Minby - accessible web application to engage youths in community development
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How can web applications help youths to engage in community development and e-governance? This research is a part of a larger ongoing project held by Work Research Institute (AFI), Norway who has been working since 2014 to empower and engage youths in community participation in the capital city of Oslo. In this paper, we developed a web application named Minby to investigate the potential of web solutions to increase youth engagement in participatory community building and governance. The application acts as a digital platform for youths to share ideas, opinions, and agendas related to the surroundings, and develop a social network with youths around them. We developed a web application using an agile approach with user-centered design to make the solution more inclusive and usable to diverse groups. Digital technologies like social medias have helped connect people worldwide and made the information sharing easier than ever. There is immense potential for such online platform to fill the gaps of participation in community and governance. Youth participation is considered very important for making change in society. However, they are not well positioned and their voices are given less priority in important policy making and planning processes. Moreover, youths facing some kinds of disabilities face various challenges in participation and to share their opinions and ideas. In this context, we developed a digital platform in web with the intention to reduce the gaps between youths and their community participation. We evaluate the web application using various accessibility evaluation methods to evaluate the accessibility of the system. Furthermore, we carry out user testing to evaluate the accessibility and usability of the system among the targeted groups. We further discuss the outcomes of the evaluation processes, key methodological challenges and limitations of the study and conclude the paper with possible future works and potentials that can enhance the participation for social change.