Accessibility navigation

Fairness in design: a model for critically analysing digital government forms

Khara, A. (2022) Fairness in design: a model for critically analysing digital government forms. PhD thesis, University of Reading

Text - Thesis
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.

[img] Text - Thesis Deposit Form
· Restricted to Repository staff only


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00114379


This thesis investigates the role of fairness in the design of digital government forms, and attempts to answer the primary research objective: how can digital government forms facilitate fairness for everyone, i.e. forms users and issuers? The research begins with an overview of government forms in Singapore, then reviews concomitant literature on the design of paper and digital forms. The review shows there is a consensus that forms are co-authored documents involving an exchange of information between issuers and users. Government forms add an additional layer of complexity to these exchanges since they not only serve as information documents, but also legal instruments, with power to enforce user participation and impose punitive measures for incomplete or false responses. Users are therefore subjected to exchanges in which the rules of participation are dominated by issuers, while typically bearing the penalties for errors that arise from poorly designed forms; this leads to unfairness for users. However, it is also unfair for issuers to absorb complete blame for failed exchanges, given the co-authored nature of transactions embodied in forms. Accordingly, the thesis explores prevailing philosophies of fairness across disciplines, ultimately settling on Rawlsian notions of cooperation, reciprocity, and compromise. These are matched with extant forms design practices to establish a framework capable of integrating Rawlsian principles of fairness with co-authorship. This framework is used to analyse two digital government forms in Singapore. The findings are then mapped onto a fairness model — a qualitative approach to identify problems in the design of digital forms. The model equates effort needed by least advantaged forms users, with design opportunities that issuers ought to provide to every user regardless of any user’s inherent abilities. In doing so, the fairness model responds to the primary research objective by: (i) identifying fairness gaps in Singapore’s digital government forms design; (ii) drawing out optimal fairness zones for participation between users and issuers; and (iii) establishing a set of criteria for integrating the fairness model into existing, and emerging, design practices to produce digital government forms that are fairer for everyone.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Leonidas, G.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Arts and Communication Design
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Typography & Graphic Communication
ID Code:114379


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation