four people in the United States lives with a disability.

    “The presence of disability is everywhere. But how disability has been constructed, as an individual problem that needs to be fixed, leads to exclusion and discrimination.”

    Heather Feldner, UW Medicine assistant professor in Rehabilitation Medicine and a CREATE associate director

    The construct also ignores the reality that people's physical and mental abilities continually change. Examples include pregnancy, childbirth, illness, injuries, accidents and aging. Additionally, assuming that people all move, think or communicate in a certain way fails to recognize diverse bodies and minds. By ignoring this reality, technology and access solutions have traditionally been limited and limiting.

    UW CREATE logo with icon of person with prosthetic arm holding a lightbulb and Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences, University of Washington

    UW CREATE, a practical, applied research center, exists to counter this problem by making technology accessible and the world accessible through technology. Launched in early 2020 with support from Microsoft, the Center connects research to industry and the community.

    On campus, it brings together accessibility experts and work-in-progress from across engineering, medicine, disability studies, computer science, information science and more, with the model always open to new collaborators. 

    “Anyone interested in working in the area of accessible technology is invited to become part of CREATE,” says Jacob O. Wobbrock, a professor in the UW Information School and one of the founders and co-director of the Center.

    Shooting for the moon

    A toddler-aged child in a ride-on toy gaining mobility to explore other toys, accompanied by a researcher.
    CREATE is partnering with UW I-LABS to explore how accessibility impacts young children's development, identity and agency. Their study uses the only powered mobility device available in the U.S. designed for children one to three years old. Photo courtesy of UW CREATE.

    “We have an amazing critical mass at UW of faculty doing accessibility research,” says Jennifer Mankoff, a professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and another founder and co-director of CREATE. “There's also a lot of cross-talk with Microsoft, other technology leaders, and local and national community groups. CREATE wants to ensure people joining the workforce know about accessibility and technology and that the work they do while they are at UW directly and positively impacts the disability community.” The Center’s community and corporate partnerships approach increases creativity and real-world impact.

    The concept of moonshots — technology breakthroughs resulting from advances in space exploration — offers a captivating way of thinking about the potential of CREATE's research. The Center currently has four research moonshots for addressing technological accessibility problems. One focuses on how accessibility impacts young children's development, identity and agency and includes a mobility and learning study with the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) that employs the only powered mobility device available in the U.S. market specifically designed for children one to three years old. Another looks more broadly at mobility indoors and outdoors, such as sidewalk and transit accessibility. A third seeks ways to make mobile and wearable devices more accessible along with the apps people use every day to access such essentials as banking, gaming, transportation and more. A fourth works toward addressing access, equity and inclusion for multiply marginalized people.

    "CREATE wants to ensure people joining the workforce know about accessibility and technology and that the work they do while they are at UW directly and positively impacts the disability community.”

    — Jennifer Mankoff, founder and co-director of CREATE

    For CREATE, advancing these moonshots isn't just about areas where technologies already exist, like improving an interface to meet more people's needs. It’s about asking questions and pushing research to address larger issues and inequities. “In certain spaces, disabled people are overrepresented, like in the unhoused or prison populations, or in health-care settings,” Mankoff says. “In others, they are underrepresented, such as in higher education, or simply overlooked. For example, disabled people are more likely to die in disaster situations because disaster response plans often don’t include them. We need to ask how technology contributes to these problems and how it can be part of the solution.”

    Broader problem-solving abilities

    For even greater impact, CREATE has situated these research moonshots within a practical framework for change that involves education initiatives, translation work and research funding. Seminars, conversations, courses, clubs and internship opportunities all advance the knowledge and expertise of the next generation of accessibility leaders. Translation work ensures that ideas get shaped and brought to life by community stakeholders and through collaborations with UW entities like the TASKAR Center for Accessible TechnologyHuskyADAPT and the UW Disability Studies Program, as well as through collaborations with industry leaders like Microsoft, Google and Meta. CREATE’s research funding adds momentum by supporting education, translation and direct involvement of people with disabilities.

    Related story:
    Sidewalk Equity

    A person in wheelchair and another standing person at a city sidewalk

    Engineering and computer science researchers seek to make digital wayfinding more equitable and accessible to more people.

    Nicole Zaino, a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student participating in CREATE's early childhood mobility technology research, describes the immense benefits of having her education situated in the context of CREATE. “It's broadened my research and made me a better engineer,” she says. She talks about the critical importance of end-user expertise, like the families participating in the mobility and learning study. Doing collaborative research and taking classes in other disciplines gives her more insights into intersecting issues. That knowledge and new vocabulary inform her work because she can search out research from different fields she otherwise wouldn't have known about.

    More equity advocates

    At the same time, Zaino’s lived experience with her disability also broadens her perspective and enhances her research. She became interested in her current field when testing out new leg braces and seeing other assistive technology on the shelves at the clinic. For Mankoff, it was the reverse. She worked in the field and then experienced disability when diagnosed with Lyme disease, something she's incorporated into her research. Wobbrock got a front-row seat to mobility and accessibility challenges when he severely herniated his L5-S1 disc and couldn't sit down for two years. For Feldner, although she studied disability academically as a physical therapist and in disability studies, first-hand experiences came later in her career when she became a disability advocate for one of her children and a parent. At CREATE, more than 50% of those involved have some lived experience with disability. This strengthens the Center by bringing a diversity of perspectives and first-hand knowledge about how assumptions often get in the way of progress. 

    closeup image of a smartphone with many small app icons.jpg

    Seeking to push progress further on campus, CREATE has an initiative on research at the intersection of race, disability and technology with the Allen School, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, the Population Health Initiative, the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Office of the ADA Coordinator. 

    CDC statistics show that the number of people experiencing a disability is higher when examined through the lens of race and ethnicity. With events and an open call for proposals, the initiative seeks increased research and institutional action in higher education, health care, artificial intelligence, biased institutions and more. 

    “If we anticipate that people don't conform to certain ability assumptions, we can think ahead,” says Wobbrock. “What would that mean for a particular technology design? It’s a longstanding tenant of accessibility research that better access for some people results in better access for all people.”

    Read more

  • Teach Access Study Away program

    There is a wonderful, free short course, Teach Access Study Away, run by the Teach Access organization each year. 

    The 2023 Teach Access Virtual Study Away is a two-part series. Part 1 focuses on the basics of accessibility and disability; Part 2 covers more advanced topics so completion of Part 1 or a previous Study Access Away session is required.

    The two parts combined total 7 virtual sessions, each 1 1/2 hours on Wednesdays starting on April 5th.  Signup for 2023 closes on March 25th.

    Read more

  • CSE course sequence designed with "accessibility from the start"

    The CSE 121, 122, and 123 introductory course sequence lets students choose their entry point into computer science and engineering studies, whatever their background, experience, or confidence level. And, as part of the effort to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA), the courses were designed with "accessibility from the start."

    A member of the course development team was a dedicated accessibility expert, tasked with developing guidelines for producing accessible materials: using HTML tags correctly, providing alt text for all images, and ensuring accurate captions on all videos. The team audited both content and platforms -- including the course website -- for accessibility concerns.

    In CSE's DEIA Newsletter article, author Brett Wortzman, Associate Teaching Faculty, points out that "many of the guidelines followed are good universal design, helping all students, not just those with disabilities, and at the same time reducing the work for instructors needing to comply with many DRS [Disability Resources for Students] accommodations."

    Excerpted from article by Brett Wortzman, Associate Teaching Faculty, in CSE's DEIA Newsletter.

    Read more

  • Carl James Dunlap Memorial Scholarship

    University of Washington student Carl James Dunlap had a powerful impact on the UW community with his vibrant personality and persistent advocacy for students with disabilities. To honor his legacy, the Dunlap family established the Carl James Dunlap Memorial Endowment. The Dunlap Memorial Endowment seeks to support students with disabilities encountering unique challenges when attending and completing higher education. The D Center is grateful to further Carl’s legacy by awarding two $2,000 Carl James Dunlap Memorial Scholarships to UW students for Winter 2023.

    The Dunlap Memorial Scholarship selection criteria is a UW student who identifies as having a disability and is currently receiving financial aid.

    Apply no later than January 31

    If you have any questions, please contact the D Center at dcenter@uw.edu.

    The Carl James Dunlap Memorial Fund is accepting donations to further help students with disabilities.

    Flyer for the Carl James Dunlap Memorial Scholarship with a link to contact dcenter@uw.edu for details and a picture of the UW Seattle campus in fall.

    Read more