Digital Volunteers in Disaster Response: Accessibility Challenges
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Original versionRadianti J, Gjøsæter T. Digital Volunteers in Disaster Response: Accessibility Challenges. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS). 2019;11573 LNCS:523-537 https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-23563-5_42
The emergence of the Digital Humanitarian Volunteer (DHV) movements when disaster strikes have drawn the attention of researchers and practitioners in the emergency management and humanitarian domain. While there are established players in this rapidly developing field, there are still unresolved challenges, including accessibility of their digital tools and platforms. The purposes of this paper are twofold. First, it describes the background, impact and future potential of the DHV movement, and discusses the importance of universal design for the digital tools and platforms used for crowdsourcing of crisis information. Second, this paper shows how lack of concern for universal design and accessibility can have significant negative impact on the practical use of these tools, not only for people with disabilities, but also for anyone and in particular the DHVs who may be affected by situational disabilities in the field in an emergency situation. The insights from the findings serve as feedback on how to improve digital humanitarian response by broadening the base of potential volunteers as well as making the related tools and platforms more reliably usable in the field.