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2013 Keynote: David Sloan, PhD

photo of David Sloan
David Sloan – photo courtesy of Headstar Gallery

Topic: Teaching Universal Design – the Dundee Approach

Wednesday, November 6, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm


The University of Dundee’s School of Computing has for a long time championed the integration of universal design into its teaching and research. This keynote will tell the story of how one person came to study computing as a student with no awareness of digital accessibility, and became a researcher, consultant and teacher specialising in universal design. I’ll reflect on the factors that combined to place universal design at the heart of the curriculum (and beyond), the people who led the Dundee initiative, and offer some thoughts on how we can sustain and grow the profile of universal design education in tomorrow’s technology-enhanced world.

David Sloan’s Bio

David Sloan is a Principal User Experience Engineer with The Paciello Group.  Before joining TPG in May 2013, he spent over 10 years as project lead of the Digital Media Access Group, an accessibility and research consultancy unit based at the University of Dundee in Scotland, and also established and co-ordinated the University’s Web Accessibility Support Service.

After originally training as a cartographer, and working for 4 years with HarperCollins Cartographic, David Sloan moved to Dundee in 1998 to study for a Master’s degree in Applied Computing. He then spent nearly 14 years at the School of Computing ( developing a hybrid role as a researcher, teacher and consultant specializing in the process and practice of inclusive design of digital systems.

During that time, he managed several accessibility, inclusive design and usability projects for a range of clients in industry, academia, government and non-profit sectors. This gave him acute insight into the challenges and opportunities that digital accessibility work presents, and experience of observing first-hand the issues that older and disabled people encounter when using information and communication technology; insight that he now puts to use building up TPG’s user experience services.

During his time at Dundee, David also established the University’s Web Accessibility Support Service, providing specialist advice to staff across campus on digital accessibility issues, working closely with colleagues in Disability Support, Information and Communication Services, and the Library and Learning Centre. He also devised and delivered staff training workshops on web authoring and accessibility; and has also taught on a range of degree courses, covering subjects including HCI, web authoring and inclusive design.

In 2006, David completed his Ph.D, investigating the effectiveness of the web accessibility audit as a motivational and educational tool. He continues his involvement in accessibility research as an external examiner of Ph.D theses in the same subject area, a reviewer of journal and conference papers, and as a member of the W3C Research and Development Working Group (RDWG).

David has spoken at academic and industry conferences and seminars around the world, on various topics relating to digital accessibility and inclusive design. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the annual W4A Cross-disciplinary International Conference on Web Accessibility, serving as Program Chair of W4A 2008 in Beijing, and General Chair of W4A 2009 in Madrid.

When he’s not writing, reading and talking about digital inclusion, David can usually be found outdoors – orienteering, running, hiking or cycling; or indoors – cooking, drinking good wine, and wishing Scotland could start winning again at football or rugby.

Twitter: @sloandr