Universal Barriers: What Are They and How Do They Relate to Digital Security

Wednesday 8th March 2023 

1pm, Robert Recorde Room 

Buffet lunch beforehand - 12pm, the Research Crucible

Talk Abstract:

Accessible and inclusive digital security is an emergent area of security technology and service design. In the UK there is a growing examination of what it means to design statutory services that are not only digital by default but that are also realisably secure for most in society. A library of universal barriers has been developed by the UK’s Government Digital Service in collaboration with designer and anthropologist Ute Schauberger. Such a library offers one means to evaluate the accessibility of a digital service. This talk sets out the 11 universal barriers, explores how they are relevant to security design and reflects on how security design processes might incorporate universal barriers as a design method.


Lizzie Coles-Kemp is a researcher at Royal Holloway University of London and specialises in the design of accessible and inclusive security technologies, practices, and processes. She has worked with marginalised and underserved groups since 2008 and her research has been supported by UK and European research funders. Lizzie is known for her field research on the impact of digital exclusion on digital security practices. She has a long track record of working in partnership with the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre as well as with local and central government.