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Modes of Human Experience

Modes of Human Experience

Introduces key principles and factors for understanding the diversity of human experiences, and creating inclusive designs.

The people who design the touchpoints of society determine who can participate and who’s left out, often unwittingly… Design shapes [everyone's] ability to access, participate in, and contribute to the world. If design is the source of inclusion and exclusion, can it also be the remedy? Yes.
—Kat Holmes, Mismatch

Objective & Outcomes

This course serves as ID’s general introduction to issues in accessibility, human factors, design for disability, and emerging inclusive design practices. It provides a comprehensive introduction to how designers understand the spectra of human diversity, craft inclusive design interventions, and measure accessibility across five fundamental modes of experience: Physical, Perceptual, Cognitive, Social, and Cultural.

Within these modes, the course considers how designers can responsibly define and research audiences while making sensitive characterizations about collectives, better accommodate variances in ability, identify whether insights are localized or transferable across larger audiences, create inclusive and parallel experiences for distinct communities, and diagnose and apply accessibility best practices. Students will discuss how design has emphasized different modes of experience through its short history, and learn about how to make the case for inclusion in various contemporary fields of design and technology.

Upon completing this course, students will be able to understand and explain the principles of inclusive design, its importance, and its application in various design contexts. 

  • identify, analyze, and accommodate human diversity in their designs across the different modes of experience
  • responsibly define and research diverse audiences, and to make sensitive and rigorous characterizations about varied collectives.
  • make the case for inclusive design by diagnosing accessibility issues and promote best practices in accessibility accommodations in their physical and digital designs.

Typical Schedule

  • Session 1: Introduction to Course & Definitions
  • Session 2: Physical Modes of Experience
  • Session 3: Perceptual Modes of Experience
  • Session 4: Cognitive Modes of Experience
  • Session 5: Social Modes of Experience
  • Session 6: Cultural Modes of Experience
  • Session 7: Intersectionality & Review