Breaking down Barriers (BdB) – our multidisciplinary inclusive design project – has received a Highly Commended Award for Innovation in Education and Training in the 2016 Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) International Innovation & Research Awards Scheme.
BdB champions a unique cross-disciplinary initiative to embed inclusive design across the University. Our BdB vision is to ensure Reading graduates across all disciplines advocate inclusion in their professional practices and bring real benefits to the everyday lives of all users, particularly people with conditions related to ageing and/or cognitive and physical disabilities. In Typography, we are engaging with inclusive design across a range of professional design contexts, including digital, packaging, print and wayfinding applications.
Typography students say that our BdB workshops have helped them “gain insight as to how thoughtful design can influence other industries and how we as designers must work together with these other industries in order to make the lives of the people that need a helping hand that little bit easier”.
CIOB Innovation and Research Awards highlight the importance of innovation and research in raising performance levels, enhancing best practice and improving the quality of the built environment. The CIOB judges said: “This innovation in education is a practical, engaging and demonstrable way to bring to life a real social challenge with widespread value and application. The innovation shows a genuine commitment to invest in the UK’s building stock and educate the next generation of professionals to ensure the needs of all users of a facility are firmly met.”
BdB began as an exciting collaboration between the School of Built Environment, the Henley Business School and the School of Arts and Communication Design in 2015. Since then we have been joined by staff within the School of Biological Sciences and collaborated with the Centre for Staff Development and, most recently, the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, as well as external partners.
Congratulations go to Part 3 students, Mel Towriss and Peter Loveland (pictured above) who, over the summer, took part in the University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme (UROP) and worked with Centre for Information Design Research. Their project examined how on-screen text format affected people’s reading speed and comprehension, as well as people’s views on which text formats were most appropriate for different purposes. The texts used for the study dealt with employers’ responsibilities to run a payroll and were drawn from the GOV.UK web site. Mel and Peter found strong agreement among study participants regarding the text formats; for example, what might be appropriate for beginner or professional readers of the information. Reading times for the different formats did not differ significantly across format but there were differences in comprehension of the information they presented. Mel and Peter were runners up in a research poster competition for all students taking part in the UROP scheme and will be taking their poster to the 2015 British Conference of Undergraduate Research.
The University has launched its biodiversity mapping tool, KiteSite, which is to be used in teaching to track sightings of plant and animal life and, through GPS, map their location on campus. The tool was developed from existing open-source software by a joint team of biologists, computer scientists and designers as part of a University-funded Teaching and Learning Development project. Typography and Graphic Communication student, Liam Basford (pictured centre), developed the branding and communications for the project. He is with Bethany Everett (left), one of a group of student volunteers who tested the tool, and Alison Black, of Centre for Information Design Research, who was part of the academic team involved in the project.
Design Star brings together world-class research in design for industry, interaction design, design process, communication design, sustainable design design history, curation and creative practice. Its spread of design disciplines is linked by a common approach to research that encourages the integration of history, theory and engagement.
Design Star research training is innovative, stimulating and relevant supported by a broader range of expertise and covering more methods than within any one single institution.
Funding for up to 12 PhD studentships is available for 2014/15.
The deadline for applications is Friday 28 February 2014.
We are delighted to announce the success of the Design Star Consortium, one of AHRC’s new Doctoral Training Centres. Along with design departments at Brighton, Goldsmiths, Loughborough and the OU, we have secured funding to support around 60 PhD studentships over the next five years.