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Kathryn Wozniak, IDSA

Assistant Teaching Professor, Industrial Design, North Carolina State University

Kathryn Wozniak, IDSA

Kathryn is an experienced product designer and Assistant Teaching Professor of Industrial Design at NC State University. Her product portfolio includes a wide variety of parenting products, home appliances, medical devices, electronics, and other consumer goods. She teaches courses in digital techniques, social innovation, circular economy, sustainable design, and hands-on design studios.

In response to her experience with consumer product design and product development overseas, she sought a master’s degree in sustainability because she believes that the two disciplines should work in partnership. Kathryn is passionate about interdisciplinary collaboration to solve complex problems in a human-centered way.

Co-Designing with the Disability Community

Education Symposium

Rapid Fire Group D

August 25, 2023

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Industrial design students who co-design with an intended user are more successful in creating products that are accepted by the users than students who work in silos, either by choice or by logistical constraints.

It is well-established that professional industrial designers who have designed and launched consumer products must gather and use feedback from users to create a design that is well received in the market. Designing in a silo leads to implicit bias, exclusion of diverse opinions, expensive mistakes, and other such problems that make products unacceptable to produce.

Co-designing is the process of “spending time with a community partner, in their space, learning about needs, and working together through all stages of design” (Costanza-Chock, 2020).

In this case study, I facilitated and examined a graduate-level industrial design studio where students partnered with persons with disabilities from the local community to co-design inclusive products. I present findings from students whose projects were positively received by the intended community and recommend the tools and techniques that they used to other design educators and practitioners.

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