Using Design Thinking Methods in Developing a Digital Accessibility Learning Resource

Thematic Area of product / prototype / service: 
Accessibility in higher education
Company (if applicable): 
Stuttgart Media University, Freiburg University of Education, Heidelberg University of Education, University Bielefeld
Description of the product/Prototype/service: 
Poster Abstract: The multi-university Hochschul-Initiative Digitale Barrierefreiheit für Alle (SHUFFLE) seeks to provide digital and other resources to make teaching and learning more accessible for students with individual needs (SmiBs), and the wider student body. One SHUFFLE sub- group is focused on the sustainable implementation of accessibility in teaching through the development of a digital platform that en- ables teachers to have a "virtual encounter" with SmiBs, raise awareness of their particular needs, identify barriers that they frequently encounter, and learn adaptation strategies that could be used to improve their learning experience. This project uses Design Thinking (DT) methods to employ creative approaches to defining the problem space, and developing workable solutions. DT involves the use of empathetic understanding in problem framing alongside iterative prototyping and testing of suggested strategies. These approaches are used in order to implement sustainable and truly beneficial human-centered solutions. DT has been used in several Higher Educa- tion and Accessibility projects (Heron et. al 2022, Gilbert, 2019, Panke 2019) and it was used as the methodological basis for the devel- opment of the platform and its included resources. Team members including SmiBs, teaching staff, software developers, game de- signers, and UX Designers took part in an initial Design Thinking Workshop in November 2021. This was followed up by a Design Think- ing/Persona Workshop in February 2022, in which the group of mostly SmiBs framed their experiences within higher education, and generated personas that would represent some of the diversity of those experiences. Additional interviews were conducted in February and March 2022 to develop personas for the teaching staff who would be users of the platform. The next steps involve using the ideas and information to design the interactive website.
Level of innovation: 
Description of development of a website resource. The website is not yet publicly available.
Kathy-Ann Heitmeier, Stuttgart Media University (confirmed) Verena Kersken, Stuttgart Media University (confirmed) Patricia Piskorek, Stuttgart Media University (confirmed) Niklas Egger, Stuttgart Media University (confirmed) Ann-Katrin Böhm, Heidelberg University of Education (confirmed)