Norwegian version

Making ICT solutions more accessible

Anna Batzeri holding a computer where the screen shows the website she is helping to develop.

Master’s student in universal design of ICT, Anna Batzeri, is working on a project about healthy food and nutritional values.

A calculator for nutritional values

‘I am building a calculator to help people in the food industry calculate the nutritional values of new products they are going to launch to the market,’ she says.

‘It makes it easier for them to see whether they are following all the guidelines and whether the food is healthy enough.’

‘For example, if the Norwegian dairy company Tine wants to launch a new yogurt, they must follow certain rules about the values this kind of food must include.’

About the project

“Fremtidsmat” (future food) has developed nutrition guidelines in collaboration with OsloMet and Nofima.

These nutrition guidelines are based on the Norwegian dietary recommendations, “Nøkkelhullet” (the Keyhole label), and the guidelines set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

This project aims to design and develop a webpage using a user-centred design approach.

The webpage will be used for calculating nutrient content in line with the official dietary guidelines in Norway and with the criteria for EFSA health/nutrition claims.

Everything is linked to universal design

‘How is this linked to universal design of ICT, which you are specialising in?’

‘I have learned that everything is linked to universal design.’

‘The project doesn’t have to do with helping people with disabilities, for example cognitive disabilities or limited vision.’

‘Universal design has to do with the system being universal designed, so that everyone working in the company can use it, whether they have a disability or use assistive technology.’

Anna shows us a prototype, a website hosted online.

‘It is still in development,’ she says.

Anna took over this project from another universal design student who had been working on it for six months.

Making it easier to follow nutritional guidelines

‘At the moment, we are focusing on the web calculator, called “Possible nutrition and health claims”’.

The food industry will be able to use it when they create new products.

‘There is legislation that they must follow, and all the guidelines are mentioned there. It is a bit complicated and it takes a while to figure out what it is about and how it works.’

‘The web page makes it easier if you don’t have any knowledge of the legislation.’

‘You can use the calculator and quickly find out whether the product complies with the guidelines and legislation or not. You do not need to know special details.’

Anna at the information centre at the Faculty of Technology, Art and Design. There is a wooden panel and green plants in the background.

'On LinkedIn and other platforms where employers post vacant positions, I see more and more often that they mention universal design. People have universal design in mind,' says Anna Batzeri. Photo: Olav-Johan Øye

Preparation for working life

‘What do you personally find interesting in this project?’

‘I am learning a lot about nutritional values, looking into the calories and sugar content in the food.’

‘But the main thing that I like is that it is preparing me professionally for what it will be like when I finish my master’s degree and start working in ICT. I am learning a lot from this process.’

‘How is the project useful for your education?’

‘Most of the courses I have taken in universal design until now have been theoretical. I have learned about legislation, assistive technology etc. I am now getting a chance to put this theoretical knowledge into practice.’

Customer feedback is an important part of the project.

‘We are following standard procedures, where we assure the customer that the website is accessible, interactive, simple and understandable.’

The market is hungry for people with knowledge about universal design of ICT. – Anna Batzeri

Curiosity triggered by universal design

‘What made you choose Applied Computer and Information Technology (ACIT) with the specialisation in universal design?’

‘I took a bachelor’s degree in information and communication technology in Albania that focused on software development. I had a few jobs after that, which were rather mundane, e-shopping projects for example.’

‘I knew I was capable of doing more, and then I saw this specialisation at OsloMet while I was living in Oslo, and universal design triggered my curiosity.’

‘I was seeing ads from social media about universal design of ICT. I was curious when I saw famous people talking about universal design, and what makes it important.’

‘I thought it would be a good thing to study, it could be useful and helpful to other people, and maybe myself too. At some point, everyone will face challenges from some sort of disability, poor vision for example.’

Anna with a computer in her arm on campus.

'Universal design is about everything around ICT, because now everyone is paying their invoices, banking and booking tickets online,' says Anna Batzeri. Photo: Olav-Johan Øye

New knowledge does wonders

‘Who is suited to universal design studies?’

‘Maybe if you already have a background in technology and you are working in the industry or the public sector, you could combine your experience with taking a master’s degree in universal design to gain more knowledge.’

‘If you already have some experience, your new knowledge will do wonders.’

Everyone needs universal design

‘What kind of benefits do you think studying universal design of ICT can have?’

‘The good thing about universal design is that it is not just about caring and knowing how to tackle a situation involving disabilities, it is also about everything around that technology, because now everyone is paying their invoices, banking and booking tickets online.’

‘If you work in a bank for example, where the online banking system has thousands of users, it needs to be as accessible as possible.’

‘Universal design can play a role here. It is not only about building new technology with AI and sensors, but also about web development, user experience (UX), user interface (UI) and other things.’

Optimistic about job opportunities

‘What kind of job can you get with this kind of education?’

‘It depends on what you enjoy doing. I would like to work on the development side. Maybe initially as a junior counsellor.’

‘What kind of job opportunities does your education give you?’

‘I am optimistic. I am on LinkedIn and other platforms where employers post vacant positions, and I see more and more often that they mention universal design. People have universal design in mind.’

‘The market is hungry for people with this knowledge. Hopefully, the number of vacant positions will increase.’

Diverse ICT environment at OsloMet

‘How have you benefited from your education at OsloMet so far, are you satisfied?’

‘Yes, I am. I feel well taken care of.’

‘The class is nice, and the instructors are always helpful if you have questions or problems.’

‘What has studying at OsloMet been like, in relation to other students?’

‘It has been great. I have met a lot of students in universal design and other specialisations.’

‘We had some common courses in ACIT for all the specialisations, so I met people from quantum informatics (mathematical modelling). That was interesting and new to me. Cloud computing, robotics and control as well as artificial intelligence (AI) were also compelling.  I am also taking some elective courses in AI now.’

‘I feel more confident in myself and in finding a position with extensive responsibility. So now I can apply for a wider range of jobs and positions.’

Easy to fit in

‘What do you think is the most interesting aspect of the universal design of ICT programme at OsloMet?’

‘Maybe the atmosphere, and the environment the lecturers and the university create for the students, especially for the international students. I found it easy to fit in, and not be left out. It is important that everything is in English.’

‘Universal design is a rather new specialisation, which is not available at many universities. It is still under development, but it is well organised here.’

Just apply, don’t think about it

‘Do you have any advice for others who would like to take the same programme as you?’

‘Just apply. Don’t think about it. Especially if you are not that happy with your job and you want to go back and study more. That is what happened to me. All the lecturers will take good care of you. So, you do not have to worry,’ concludes Anna Batzeri.

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