ARTD Director Gerard Atkinson is presenting later this month at the Human Insights Conference in Melbourne, held by The Research Society. We caught up to chat about topic of universal design in market and social research.

What are you looking forward to about the conference?

The conference is the premier gathering of the market and social research community, bringing together people delivering research with the people commissioning it. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see what is happening at the cutting edge of market research, especially on the commercial side. Every previous conference I have been to has showcased a new approach or concept that I’ve then taken across to the program evaluation space.

Tell us about your session topic: What is universal design and why is it important in social and market research?

Universal Design (also sometimes referred to as Inclusive design) refers to the idea that we should design products, services and policies for all people to be able to engage with them. By doing this we not only reduce discrimination and exclusion in our society, but drive innovation and productivity.

While Universal Design has seen significant uptake in sectors such as urban planning, education and IT, the market and social research industry has yet to fully realise the potential of Universal Design in how it gathers, distils and acts on insights from the community. In fact, the discussion of Universal Design is conspicuously absent from research. This means that we are foregoing the benefits that can be created.

When we design and deliver research that meets the needs of all groups and enables all groups to participate in the research process, we get better insights that more truly reflect the views, preferences and wants of the communities we serve.

But rather than just argue for Universal Design, I’m going to show how it can be done. I’m drawing on real projects where our teams have applied Universal Design at all project stages, from design to delivery to reporting and recommendations. I want to give people a toolkit so that they can start incorporating Universal Design principles in their own research.

Any other presentations in the works for 2023?

I’ve got a couple of presentations coming up at the Australian Evaluation Society 2023 conference in Brisbane involving two of my favourite topics, AI and rubrics. I’m taking a look at the question of whether AI is going to take over the jobs of evaluators, and how we can responsibly and ethically use AI as part of our work.


Receive our latest news and insights
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.