Most web developers act in blindness when they design accessible websites, since they know next to nothing about disabled people and the technology they use. Accessibility guidelines and validation tools doesn't provide this insight. Accessibility should rather be approached from a user centred perspective.
Personas are "hypothetical archetypes" of actual users. They are not real people, but they represent real people during the design process. A persona is a fictional characterization of a user. The purpose of personas is to make the users seem more real, to help designers keep realistic ideas of users throughout the design process.
This paper identifies challenges for a user–centered design process with respect to infusing accessible design practices into electronic and information technology product development. Initially, it emphasizes that when user–centered design is paramount and concurrent with accessible design, electronic and information technology can be accessible for all. Next, it provides an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Section 508. Last, it provides basic accessible design heuristics that can be integrated into the design process. It concludes with recommendations for a paramount and concurrent user–centered design approach to product development.
Empathy is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. We have an ability to imagine things the way that others see them and how it makes them feel. We don’t even have to have a disability ourselves. Accessibility is NOT a checklist. Accessibility is about usability. Accessibility is a paradigm shift. Accessibility is a personal issue.
As some in our profession have come to realize, social media and use of the Web in general have changed (and are still changing) the way in which people access and use information.
Activity modeling is a systematic approach to organizing and representing the contextual aspects of tool use that is both well-grounded in an accepted theoretical framework and embedded within a proven design method. Activity theory provides the vocabulary and conceptual framework for understanding the human use of tools and other artifacts. Usage-centered design provides the methodological scaffolding for applying activity theory in practice. In this Technical Paper, activity theory and usage-centered design are outlined and the connections between the two are highlighted. Simple extensions to the models of usage-centered design are introduced that together succinctly model the salient and most essential features of the activities within which tool use is embedded. Although not intended as a tutorial, examples of Activity Maps, Activity Profiles, and Participation Maps are provided.
While user-centered design (UCD) is a commonly used process for designing mainstream hardware, software, and web interfaces; design for accessibility is relatively uncommon in education and practice. As a result, the scope of users and the situations in which they operate products is not as inclusive as it could be. Designing for accessibility does not require a whole new process. Accessible design techniques fit well into established UCD processes for designing a range of products, from a handheld device, to office software, to a government web site. By integrating accessibility into the design process, designers can efficiently create products that work effectively for more people in more situations.
eXtreme Programming and other agile processes provide a middle ground between chaos and over-elaborate processes sometimes referred to as 'death by documentation'. A particular attrtactive aspect of the agile approach for many teams is its willingness to accomodate change no matter how advanced development might be. However, this very flexibility can cause user interface design issues and ensuing usability problems. Adopting a user-centered approach to user interface design can address these issues, as the following simulated conversation between a user-centered design consultant and an XP team leader will explain.
Technical writers have known for years that a good explanation for a bad software interface may be better than nothing, but that it’s not as good as a usable software interface. With ‘usability' gaining greater visibility, this is a good time to implement a usercentered design process. This article looks at ways that the approach and techniques of such a process can be applied to the task of introducing a new process.
Aesthetic value can and should be part of the total design effort, including the information architect's perspective to achieve a 'total integrative experience.' Here are four ways to think about aesthetics and beauty to structure and focus the dialogue with UX peers: visual designers, programmers, content producers, strategists, etc.
This study seeks to apply ecological psychology's concept of "affordance" to graduate students' information behavior in the academic library, and to explore the extent to which the affordances experienced by graduate students differed from the affordances librarians were attempting to provide.
Here they come. Nightmare web sites that, from a usability perspective, are horrid monsters. When you're tired and in a hurry, you want a web site to quickly and easily provide relevant content to you, so you can solve a problem or perform some task. Discover common hideous impediments to web usability. WARNING: Not for the faint hearted!
At the end of April 2002, the AIGA Experience Design SIG will hold its first joint Forum as part of CHI 2002. Intended to be the first of several collaborative ventures to bring the Experience Design communities of practice together, the success of the forum marks a milestone in the life of the AIGA ED group.
Users are repulsed by web sites that are narcissistic, egotistic, corporate-speak, hard to understand, and difficult to use. Users are attracted to and enjoy web sites that are altruistic, user-prioritized, user-focused, easy to understand, easy to use, and full of fresh, relevant content.
Findability is one of the most thorny problems in web design. This is due in part to the inherent ambiguity of semantics and structure. We label and categorize things in so many ways that retrieval is difficult at best. But that’s only the half of it. The most formidable challenges stem from its cross-functional, interdisciplinary nature. Findability defies classification. It flows across the borders between design, engineering, and marketing. Everybody is responsible, and so we run the risk that nobody is accountable.
Interview with John Carroll, best‑known among technical communicators as “The Father of Minimalism,” a title he earned as a result of his popular book, The Nurnberg Funnel.
The purpose of this research is to analyse the behaviour of the users of a package of electronic journals using the data of consumption per IP address. The paper analyses the data of consumption at the University of Barcelona of 31 electronic journals of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2003. Data of sessions, articles downloaded and abstracts viewed were analysed.
In this article, I will outline an approach to gleaning insights from primary qualitative research data. This article is not a how-to for creating the design tools that are often the outputs of primary qualitative user research—such as personas, mental models, or user scenarios. Instead, it identifies an approach to generating overarching insights, regardless of the design tool you want to create.
In this podcast, Nicky Bleiel says we should talk to as many users as we can — conducting on-site visits, sending surveys, gathering information from Marketing, Support, and other departments — so we can have a better understanding of our users’ needs and the formats and mediums that will work best for them. After completing this audience and needs analysis, we can then go out and create the deliverables that will best serve our users.
The design community keeps making a lot of noise about designing for people/users/customers. However, while this notion is well-intentioned and even conceptually correct, I find much of it boils down to empty rhetoric. What exactly are we doing? More user research? More usability testing? Certainly these are valid approaches to finding out about people's needs, but they're only a small part of an optimal solution. Are we using hollow tasks and tools like personas and scenarios? Those approaches typically take design farther away from the people for whom we are designing products rather than closer. How about focusing on usability and the user experience? That gets at only part of the issue and tends to come from the perspective of the product--as opposed to the more universal needs and desires of actual people.
Given just a bit of information, we naturally crave more. Given a puzzle, we have to solve it. So, as interaction designers, how are we using this bit of insight into human behavior?
I find that many designers give much more of their time to learning the latest standards trick than learning the latest “designing for users” trick. Here are a few reasons why this may be so.