Identifying Five Archetypes of Interaction Design Professionals and Their Universal Design Expertise
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Systems and services based on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) are now prevalent in our daily lives. Digital transformations have been, and are still being, initiated across private and public sectors. As such, the consequences of digital exclusion are severe and may block access to key aspects of modern life, such as education, employment, consumerism and health services. In order to combat this, regions and countries such as the USA, Canada, EU and Scandinavia have all legislated universal design (UD) in relation to ICT, in order to ensure as many citizens as possible have the opportunity to access and use digital information and services. However, there has been limited research into how higher educational programs address legislated accessibility responsibilities. This paper looks into the discipline of interaction design (IxD). IxD is the design domain focused on ‘how human beings relate to other human beings through the mediating influence of products’ (Buchanan, R. (2001) Designing research and the new learning. Des. Issues, 17, 3–23). The study presents an analysis of Norwegian higher educational programs within IxD. Based on document analysis, we map the skillsets the study programs state to deliver and investigate to what degree UD expertise is included. Our findings indicate the study programs do not deliver adequate training in UD, in order to fulfill the professional responsibilities related to ICT accessibility. From our findings, we extrapolate five ‘archetypes’ of interaction designers. These personas-like analytical constructs hold slightly different characteristics. For each of the five, we propose UD expertise fitting key skillsets. We hope our contributions are useful both for the higher education sector and the industry and will contribute to raised awareness of UD skills so they can educate interaction designers in their different industry roles with required competences.