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2008: Barriers to use of the web by people with dyslexia
 

2008: Barriers to use of the web by people with dyslexia

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Presentation given by Jonathan Hassell (Head of Audience Experience & Usability for BBC Future Media & Technology) for Christian Heilmann's 'Scripting Enabled' conference and hack day 2008. ...

Presentation given by Jonathan Hassell (Head of Audience Experience & Usability for BBC Future Media & Technology) for Christian Heilmann's 'Scripting Enabled' conference and hack day 2008.

Covers: statistics on the how many people in the UK have dyslexia, literacy difficulties, ADHD or have a low reading age; common symptoms of dyslexia and their impact on dyslexic's ability to read and write on the web; solutions like changing background colours, use of easy to read fonts and better page structure; findings of BBC research into website personalisation tools (often marked as AAA on sites); their intended users liked the effect of the tools, but rarely had used them as they didn't know what they were for; most people who need to change the font size or colours on a website had no idea browsers had functionality to do this; they want easily identifiable customisation solutions that work on all sites and on Flash as well as HTML content

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  • I am going to ask the awkward questions – the ones which ARIA and even technology can ’t fix, but really need addressing… This stuff is more about content. And it ’s just as important.
  • Audio description – good info and clip @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/policies/audiodescription/ Virtual environments are getting more and more important, not just for games, but also for education Gartner (in 2007) estimated that, by 2010, 80 percent of active Internet users would have a presence in a virtual world such as Second Life
  • I am going to ask the awkward questions – the ones which ARIA and even technology can ’t fix, but really need addressing… This stuff is more about content. And it ’s just as important.
  • I am going to ask the awkward questions – the ones which ARIA and even technology can ’t fix, but really need addressing… This stuff is more about content. And it ’s just as important.

2008: Barriers to use of the web by people with dyslexia 2008: Barriers to use of the web by people with dyslexia Presentation Transcript

  • Jonathan Hassell Head of Audience Experience and Usability BBC UX&D Scripting Enabled 19 th September 2008 Barriers to use of the web by people with dyslexia
  • What I ’m going to talk about…
      • some info on dyslexia… and other literacy-related difficulties
      • what some of the barriers are…
      • what helps…
      • what you could do to help…
      • NB. I am indebted to others ’ research – where sourced outside the BBC, all images in this presentation hyperlink to the research documents/websites they are taken from…
      • think across all disabilities (each has a different challenge)
      • make sure you actually make things multi -modal via personalisation
        • Access it – access services like TV
          • subtitling vs. captioning
          • audio description
          • signing
        • Control it
          • tabbing down to one key is do-able…
          • structured/hierarchical + intelligence is best (http://www.ics.forth.gr/hci/ua-games/ua-chess/play.html)
        • Feel it and navigate it – immersive environments
          • Generally good for many
          • Alternative interfaces - try Second Life via a text adventure interface
          • spatial/3D audio for blind people
      • talk to Gamelab or the IGDA-SIG on games accessibility
    On games (off/wider-topic)
  • Literacy difficulties – some stats…
      • 1,900,000 people in the UK have some form of dyslexia (source: BDA)
      • 1,100,000 adults in the UK have a reading age of 5 or less ( source: Skills for Life National Needs and Impact Survey, DfES, 2003)
      • 500,000 UK children, have ADD or ADHD (source: National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) Guidance)
      • not to mention:
        • people with learning difficulties
        • people for whom English is not their first language
  • Barriers: dyslexia
      • Common symptoms
        • Letter reversals – d for b
        • Word reversals – tip for pit
        • Inversions – m for w, u for n
        • Transpositions – felt for left
      • Rivers of words – being drawn to the spaces…
    • Other useful refs:
    • http://www.dyslexic.com/vision
  • Barriers: dyslexia
      • A simulation
    Where to get it: http://www-staff.lboro.ac.uk/~cvnb1/dyslexsim/
      • Web 2.0 is about contributing…
        • dyslexics may want to contribute… but words are the problem
        • so they might not want to add to wikipedia or email to “have your say?”
          • Compare the task of “email friends” in Facebook (for example) to Outlook (for example)
        • but they might if the site ’s text entry mechanism includes a spell-checker…
          • you can find AJAX ones on the web if you try
        • and they might win Upstaged if they upload their video contribution to it…
    Barriers: and it ’ s not just reading…
  • Solutions: dyslexia and web/print
      • reading
        • non-white page backgrounds
          • gels, overlays and coloured lenses ( 50% of 7-11 yr olds reported improvements )
        • easier to read fonts
        • bigger fonts
        • shorter lines
        • better page structure
        • “ easy read”
          • more concise text – bullet points
          • simpler vocabulary (Plain English, reading ages…)
    • Other useful refs:
    • http://www.dyslexic.com/vision
  • Solutions: dyslexia and multimedia
      • or you could try not using words…
        • audio (podcasts, audiobooks)
        • diagrams, pictures, animations, videos
  • Solutions: dyslexia and web personalisation
      • If you do have to use text, and you don ’t want it to look like this for everyone…
      • Try and use personalisation…
      • In a BBC study (2008)
        • dyslexic users were receptive to amending fonts, colours and word spacing and found the resulting customisations improved the readability of the page
        • but they would often avoid changing settings regularly out of laziness, lack of customisation tools or embarrassment
          • especially if they had to share their computer with others…
        • none had ever imported their own stylesheet, nor did they know how to do so
        • voicing tools were also very well received although concerns about their controllability were commonplace.
  • Solutions: dyslexia and web personalisation
      • If you do have to use text, and you don ’t want it to look like this for everyone…
      • Try and use personalisation…
      • In a BBC study (2008)
        • dyslexic users were receptive to amending fonts, colours and word spacing and found the resulting customisations improved the readability of the page
        • but they would often avoid changing settings regularly out of laziness, lack of customisation tools or embarrassment
          • especially if they had to share their computer with others…
        • none had ever imported their own stylesheet, nor did they know how to do so
        • voicing tools were also very well received although concerns about their controllability were commonplace.
  • Barriers: ADHD, Learning Difficulties
      • Users with ADHD
        • keep the text short
        • may “get bored” if pages are text heavy
        • may have to read information twice because they have not taken any of it in
        • may suffer issues with concentration so the manner and style in which information is presented can influence them either positively or negatively (ie. they may get bored if it ’s not brief and fun)
        • may want to go straight to what they want – e.g. traditional search engines could provide ‘too many results’
      • Users with learning difficulties
        • may find complex language and jargon make pages difficult to understand
        • NB. some people with more severe LDs may not understand the concept of customisation at all, or find it so hard to use they don ’t bother
  • Solutions: dyslexia, ADHD, LD, Aspergers…
      • All of these groups of users benefit from customisable font size & colour
      • As do those with a low-level vision impairment
      • In a BBC study (2007), low-vision users:
        • had greater experience of customisation using browser and hardware settings than others who would also benefit
        • one participant (who had retinitis pigmentosa) required to amend monitor brightness.
        • one of the participants said that he regularly browsed the web wearing sunglasses to reduce screen glare.
        • high visibility settings were most important to these participants.
        • certain high visibility combinations could cause visual ‘interference’ (yellow on black in one case) so there was a requirement to allow easy selection of colours.
        • one of the participants advised that any customisation tool would need to be able to take into account both his needs and his family ’s requirement for ordinary browsing.
  • Solutions: dyslexia, ADHD, LD, Aspergers…
      • All of these groups of users benefit from customisable font size & colour
      • As do those with a low-level vision impairment
      • In a BBC study (2007), low-vision users:
        • had greater experience of customisation using browser and hardware settings than others who would also benefit
        • one participant (who had retinitis pigmentosa) required to amend monitor brightness.
        • one of the participants said that he regularly browsed the web wearing sunglasses to reduce screen glare.
        • high visibility settings were most important to these participants.
        • certain high visibility combinations could cause visual ‘interference’ (yellow on black in one case) so there was a requirement to allow easy selection of colours
        • one of the participants advised that any customisation tool would need to be able to take into account both his needs and his family ’s requirement for ordinary browsing.
  • That recent BBC research…
      • Tested with 15 users with the following disabilities:
        • 7 x Dyslexia
        • 2 x Learning Difficulties
        • 2 x Low/Poor Vision
        • 4 x Cognitive Impairment
      • Of those, at the start:
        • Only 4 users regularly customised their web experience.
        • The remaining users were split between:-
          • Those who were unaware of page customisation tools.
          • Those who were aware but didn ’t use them as they felt that they were for users more disabled than themselves.
        • There was some awareness, particularly amongst dyslexic users, of browser controlled customisations.
        • Only low vision and dyslexic users had any awareness of assistive technology
  • Reviewing BBC Display Options A good selection of presets is really useful, but can be inflexible… So provide more options too, and a way of previewing their effect…
  • Throwing the baby out with the bath-water?
    • While these are simpler… and could be useful for low-vision groups…
    • … and the ability to distinguish links from non-link text was critical to the dyslexic, cognitive and low vision groups…
    • people were not receptive to text only pages on the whole.
    • They would prefer to labour on and use a graphics heavy page, even if a text only page was available
  • Dyslexia sites using Textic toolbar
    • NB. note the black on yellow/beige – colours that dyslexics prefer
    • people generally +ve about the toolbar - clear to use, instant feedback, liked being able to change the font typeface
    • positioning is crucial for findability
    • speech can be very useful, if under the user ’ s control (see also Browsealoud, ReadSpeaker)
  • Summary of findings…
    • Awareness/education
      • Participants were generally unaware of onsite customisation tools.
      • The customisation system needs to be findable…
      • Perception that customisation was ‘too much effort’ and that it could draw unwanted attention to their disability.
      • Awareness of assistive technology was very low, although some dyslexic participants had used page reader software for non-web content.
    • Barriers/solutions
      • Participants were receptive to the idea of customisations
      • The “Three A’s” tools were well received but in many cases the individual settings were not clearly understood.
      • Suggested common settings included:-
        • Text size
        • Text and background colour
        • Line and character spacing
        • Speech controls
      • Participants expressed the opinion that more customisation controls were better than less, and wanted to control each setting as a separate entity.
    • What they really want…
      • They understood that settings would persist across the site where they were but not across subsequent sites.
      • They wanted a ‘one size fits all’ solution for customising the users web experience across all sites
  • What you could do to help…
      • Don ’ t just rely on your users using the browser?
        • font resizing isn ’t enough…
        • and many people don ’t know that option exists in the browser
      • Ideally users would like need customisation solutions that work across
        • all technologies (e.g. Flash as well as HTML…)
        • all sites (can be applied to existing sites without changing them)
      • Inspired?
        • help us create the solution
  • e: jonathan@hassellinclusion.com t: @jonhassell w: www.hassellinclusion.com Contact me