Innovative Designs for Accessibility Student Competition

illustration: a light bulb floats above the palm of an articulated hand

Do you have an idea, concept, or design that addresses everyday accessibility issues?

Share your concepts, programs, initiatives or designs to develop innovative, cost-effective, and practical solutions to accessibility issues.

Download Competition Guidelines [PDF] Competition details – including eligibility, selection, and prizes – are available from the organizer, Universities Canada.

Submit an entry

Using the form below, submit a brief video (30 – 90 seconds) to the U of T IDeA Competition Selection Committee. Your video should outline your accessibility solution, identifying which barrier it addresses, your strategy for overcoming this barrier, and who will benefit from your solution.

Entries must be submitted by May 18, 2018

If nominated by the Selection Committee, applicants will receive an email inviting them complete the IDeA competition’s submission form, due by May 31, 2018, which will include four short essay questions and the ability to upload your project. Full submission criteria will be provided upon successful nomination.

IDeA Competition Submission

Contribute your ideas for addressing barriers to accessibility
  • Fields marked with an asterisk ( * ) are required.
  • Name * Required
  • University Affiliation
  • Students must present a solution that addresses one of the identified accessibility barriers.
  • Kindly provide a link to your submission for review. Your video should outline your accessibility solution, identifying which barrier it addresses, your strategy for overcoming this barrier, and who will benefit from your solution.
  • If nominated by the U of T IDeA Competition Selection Committee, applicants will receive an email inviting them complete the IDeA competition’s submission form, due by May 31, 2018, which will include four short essay questions and the ability to upload your project. Full submission criteria will be provided upon successful nomination.

Submission Categories

Entrants must present a solution that addresses one of the following accessibility barriers:
Attitudinal barriersBehaviours, perceptions, and assumptions that discriminate against persons with disabilities. These barriers often emerge from a lack of understanding, which can lead people to ignore, to judge, or to have misconceptions about a person with a disability. For example, making a person feel as though you are doing them a “special favour” by providing their accommodation, or assuming a person with a disability is inferior.
Organizational or systemic barriersPolicies, procedures, or practices that unfairly discriminate against individuals with a disability and can prevent these individuals from participating fully in a situation. Organizational or systemic barriers are often put into place unintentionally. For example, meetings or office hours conducted in person only, or not allowing individuals to access the information by phone, e-mail, or other means of communication.
Architectural/physical barriersElements of buildings or outdoor spaces that create barriers to persons with disabilities. These barriers relate to elements such as the design of a building’s stairs or doorway, the layout of rooms, or the width of halls and sidewalks. For example, sidewalks or doorways that are too narrow for a wheelchair, scooter or walker. Another example, poor lighting that makes it difficult for a person with low vision or a person who lip-reads to see.
Information or communication barriersThese occur when sensory disabilities (such as hearing, seeing, or learning disabilities) have not been considered. These barriers relate to both the sending and receiving of information. For example, electronic documents that are not properly formatted and cannot be read by a screen reader.
Technological barriersThese occur when a device or technological platform is not accessible by its intended audience and cannot be used with an assistive device. Technology can enhance the user experience, but it can also create unintentional barriers for some users. Technology barriers are often related to information and communications barriers. Examples include Learning Management Systems, Customer Relationship Management Systems, and websites that cannot be accessed using screen reading software or do not meet accessibility standards.

Eligibility

  • This competition is open to students currently enrolled in any post-secondary program at a university which has recognized provincial degree granting power, or their affiliates.
  • Applicants must have demonstrated they have consulted with a person(s) with a disability(ies) for feedback on their concepts, programs, initiative or design.
  • Students must demonstrate that their submission adheres to accessibility standards.
  • If students work as a team, they will be required to nominate one member to act as the team’s delegate, the official point of contact for the team.

About the Administrator

Universities Canada administers the IDeA student competition, a national program funded by the Government of Canada’s Employment and Social Development Canada. Universities Canada’s mandate is to facilitate the development of public policy on higher education and to encourage cooperation among universities and governments, industry, communities, and institutions in other countries. Learn more…