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A Framework for Digital Inclusion

An Agile Software Initiative for Bridging the Digital Divide

Time: Fri 2024-06-14 13.00

Location: VIC Lab, Lindstedtsvägen 5

Video link:

Language: English

Subject area: Human-computer Interaction Computer Science

Doctoral student: Dena Hussain , Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign, MID

Opponent: Professor Jonathan Lazar, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA

Supervisor: Jan Gulliksen, Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign, MID; Olga Viberg, Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign, MID; Rebekah Cupitt,

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QC 20240515


Digital inclusive services refer to technologies designed to diminish social inequalities and ensure equal access to information and communication technologies for all individuals. Previous research has explored various strategies and assessment methods to promote digital inclusion, including the use of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), co-design methodologies, and customised ICT platforms. These studies have compared results obtained through different approaches, such as assessment techniques, user preferences, and technical barriers. While there is a growing need for digital services to be inclusive, there has been limited research exploring how development methods, accessibility features, and stakeholder involvement intersect. Moreover, to fully utilise the potential of technology for societal benefit, it is essential to consider the perspectives of various stakeholders, including developers, designers, policymakers, and end-users alike. Thus, effective promotion of digital inclusion requires a multi-stakeholder development process, actively involving stakeholders with diverse expertise, such as developers, user experience (UX) designers, and accessibility specialists. This thesis aims to explore various factors that can influence the development of inclusive digital services, focusing on the dependencies among stakeholders, agile processes, and accessibility qualities. Employing a mixed methods approach, including workshops, interviews, and surveys across five studies, this research investigated and identified current development processes, as well as the relationship between stakeholder knowledge and accessibility attributes. Each study pursued specific objectives to analyse factors such as the dependencies among stakeholders, their roles, and knowledge levels. By gaining insights into stakeholders' perceptions of accessibility requirements and guidelines, key themes and patterns emerged in the development of a dependency framework. This framework underscores potential dependencies, including stakeholders' domains and the use of customised ICT tools. In conclusion, the research highlights the imperative for continuous collaboration and recognition of factors influencing interdependencies in the development of inclusive digital services. The thesis underscores that sustaining accessibility qualities requires ongoing efforts, considering variations in stakeholders' awareness and roles. The main contributions lie in highlighting the importance of tools that foster collaboration between software engineering and human-computer interaction, ultimately bridging the gap in ensuring inclusive digital services.