Everyone has the right to be a Web citizen!

In the research project Web citizens the topic is social media and universal design. A broad-based group will deal with important and exciting challenges for people with different assumptions and needs. Many businesses are using social media as part of their communications strategy. We are focusing on how this type of technology can be developed in a universal way. The project is supported by IT Funk.

Story by: Morten Tollefsen - 28.09.2010

The main objective of the project is to: "Develop a solution that demonstrates how social media can be used to promote community participation for all".

Four milestones have been set up for the project, and three of them to a large extent summarize the R & D challenges in this project:

  1. Identify central accessibility challenges in user interfaces for social media: we know the challenges are considerable relating to the use of assistive technologies and social media and other rich internet applications. There is presently limited information about which challenges there are and how these should be solved. User contact, standardization work and user-centered design  will help to identify problems and find innovative solutions.
  2. Develop methods to ensure the universal design of social media: knowledge of universal design and developing technology has limitations. In this project existing methodologies are considered, and new methodologies will be developed to ensure that universal design is part of the development process.
  3. Design, user test and evaluate a demonstrator: the demonstrator will serve as a pilot for both the user interface and method development. The R & D challenges here must take into account people's differing assumptions and needs, support for standards in existing technology, and implementation of tests / feedback from disabled users.

The project will help to develop new skills in a field where there is little systematic knowledge both in Norway and other countries. The aim is that the project results can be used by businesses to utilize social media communications strategy which reach everyone. This will be of great social importance, both with regard to people's democratic rights and opportunities to participate in social communities.

The project starts in 2010 and will finish in 2012.


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