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VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon

Inclusive Digital Application

Alternative title: Inkluderende digitalt arbeidsliv

Awarded: NOK 9.0 mill.

The IDA Project is about cost / effect analyses and the assessment of impact of measures for universal design of IT and ICT systems. Research suggests universal design as a good strategy to improve the opportunities for individuals with impairments to participate in the digital society on equal means with others. In Norway, 15 to 19 percent of the population (Bufdir; 2020), or roughly 930,000 individuals, have an impairment. At the same time, “little is known about the effects of universal design, in particular its benefits, but also costs”, as Proba samfunnsanalyse wrote in a report for the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs in 2020. The IDA Project seeks to remedy the situation and gain new knowledge in this area. We are rolling out measures for universal design of IT systems in a controlled manner and measure costs and effects regarding accessibility, usability, user experience, efficiency, and other factors. Norsk Regnesentral cooperates closely with one of Norway’s leading providers of health systems, DIPS AS, who provide central IT systems as case for this project. Other project participants are the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration, the Norwegian Health Hub (Norsk helsenett), the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted, and the Norwegian Federation of Organizations of Disabled People. With improved knowledge about the profitability of universal design, we will be able to give better recommendations to companies, public administration, and politicians for more inclusive workplaces and universally designed technical solutions. Our vision is less exclusion of vulnerable groups and more equal opportunities to be part of the workforce, to reduce the share of people working part-time, and in general to increase individuals’ quality of life. We anticipate further universal design to contribute to a better user experience for all users of IT systems.

The IDA Project is about the effects of accessible and universally designed IT systems for the inclusiveness of digital workplaces. The project’s vision is to reduce exclusion, in particular among employees with impairments, to prevent withdrawal, contribute to longer working lives, and increase the individual quality of life. While working life in Norway is a field that is not covered by the Directive for Universal Design of ICT, recent research has documented many examples of barriers and areas of exclusion for employees with impairments. Moreover, it is well known that the share of impaired individuals who are not part of the workforce - but want to be - is much higher than among non-impaired individuals. Difficulties and barriers are often caused by technical issues and the lack of universal design of technical solutions, in particular when ordinary IT systems are combined with impaired employees’ assistive technologies. The IDA Project aims to prove that universal design of ICT can remedy this situation and increase the inclusiveness of digital workplaces. To reach this goal, the project group’s strategy is to carry out multiple effect analyses. Universal design measures are applied to an IT system widely used in the Norwegian health sector in a controlled manner, such that their costs are known. These investments are then contrasted by the effects measured for employees with and without impairments with regard to factors like technical access, user experience, user satisfaction, efficiency, and so on. Finding the most appropriate methods for the implementation of measures, user participation, carrying out trials, evaluating the trials and measuring all relevant factors will be part of the research.

Funding scheme:

VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon