Towards Inclusive Service Design in the Digital Society: Current Practices and Future Recommendations

DS 91: Proceedings of NordDesign 2018, Linköping, Sweden, 14th - 17th August 2018

Year: 2018
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Bue Lintho, Oda; Begnum, Miriam
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: NTNU
ISBN: 978-91-7685-185-2


The field of service design(SD)is fast growing. SD methodology focuses on ensuring positive user experiences across types of touch-points, types of mediums used (digital, paper, TV, radio etc.), devices (mobile, web), platforms (iOS, Android, MS, Linux), browsers, usage situations, weathers (rain, sunshine, cold weather) and so forth. However, universal design (UD) related to SD is under-researched. This paper aims to increase the knowledge of UD in SD. An exploratory approach is used to gather information, including a literature study and an interview study. Our findings show that UD awareness is lacking. Processes are highly qualitative –seeking to understand the user. However, marginalized users are not included. Based on the findings, we suggest six initiatives to promote a more inclusive SD methodology: 1) Define UD in relation to services, 2) Change the legislated focus from digital touchpoints to holistic costumer journeys, 3) Make service designers accountable for UD aspects, 4) Add UD aspects in early design-up-front, 5)Promote marginalized user focus during design and 6) Integrate UD aspects in higher education on SD. Further, we propose the following definition of UD in SD: “A service is universally designed when its customer journeys are usable to all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design apart from choosing preferred touchpoints”.

Keywords: Universal design, Inclusive design, Service design, Legislation, Education, Methodology, User involvement, Disabled user groups, Digital exclusion


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