What is Users as Experts?

With the stricter legal requirements on accessibility, the demand for knowledge about how digital interfaces work for users with different needs is increasing.Those who really know how the interfaces work are, of course, the users themselves, but there is no organised way to make use of that experience. In addition, there are no tools that clearly describe what the users' expertise includes and entails. A first step towards being able to formalise and give recognition to users' expertise is about identifying and developing the area itself for users' knowledge and experiences of accessibility.

On that basis, it is possible to develop training that in turn can lead to work for the target group. In the EU-funded project Users as experts, Funka and partners will investigate how user expertise has been utilised in different contexts and what the core of users' expertise consists of when it comes to web accessibility.

There is a gap in the accessibility market, says Emil Gerjot, Researcher at Funka. Around Europe, the demand for accessibility expertise is so high that neither we nor anyone else can meet it all. At the same time, we know that there are so many users who know where the shortcomings are, because they themselves have experienced them. We want to try to close the gap between supply and demand by involving users in the loop.

The first tasks in the project are about producing examples of how user expertise can be handled and developing a typology for user expertise in the area of ​​web accessibility. Based on this, we develop a model for how users' knowledge can be utilised in different contexts and a draft syllabus that can be used to train users to become experts in web accessibility.

We hope that this project can contribute to raising awareness among vocational schools and other trainers about the benefits of building education based on users’ experiences and knowledge regarding accessibility.

Title: Users as Experts
Partners: Funka (leader), Synthesis, DiAS, Furuboda (Partners)
Budget: 225.385 EUR
Duration: November 2020-October 2022