Capturing volunteered information for inclusive service design: potential benefits and challenges

Inclusive Design focuses on understanding the broad spectrum of peoples’ needs and abilities, with a view to developing more successful products and services. However, peoples’ experiences with products and services are dynamic and multi-layered, presenting a unique set of challenges for Inclusive Designers. This paper presents the concept of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) as an integral part of future inclusive services. By utilising crowd-sourced data, services can become more efficient, intuitive and relevant for a wider population than previously possible. The potential benefits and challenges are presented and explored through a series of qualitative case studies. These focus on the differences in data generated by disabled and older people, and the uniqueness of the information gained. This type of information has the potential to provide a better match between user needs and service delivery, and enable the successful longer-term evolution of services.