Getting Ready for the Thesis Gong Show


Just kidding- everything is going to be ok. So last week we put together a 2 minute quickie of our thesis idea for spring semester. I have been seeking out feedback and advice voraciously because I’m eager to go in this new career direction.

Here is my elevator pitch:


Hi everyone, my name is Lauren Race and I’m here today to talk to you guys about usability and accessibility.

So, 1 in 4 of adults in the United States have some type of disability. Unfortunately, more often than not, technology is built in consideration of the remaining 80%.

But we can use technology to provide equal access to all people. Digital accessibility considers users with a range of abilities.

And making things more accessible benefits everyone because if it’s not accessible, it’s not usable.

For the first 11 years of my career, I spent my time as an art director creating what I thought the user needed. I made stuff and hope it stuck.

I was miserable but I didn’t know why, so I decided to use my experience as a foundation to build something new.

I’d been using the same creative recipe for years, where the brand was central. I came to ITP to shift that focus because I care way more about the user than any brand. I want to create what the user tells me they need. And since I’ve been ITP, I’ve come to believe one thing.

Technology assists people better when they take part in its design.

So the question would be: How can I show the contrast in usability between when a user does and does not take part in the design process?

The idea would be to create two high-fidelity assistive tech prototypes that solve for the same human problem. One where I make what I think the user wants and one where I make what they tell me what they want along the way.

I’d use human-centered design to observe, ideate, rapid prototype, user test, iterate, and implement.

I’d use qualitative and quantitative research to compare and contrast usability between the two prototypes via user testing.

With those results, I’d determine the overall usability when the user is or is not present throughout the design process.

The story is rough but it’s coming together. I recorded and transcribed and, though I loathe the recorded sound of my own voice, it will help me to simplify my wording and to speak in my own language.


  • Example of what’s the difference between what I created top down and what I would like to see created bottom up. Is there a current example I’ve already made?
  • Why am I into accessibility? Why do I care? I am able-bodied.
  • Need to change some of the language that is esoteric like, “low-fidelity prototype”.

The next step will be to create a 4 minute presentation that is more robust, while incorporating the above feedback.


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