Designing for People, User/Experts in Schools of Design

A user/expert talking to two design students
IHCD’s Designing for People, User/Experts in Schools of Design project, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) through Arts Works, provided students with an opportunity to collaborate with user/experts* who exposed students to today’s diversity of ability and age and their responsibility to use design to create opportunities for inclusion and social equity. User/Experts infused students’ learning with new insights, energy, and excitement; and allowed students to build their confidence and skills. As a result students rose to their call as designers, creators of the human context; producing designs and prototypes that sought to minimize limitations, celebrate strengths, and enriched everyone’s experience in the process.
Through this project IHCD was able to:
  • build knowledge and expertise among students and faculty at 5 colleges and universities about Inclusive/Universal Design and the opportunity for insight and inspiration in the direct engagement of diverse users; 
  • introduce design faculty to user/experts and the framework of Inclusive/Universal Design, supporting them to incorporate the opportunity into their curriculum;
  • coordinate the direct engagement of user/experts with students and faculty at least three times throughout the semester;
  • offer students and faculty a mix of resources, including in-situ opportunities for students to observe user/experts and global universal design literature and precedents.

Project Year 2017:


Project Year 2016:

Partners included: 
Sean Solley
IHCD Consulting Interior Designer & Associate Professor of Interior Design at the New England School of Art and Design (NESAD) 
Suffolk University, Boston, MA  
Lisa Spitz
Assistant Professor, Design
Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
Deb Biggar
Assistant Professor, Design
 Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
Dr. Claudia B. Rebola
Associate Professor of Industrial Design
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Dr. Elizabeth Dean Hermann
Professor, Landscape Architecture/Architecture
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Ziddi Msangi
Associate Professor of Design at UMass Dartmouth
University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth MA
Stephanie McGoldrick
Assistant Professor of Interior Architecture + Design
Mount Ida College, Newton, MA