2008: UX research, design and testing for all - models for bringing accessibility and usability together


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Presentation given by Jonathan Hassell (Head of Audience Experience & Usability, BBC Future Media & Technology) at UK Usability Professionals Association event in 2008.

Covers: 3 models for including disabled people in user-experience design of products (inclusion, personalisation, and beyond inclusion); pros and cons of integrating usability and accessibility; how and when to include disabled groups in user-research and user-testing methodologies

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  • Thanks Nicola. This is the last presentation – so start thinking of questions for the end…
  • I ’ ve been working in accessibility for years … And this is where we started …
  • The web isn ’ t so much about information any more. It ’ s so much more than that …
  • What people didn ’ t like about alternatives was where they weren ’ t as good as the real thing Web 2.0 seems to be all about personalisation now. Our recent research has shown that people want the BBC to enable them to personalise their experience of our website, personalising our homepage as Lucy mentioned, recommending TV programmes etc. So why not allow people to personalise the content…?
  • You see what I ’ m saying. There is no reason why we shouldn ’ t do the same things in researching the needs of disabled people as we would non-disabled users .
  • If we do anything like this at the moment, we do it separately…
  • So how many extra groups are we talking about including to our user research recruitment?
  • For test scripts - and if they are not, why not? The interaction between research from disabled people and non-disabled people is interesting here.
  • Briefly put…
  • 2008: UX research, design and testing for all - models for bringing accessibility and usability together

    1. 1. UX research, design and testing for all - models for bringing accessibility and usability together Jonathan Hassell Head of Audience Experience & Usability UPA event 7 th August 2008
    2. 2. What accessibility used to be… <ul><li>all about guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>techies trying to code to them </li></ul><ul><li>then trying to test with screenreaders </li></ul><ul><li>maybe a bit of testing with real people… if you ’ re lucky </li></ul>
    3. 3. What accessibility really should be… <ul><li>all about disabled people </li></ul><ul><li>it ’ s not about accessibility… or even usability… it ’ s about a great user experience for disabled people </li></ul><ul><li>whether they can get the right value out of what we create </li></ul><ul><li>exactly like we aim for, for every other audience </li></ul><ul><li>so that includes enjoyment and fun </li></ul>
    4. 4. Supporting this direction for accessibility <ul><li>accessibility has been heading towards “ usability for people with disabilities ” for years </li></ul><ul><ul><li>see PAS-78 Best Practice in Accessibility, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>new standards are taking it towards UX </li></ul><ul><ul><li>BS-8878 Accessibility Standards (in progress) </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Models for designing UX for all… <ul><li>model 1: Inclusion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the one size fits all “ design for all ” approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ie. what most people do at the moment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>design your product for the mainstream, tweak it so disabled person can use assistive technology to make it work for them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>problems: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>rarely are disabled people ’ s needs considered in detail, or compared with non-disabled people ’ s needs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>and if they are… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>reductionist, constraining, lowest common denominator </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>if you ’ re going to make it for all, it ’ ll be all compromise </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. SignZone on the TV </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Models for designing UX for all… <ul><li>model 2: Personalisation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>alternatives used to have a bad name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>alternative = badly maintained, cut-down </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rehabilitated by web 2.0 in mainstream </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>alternative = personalised for you </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>so why not for disabled people too… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>being able to select a simple interface (available on much software) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>being able to select how you want to view it… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>frees us from constraints, but requires more work, and testing of multiple paths/interfaces/content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>examples: iPlayer subtitles, BBC Display Options </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Models for designing UX for all… <ul><li>model 3: Beyond inclusion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>where even personalisation isn ’ t enough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>when the needs of a group of disabled people totally diverge from the non-disabled people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>you may need to do a number of versions of a product, each targetted at different audiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. SEN commissions on BBC jam </li></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 8. So which model should you choose? <ul><li>depends on the project… </li></ul><ul><li>all comes down to researching user needs of disabled and non-disabled people </li></ul><ul><li>we need to research those needs early, work out how homogeneous they are, and feed them into the production process… </li></ul><ul><li>and we need to test evolving products to see if they are meeting those needs… </li></ul>
    9. 9. Models of user-research and testing for all… <ul><li>currently we segment our user-research and testing via: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>usability – non-disabled people segmented via audience categories (age, gender) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>accessibility – disabled people segmented via disability categories (VI, HI etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>we do this because including disabled people brings up complications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>esp. with people with learning difficulties, although supporters should be able to help </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assistive technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>although not all disabled people use them… </li></ul></ul></ul>
    10. 10. How many categories are we talking about? <ul><li>approx 22% of all adults are covered by the DDA </li></ul><ul><li>and the breakdown may be surprising… </li></ul>
    11. 11. Is it better to do research together or separate? <ul><li>so is it possible that we are already including disabled people in non-disabled groups? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>we already have some evidence of people with mild disabilities/difficulties popping up in usability recruitment without explicitly asking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>because disability is just one aspect of who a disabled people is… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>so we could be duplicating effort </li></ul><ul><ul><li>especially if test scripts are similar </li></ul></ul><ul><li>could it be more useful to segment disabled people into: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>those who can and who can ’ t be included with non-disabled people for a particular research methodology </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Will integration work? - checking against research methodologies… <ul><li>for formative research… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>could definitely do this with people from all disability groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>try segmenting according to communication ability (esp. focus groups) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>for wireframe testing… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>okay for all except: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>blind people (can ’ t see them) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>people with cognitive difficulties (difficulties with imagination) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>for prototype testing… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flash prototypes work for most disability groups… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>but screenreader users require something almost fully coded </li></ul></ul><ul><li>for task-based usability testing… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>by this stage what you are testing could be tested by all </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. The benefits <ul><li>segmenting your testing this way is more efficient </li></ul><ul><li>you won ’ t forget disabled people until too late </li></ul><ul><ul><li>get results earlier as you don ’ t group everyone with screenreader users </li></ul></ul><ul><li>you can get side-benefits… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>aging people aren ’ t necessarily “ disabled ” but they have many of the same needs, and are one of the largest underserved web audiences… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>you ’ ll have a better chance of producing products that really give a good UX for all </li></ul>
    14. 14. But does it work in practice? <ul><li>this is a direction we are angling towards at the BBC </li></ul><ul><li>we have a history of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>much screenreader testing as we go along </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more extensive accessibility testing at the end </li></ul></ul><ul><li>we ’ ve already done really useful formative research on media habits of people with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>learning difficulties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>vision impairments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>65+ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>but it ’ s early days… </li></ul><ul><li>what do you guys think? </li></ul><ul><li>over to you… </li></ul>
    15. 15. e: jonathan@hassellinclusion.com t: @jonhassell w: www.hassellinclusion.com Contact me