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Journal of Usability Studies - Call for Articles: Special Issue on Universal Design and ICT


From: Sarah Swierenga
Date: Jun 16, 2009 10:00AM

JUS Call for Articles: Special Issue on Universal Design and ICT

Call for Papers for a Peer-Reviewed Special Issue of Journal of Usability

Information and Communications Technology - or Technologies (ICT) is an
overarching term that includes all technologies for the manipulation and
communication of information. It encompasses any medium to record
information (magnetic disk/tape, optical disks such as CD/DVD, flash memory
etc. and arguably also paper records); technology for broadcasting
information - radio, television; and technology for communicating through
voice and sound or images - microphone, camera, loudspeaker, telephone to
cellular phones. It includes the wide variety of computing hardware (PCs,
servers, mainframes, networked storage), the rapidly developing personal
hardware market comprising mobile phones, personal devices, MP3 players, and
much more, especially the rapid growth in digital information.

ICT has become an essential tool in education, employment, lifestyle and
recreation. Most people rely on ICT products both in their daily routine, as
well as for focused and more specialised activities. For example, telephones
and the internet are used to make dentist appointments and airline
reservations, ordering take-out food, calling relatives, communicating with
customers and colleagues, participating in conference calls at work or in
school, and making emergency calls. In addition, those concerned with
specialized communication activities use ICT for distance learning,
telecommuting, and videoconferencing, etc. The mobile phone has grown from a
simple voice-to-voice communication device to being a camera, music player,
hard drive and lifestyle accessory that many people have come to depend on.

Designing any product or interface involves the consideration of many
factors, including aesthetics, ergonomics, engineering, environmental
issues, safety concerns, industry standards, and cost. Typically, when
including people in this process, designers only consider the average user
and rarely include people of different ages and abilities. In contrast,
universal design (UD) is the design of products, environments, and
communication to be usable by the widest number of people, to the greatest
extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. The
concept can also be referenced as inclusive design, design-for-all, lifespan
design or human-centered design.
Specifically, barriers to standard electronic and information technology can
severely limit opportunities to education and employment for some people
with disabilities and reduce lifestyle choice and independence in
communicating with friends, family and social networks around them. This
includes telecommunications equipment and services. For example, part of a
multimedia tutorial that uses voice narration without captioning or
transcription is inaccessible to students with hearing impairments.
Similarly, using a computer mouse can be difficult for people with reduced
dexterity and scrolling through digital menus can feel unnatural for people
with cognitive or sensory impairment or those uncomfortable with the digital
world. A software program that requires an unnecessarily high reading level
may also be inaccessible to some people who have learning disabilities.

However, specialized software and hardware that is aimed at specific
disabilities have enabled certain marginalised groups to successfully use
ICT, though this can be generally categorised as assistive technology. For
example, a person with visual impairments may use a screen reader program
with a speech synthesizer to access the content and functionality of a
program. But such a system only provides access to the text presented on the
screen and to keyboard commands. It does not allow that visually impaired
user to view graphics or to access features that require the use of a
standard mouse. Although assistive technologies can give access and
independence to severely disabled users, their relevance to mainstream users
and hence their positioning within Universal Design needs to be further

To ensure access to all potential users, it is important that software and
hardware designers, engineers and producers continue to challenge the status
quo of ICT with the objective of minimising barriers to people who are
currently excluded on the grounds of age or ability whilst developing
products and services that build on assistive technology solutions.

This special issue provides a global forum for presenting authoritative
references, academically rigorous research and case studies in both
theoretical development and applied research. The aim of this special issue
is to capture and publish the latest thinking on a variety of topics related
to Universal Design and ICT.

We are inviting people from both academia and industry to submit articles
relevant to the following topics:
-- Web Design and Accessibility for People of different ages or abilities
-- Methods and Processes for Designing Universal Products, Interfaces and
-- Methods for Evaluating Usability and Accessibility
-- Products and Systems that go beyond an ergonomic approach to create
accessible lifestyles and give greater choice
-- Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction with an emphasis on
Universal Design
-- Assistive Hardware and Software Tools for Universal Design
-- Designing for a Specific Target Group and Reducing Stigmatisation
-- Rethinking usability within the context of Universal Design and ICT
-- Universal Design as a Strategic Tool for Product or Service Innovation
-- Universal Design and Standardisation
-- Universal Design and Legislation
-- The Business and Politics of Universal Design and ICT

Articles on these and other themes related to Universal Design and ICT will
introduce JUS readers to this important and growing area of practice and

Deadlines for submission

Submission of manuscripts – July 31, 2009
Reviews back to authors – October 2, 2009
Revised manuscript submitted – November 6, 2009
Final decision notification – November 30, 2009
Expected publication date – February, 2010

Any specific instructions for submissions
Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently
under consideration for publication elsewhere

All papers are refereed through a peer review process. A guide for authors,
sample copies and other relevant information for submitting papers are
available on the “Submission Guideline and Review Criteria” page
You may send one copy in the form of an MS Word file attached to an e-mail
(details in Author Guidelines) to the following editors:

Assoc. Prof. André Liem
Department of Product Design
Faculty of Engineering Science and Technology
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Kolbjørn Hejes vei 2B
N-7491 Trondheim
E-mail: <EMAIL REMOVED> < mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> >

Rama Gheerawo
Research Fellow
Programme Leader, Research Associates
Helen Hamlyn Centre
Royal College of Art
Kensington Gore
London SW7 2EU
United Kingdom

Dr. Sarah J. Swierenga,
Director MSU Usability & Accessibility Center (UAC)
Michigan State University
Kellogg Center, Garden Level
East Lansing,
Michigan 48824-1022
United States of America

Only upon acceptance, authors will be asked to transfer the article to the
JUS template (see “Submission Guideline and Review Citeria” page).

The Online International Journal of Usability Studies (JUS) is a
peer-reviewed, international, online publication dedicated to promote and
enhance the practice, research, and education of usability engineering.
Submission guideline and Review Criteria is to be found at: