Universal Design of Software Solutions: Necessary for some, good for everyone

The Norwegian government has made “necessary for some, good for everyone” a mantra of a new movement that aims to ensure that everyone can participate in society. One of the ways the government has tried to achieve this aim is through universal design. Universal design is the idea that the buildings as well as digital solutions can be made accessible to all people, regardless of age, disability, or other factors. In Norway, universal design is a legal obligation for all public service providers. It’s also good for business as including new untapped forms or revenue and market segments can help broaden a product or services appeal. However, according to the Norwegian government, public and private service providers have not yet fully adopted universal design as in the design and development of software systems.

The government agency, Difi, recently reported that one website stood out as an useful example of how universal design could be implemented in practice. The official website of the Norwegian police, politet.no, one of Bouvet’s clients gave us permission to present how this project took the grand challenge of universal design and made it part of the DNA of their website. The project team integrated a universal design approach in the development process from beginning to end.
This process provides an good practice approach for using universal design not only set an example for other businesses and government agencies, but to reach all of their citizens equally no matter their age or disability.

One of the great myths of universal design is that it is difficult to prioritize with all the other high demands that organizations face and that it will be expensive. However by integrating a universal design approach in technology development, software engineers and programmers have the opportunity to create low cost and easily deployable solutions for achieving universal design. As a result, their products and services enjoy greater usability, a better user experience and a truly equal approach to creating new technology.