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User involvement

There are many different ways of involving users in the design and development of products, systems and services, but one of the very rewarding outcomes are the multitude of insights that emerge.

Not all people with similar disabilities have the same needs or even the same manifestation of their disability, so providing accessibility options can support different ways to interact with technology, such as text to speech output and larger font sizes for an individual with visual impairments who may need both or use these techniques at different times.

Building flexibility into devices and applications, allows us to adapt according to circumstances, for example the ability to dictate a report whilst operating, but to use the keyboard at other times.

How research into user involvement is informing design

  • Researchers on the INREDIS project were examining problems people with disabilities faced using ATMs. They discovered jargon free language was beneficial, not just for people with certain types of disability, but for all users. They simplified the language, removing financial jargon, making the interface more ‘straightforward’

  • When IDEO researchers were working on new designs for ATMs they discovered that privacy was a major concern of users

  • The APSIS4All project developed new ways to interact with ticket vending machines. They asked about user preferences so people could create a personalised menu of things they wanted on self-service terminals (called public digital terminals in the video)

  • The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC), a UK-based independent consumer research charity that produces free, practical information for older and disabled people carried out a survey in Spring 2015 and asked 300 of its panelists to answer 4 questions about services, products and the environment relating to current consumer issues:

  1. What you like?
  2. What you don’t like?
  3. What you need?
  4. Your tips

Read their report: ‘Not ‘special’ - just better and think how Monika or other elderly people might answer their questions, focusing on technology accessibility and ease of use.

© This work is a derivative of a work created by The University of the Aegean, and licensed under CC-BY BY 4.0 International Licence adapted and used by the University of Southampton. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.

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This article is from the free online course:

Digital Accessibility: Enabling Participation in the Information Society

University of Southampton