Skip to Content

Universal Design for Digital Media – a 3-credit course*

*(can also be taken non-credit & self-paced)

Course Title: Universal Design for Digital Media: Where Usability & Accessibility Meet

(listed as SPECIAL TOPICS IN TECHNOLOGY, ARTS, AND MEDIA: UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR DIGITAL MEDIA, ATLS 3519-581; non-credit class listed as NCTM 3519-581)

(self-paced versions of class are listed as ATLS 3519-640 and NCTM 3519-640)**

Register at:

CU Continuing Education (under ATLAS program)

Spring 2014 Schedule: January 21 – May 2, 2014

Course Description

Many web and media designers believe that the design process begins and ends with information architecture and visual design. Although these elements are important, other factors are equally if not more crucial for the design of successful web sites and other digital media. This course will examine the standards and methods for designing digital material that is not only accessible for persons with disabilities – a particularly important requirement for the web sites of public entities – but also effective and usable for all users and across platforms.

Prerequisites & Needed Coding Skills

ATLS 2000. Recommended prereq., ATLS 3010. Same as ATLS 5519 and 6519.

About 15% of assignments involve direct html/css coding. It is highly recommended that you either have experience with html coding or with at least creating web pages with a tool such as Dreamweaver. If you do not have experience coding we suggest you familiarize yourself with at least the basics by taking an online tutorial at resources such as: or Student who take this class without at least some coding experience will be at a significant disadvantage.

Course Scope

This course will review standards for usability and accessibility, focusing on the concepts of universal design, web standards and accessibility best practices. Resources and texts from media design experts such as Donald A. Norman, Wendy Chisholm, Derek Featherstone and Jeffrey Zeldman will be complemented with online resources and materials. Topics to be covered include (x)html standards, structured coding procedures, semantic web design, user-centered design, and validation tools, among others. There may be occasional live lectures and guest speakers – delivered through web conferencing but taped for later and repeat viewing, as needed by students. Students will complete weekly assignments and follow the overall schedule of the course through the semester.

Course Objectives/Methods

Through reading, projects and assignments, students will learn media design methods, along with the implementation of guidelines and tools to test the usability and accessibility of web pages and other electronic media. A class project will be assigned to plan and construct an accessible web site.

3 Track framework

Technology; Design & Testing; & Current Topics (e.g. Legislation, Case studies)


Howard Kramer

Mr. Kramer has been an Access Specialist at CU-Boulder and coordinator for the Accessing Higher Ground Conference for the past 15 years.

Kathy Wahlbin

Ms. Wahlbin is a Web accessibility consultant, founder of Interactive Accessibility and an ADA,  Section 508 and W3C WCAG accessibility expert.

Main Contacts

Howard Kramer, 492-8672,

Kathy Wahlbin,

Class frequency

Modules taken weekly by students at their own pace within the week.

(The self-paced section completes assignments at their own pace within a 6-month time limit)**


May be taken for 3 credits or taken non-credit.

Required Textbooks

  • Chisholm, Wendy; May, Matt. Universal Design for Web Applications (2009)
  • Zeldman, Jeffrey. Designing with Web Standards (3rd Edition)
  • Anderson, Erin. InterACT with Web Standards: A holistic approach to web design (Voices That Matter) (2010)

Material provided through course reserves

  • Norman, David A. The Design of Everyday Things (2002)
  • Cooper, Alan; Reimann Robert M. About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design (2003) (ISBN: 0764526413)

Other readings to be announced and posted – or pointed to – via Desire 2 Learn.

Optional Texts

  • Shea & Holzschlag. The Zen of CSS Design: Visual Enlightenment for the Web. Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press, 2005. (ISBN: 0-321-30347-4).

Planned Software for Class

Internet Explorer, FireFox, DreamWeaver, Safari, Notepad Plus, JAWS/Magic (can use demonstration versions).
Registration: Register online at: (Course is listed under the ATLAS program).
Pricing: contact Continuing Education at 303-492-5148 for pricing and registration questions. Additional contact information can be found at: Cont. Ed Site


For credit: $1029.

Non-credi: $626


** Those enrolled in the self-paced section will have 6-months to complete the course. You may petition once for an additional 6-month extension for a fee.