Let’s move beyond word battles and separatism: Strategies and concerns regarding Universal Design in Sweden

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Purpose – Universal design (UD) is defined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and adopted in Sweden as a guiding principle for the design of new products, facilities, services, etc. This study aims to contribute to knowledge about UD in practice – how it is conceived,
experienced and discussed in Sweden, especially regarding education, working life and housing.

Design/methodology/approach – A group interview and a workshop (immersion into personas and scenarios) with 14 practitioners of inclusion and accessibility from academia, civil society, business and the public sector were analyzed with qualitative content analysis.

Findings – The participating practitioners related UD to a cluster of terms for inclusion and wanted to communicate the reason for UD rather than battling about words. Flexibility was considered openness to the diversity of human conditions and situations combined with individualization capacity including assistance. Short-term demands for access and compliance to minimum standards must be balanced with long-term learning processes. Evaluation, relation-building and dialogs must update and contextualize UD, for example, in relation to categorization.

Originality/value – This study yields an in-depth picture of how the practice of UD is conceived, experienced and discussed among Swedish practitioners of inclusion and accessibility. It elucidates dissonances between experiences and ideals, standardized and flexible design, and the interests of users and institutions. It enhances knowledge of tHe dilemmas in inclusive and diversity-based practices, as well as the implementation and promotion of UD,
Sidor (från-till)15-29
TidskriftEquality, Diversity and Inclusion
StatusPublished - 2022 mars 28

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Omvårdnad

Fria nyckelord

  • Accessibility
  • Disabilities
  • Diversity
  • Practice
  • Universal Design
  • Inclusion


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