Jutta Treviranus is a full Professor at the Ontario College of Art and
Design University (OCADU) in Toronto, Canada. She is the Director
and Founder of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and the
Inclusive Design Institute (IDI).
Treviranus is a world expert in the field of Inclusive Design and has made appearances at the White House and United Nations. She has “led many international multi‐partner research networks that have created broadly implemented technical innovations that support inclusion.” Her work has included designing open source content and helping implement accessibility legislation, standards, and specifications. In 2013, the Governor General of Canada awarded Treviranus the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. ZoomerMedia chose Treviranus as one of Canada’s Top 45 over 45 in 2012.
Treviranus graduated from University of Toronto in 1981 with a B.Sc. in Occupational Therapy. In 1994, she earned a M.A. in Special Education from University of Toronto; she continues to pursue post graduate work at SMARTlab, University College Dublin, Ireland.
At the beginning of her career, for the first personal computers – the Apple II Plus, the Tandy Model 100, the Texas Instruments computers, and later the Commodore 64 and Vic 20 – Treviranus designed alternative access systems for people with disabilities. She was assisted by experts at the University of Washington, the National Research Council Rehabilitation Technology Unit and the Microcomputer Application Program at the Hugh MacMillan Centre.
This project began while Treviranus was under contract as a tutor at McMaster in the Faculty of Health Sciences to integrate 12 students with disabilities into McMaster University in compliance with Bill 82, the Ontario Education Act by the Education Amendment Act, 1980, which states that “the responsibility of school boards to provide (or to agree with another board to provide) in accordance with the regulations, special education programs and special education services for their exceptional pupils.” The McMaster experience “was a pivotal moment for Treviranus and inspired her work with people with disabilities (PWDs) and in the field of Inclusive Design.”
In 1994, Treviranus founded the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) at the University of Toronto. Her first major research project was in collaboration with SoftQuad and Yuri Rubinsky, funded by Canarie. The goal of the project was to embed accessibility support into HoTMeTaL, the first HTML editor. This in part, with Mike Paciello’s help, led to the formation of the Web Accessibility Initiative of the W3C.
Treviranus moved the ATRC to OCAD University in 2010 and rebranded it as the IDRC. “She has played a leading role in developing accessibility legislation, standards and specifications internationally (including WAI ATAG, IMS AccessForAll, ISO 24751, and AODA Information and Communication)”.
In 2000, Treviranus was a chief expert witness in Maguire v SOCOG 2000 an Australian human rights case regarding the inaccessibility of the Sydney Olympics. Bruce Maguire won the case leading to changes in accessibility requirements at international games. Further, as a result of this case, the Australian government made the decision to require its agencies to employ W3C Guidelines.
In 2007, Treviranus was an expert witness in the Donna Jodhan Canadian Supreme Court case whose verdict compelled the Canadian Government to make all of their websites accessible.
As the founder of the IDRC and the IDI, one of the areas that Treviranus focuses her efforts on is making the internet accessible through research on assistive tools such as screen readers, touch pads and joysticks. Treviranus’s research has been used by the Government of Ontario Diversity Office as well as by the United Nations to create disability policy such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Her work is the focal point of a feasibility study by the United States Department of Education on accessibility.
As a university professor, she established a new Master of Design in Inclusive Design (MDes ID) programme at OCAD University in 2010. The MDes ID programme teaches the fundamentals of Inclusive Design. “Part of the reason I came to OCADU was because there was the opportunity to start a new graduate program.” What is unique about the MDes ID programme is that the students in the programme are selected for their diversity – from a very wide range of interests and expertise.
In 2012 Treviranus cofounded the annual Designing Enabling Economies and Policies (DEEP) Conference to “engage in substantive in-depth discussion about implementation strategies for digital inclusion of persons with disabilities among decision makers promoting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in their respective countries; To identify levers and innovative approaches that go beyond current strategies.”
Treviranus is the lead project editor of the ISO 24751 standard, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 36, which supports automatic matching of user accessibility needs with digital resources and interface configurations. Jutta Treviranus chairs the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AUWG) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative.