Inclusive Technology

Designing for Underserved and Marginalized Communities

Winter 2022 CMSC-20370/30370 @ University of Chicago


Creating technologies that are inclusive of people in marginalized communities involves more than having technically sophisticated algorithms, systems, and infrastructure. It involves deeply understanding various community needs and using this understanding coupled with our knowledge of how people think and behave to design user-facing interfaces that can enhance and augment human capabilities. When dealing with under-served and marginalized communities, achieving these goals requires us to think through how different constraints such as costs, access to resources, and various cognitive and physical capabilities shape what socio-technical systems can best address a particular issue. This course leverages human-computer interaction and the tools, techniques, and principles that guide research on people to introduce you to the concepts of inclusive technology design. You will learn about different underserved and marginalized communities such as children, the elderly, those needing assistive technology, and users in developing countries, and their particular needs. In addition, you will learn how to be mindful of working with populations that can easily be exploited and how to think creatively of inclusive technology solutions. You will also put your skills into practice in a quarter long group project involving the creation of an interactive system for one of the user populations we study.

Course Outcomes:

  • Build on knowledge of user-centered design process and the appropriateness of the individual methods for a given problem

  • Employ selected design methods and evaluation methods at a basic level of competence

  • Build prototypes at varying levels of fidelity, from paper prototypes to functional, interactive prototypes



Prof. Marshini Chetty

Crerar 355

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Teaching Assistants:

  • Walker Cook

  • David Liu

  • Takuya Kurihana

  • Madison Pickering

Class Location and Time:

Lectures: Tuesdays, Thursdays, 11-12:20 pm, Kent 101 (Zoom until Jan 24)

Office Hours:

  • Thursdays 3-4pm (Crerar 355; sign up in advance by emailing/sending Slack message to Marshini)

Communications and Assignment Submissions:

We will use Slack for all course communications and CANVAS and Gradescope for submissions. Please do not use CANVAS for any communications to the teaching team.