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Empowered participation of users with disabilities in universal design


This paper provides an introduction to empowered user participation and its relevance for the universal design process. It highlights the benefits of user participation and proposes a way to implement it in projects. The paper is based on the experiences of the European project FORTUNE [3]. As an introduction, some basic considerations of the concepts of design for all and universal design are presented. The value of user participation in general and of users with disabilities in particular is discussed. Experience with the state of the art of user involvement in European Research and Development (R&D) projects is reported. The FORTUNE concept of user participation in projects is introduced as a reference model for participation of users with disabilities, and a set of criteria for the assessment of user participation is provided as a practical tool. A brief overview of methodologies for user participation and potential organisational frameworks is also presented.

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Published online: 18 September 2001

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Bühler, C. Empowered participation of users with disabilities in universal design. UAIS 1, 85–90 (2001).

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  • Key words: User participation – User involvement – Universal design – Design for all – Projects – Assistive technology