UW–Madison’s Lee offers new course focused on accessibility in graphic design

UW–Madison’s Taekyeom Lee, an assistant professor of graphic design in the School of Education’s Art Department, is spearheading a new course that is titled, “Graphic Design for Accessibility.”

According to the syllabus, enrolled students will learn how to design for accessibility with various prototyping skills using digital fabrication and user testing.

Lee working with students

Lee’s creation of this class was inspired by his own struggles with vision during his graduate study. He unexpectedly had to go through multiple eye surgeries that required a two-month long, face-down recovery, in which he had to remain looking downward during all daily activities.

“The experience changed my personal and professional life forever. I learned to appreciate the difficult experience and find a silver lining in a dark cloud,” Lee says.

Lee adds that “creating visual communication for accessibility is required for people with low vision and vision impairment; fostering accessibility in graphic design education is necessary and enables us to embrace the entire people.” He is also proposing presentations and panel talks about accessibility in graphic design education and research.

The course will consist of both individual and group assignments, ranging from “designing accessible packaging,” to “understanding the user-centered design process.” Lee hopes that students will come out of the course understanding the importance and impact of designing for accessibility and inclusion.

The class will be one of the first graphic design courses at UW–Madison to address the issue of vision and accessibility in the classroom, and will be offered for the first time as ART448 Special Topics course in Fall of 2023. The School of Education Programs Committee is currently reviewing the course proposal as a standard offering.

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