Title: Common approaches to universal design of IT

Authors: Miriam Eileen Nes Begnum

Addresses: Faculty of Architecture and Design, Department of Design, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Teknologiveien 22, 2815 Gjøvik, Norway

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to advance methodological clarity on the divergence and overlap of common approaches used to obtain Universal Design (UD) in the field of Information Technology (IT). UD in IT has varied operationalisation, and different methodological stances are voiced. Industry faces a knowledge gap, where the best process decisions to facilitate UD remain elusive to most. This paper identifies and compares four methodologies commonly used to achieve Universal Design of IT-solutions. Stances expressed in highly cited literature are analysed for each identified design approach, applying iterative literature reviews. Methodological relationships between the approaches are comparatively analysed, discussed and modelled, as are their links to underlying stances such as epistemological and paradigmatic views, explaining their similarities, differences, and hidden values. Through this, the paper aids industry and practitioners in gaining awareness on the tacit stances linked to approaches for UD in the development of digital solutions.

Keywords: universal design; user-centred design; inclusive design; user sensitive inclusive design; participatory design; paradigm stance; epistemology; knowledge acquisition; critical thinking; design approach.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2022.130485

Journal of Design Research, 2022 Vol.20 No.3, pp.243 - 255

Accepted: 15 Apr 2022
Published online: 21 Apr 2023 *

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