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Ask the expert: Nalini Edwards

UX consultant and interface designer Nalini Edwards discusses her work on an accessible web survey platform at Heart n Soul.
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My name is Nalini Edwards and I’m a research assistant with Heart and Soul at the Hub in conjunction with the Welcome Collection and University of the Arts London. My role as a research assistant was to design and develop a prototype of a survey tool that would act as a research vehicle for the questions that our community wanted answered. A key aim for our project is to include people from the learning disabled and autism community in our design and research processes.
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One of the reasons that we decided to have a collaborative participatory approach to the design of the survey tool was because this particular community had been neglected in, their voice has been neglected in the design of digital products. So I set up a couple of workshops, which initially looked at some of the problems that this community has with answering surveys, accessing surveys. And once we’d identified some key problems, we designed some personas of learning disabled and autism individuals. And we kept those in mind whilst we co-created a prototype.
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User experience, as well as achieving a particular goal using a digital product, also includes finding that particular product credible or trustworthy and also persuasive so they’re more likely to return to using the product again. And in terms of accessibility, it’s ensuring that a digital product is both usable, credible, and persuasive for everyone.
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We have to obtain consent for all research processes. And that can be extremely challenging understanding what consent means, making sure the language around consent was accessible, and that they understood how their data was going to be used, how the outputs from the research and also from the design workshops was going to be used.
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We were quite lucky in that we were allowed to be exploratory in this project, that we were allowed to take our time with our research processes to ensure that our co-designers and co-researchers were comfortable with understanding the research processes, the methodology, and to make sure that I translated their voice and their experiences and had integrated them into the design of the prototype in a way that represented what they wanted.

Nalini Edwards is a user experience consultant and interface designer, currently based at the Heart n Soul project at the Hub at the Wellcome Collection.

Nalini is working on creating an accessible web survey platform in collaboration with people who have learning disabilities and autism.

In this video, Nalini describes her work on the project and why it is important. She also discusses the kinds of problems her work explores and tries to solve, and whether the terms ‘usability’ and ‘accessibility’ are interchangeable.

Share your experience

Think about your own experience of completing surveys, both online and in other formats.
  • What issues and challenges have you experienced when completing surveys?
  • How did the design of the survey impact on you?
  • How could your experience have been improved?
Share your thoughts with other learners in the Comments section.
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