Crawling Inside Your User’s Heads: Designing for Empathy

Session Evaluation

Class description

Parallax scrolling, ghost buttons, placeholder text in forms, micro-interactions, card-based layouts, chatbots and hamburger menus on desktop are only but a handful of design trends that can seriously make or break user experience today. These popular trends shape not only the look and feel of the sites we visit, but also the overall experience we get when using those sites. As a result, popular design trends can create significant potential barriers for those of us who browse the web in different or alternative ways. However, by combining principles of universal design with the very idea of designing for the extremes, we can create experiences on the web that meet the expectations of the many by closely looking into the needs of the few. This 3-hour session will begin by analyzing some of the most prevalent web design trends of 2017, and provide actionable insights that will ensure people with disabilities, seniors and people marginalized by their use of technologies are not left out from the experiences we so diligently try to craft as designers and developers.

Through a series of workshop and role-play exercises, we will look at how these trends affect the majority of users out there, how we can avoid some of these problems without ultimately sacrificing our design goals, and how fleshing out personas with accessibility in mind can make a world of difference when it comes to understanding what it truly means to use the web as someone who uses the web differently. Designing for inclusion is a noble goal. But it’s a goal that can only be truly achieved once someone learns empathy. Understanding how people use the web and how the barriers encountered on that same web make them feel is the very first step on the journey to build the empathy required to truly care about the users and what their struggles are. Using tools like empathy maps and principles of inclusive design, we will take a few more steps towards that goal, together. Will you join us?


Denis Boudreau


May 17th, 2017


8:30 am-11:45 am

Class level


Class type



Design & Usability



Take Aways

  • A in-depth look at popular design trends, and the impact these trends have on people with various disabilities,
  • Ready to use, practical accessibility tips and tricks people can integrate into their design strategy today,
  • A new outlook on what it means to design content that can truly reach everyone on the Web,
  • Various ideas and ways to leverage personas for accessibility and inclusion,
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the users and their needs through building empathy maps.


Room TH 216

Session Evaluation

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