WHAT IS THE IDEAL UX?
When each user’s understanding meets the
Katy opens up a 401k and needs to pick
investments. However, Katy knows nothing about
investing, rendering the functionality useless.
product failure gap
Abilities Software functionality
Eric is blind using VoiceOver and trying to buy a
product on a website. The site can’t be read by a
product failure gap
(only accommodates vision)
Talk to a human…or have another human show you
WE DESIGN FOR ROBOTS
We let technology constraints determine how people
should use things
We don’t think about how humans communicate
Two people rarely think about tasks the exact same
We believe “I am human, therefore I understand how
other humans will do this”
People must learn how to use software correctly.
Software will learn to how to understand people
so it can help humans use it.
BUT I CAN’T BE THERE!
A UX practitioner can’t help each individual use
the product correctly. But artiﬁcial intelligence
software may be able to.
Machine learning: more accurate outputs using data,
personalization (Ex: Google Now)
Voice: A more interactive and conversational approach
to technology that can anticipate many circumstances.
Advanced Interfaces: UX practitioners will develop
more and more dynamic experiences that are
conversational rather than static.
Real Time Computations: Translate languages
instantly, using data to continually improve
Responsive web design is an example of a
contextual custom interface:
MORE DYNAMIC EXPERIENCES
Turbotax and Betterment are already creating
software concepts that guide complex ﬁnancial
functions for laypeople.
FILLING THE GAP
Can the average person ﬁll out U.S. tax returns alone? No.
Do people know where they work? Yes.
The software ﬁlls in the gap with data covering every form and
scenario, but presents simple questions to get the input needed to
When it comes to taxes or investing, there’s a ton
of options, but the user only knows their scenario.
The software hides everything else.
Requires listening to users upfront, then building
the interface with that feedback.
Hurdles are “anticipated” or removed.
MOTIVATION & FRICTION
Motivation: will the user want to do it?
Friction: will users be able to do it?
Understanding motivation + friction and
applying this knowledge before launch
Contextual Inquiry: watching what users do on
their own, interviewing to discover desires,
Usability Tests: great for identifying friction,
supplemented with analytics trends, heatmapping
DON’T WAIT TILL ‘ERROR’
In-line errors rather than submission
Not asking the user excess information
Learning algorithms & data
WCAG: LEARN IT
There’s lots of resources!
Money Argument: people with disabilities have credit
cards, there’s a ﬁnancial loss
Moral argument: providing equal access is the right
thing to do
Experience argument: accessibility will create better
product UX for all
Lawsuit argument: software that violates the ADA
could be taken to court *what most US stakeholders fear*
TECH AS HUMAN RIGHTS
Theory: As transactions over technology increasingly
aﬀect quality of life, equal experiences will continue to
become more legally and ethically contentious.
SEPARATE BUT EQUAL?
Goal: true equal access, not a “separate” or lesser
“Separate [facilities] are inherently unequal”
- Brown vs. Board of Education, 1957
This lunch counter is for white diners only.
African Americans can use other facilities.
The app and its perks are designed for seeing
customers only. Blind customers can go to the
store in person.
DIGITAL AS A SPACE
ADA Title III: Are apps places of public accommodation?
Video without captions: this is for hearing people only
Text embedded into images: this is for seeing people who
speak this language only
Nonstandard HTML: this is for sighted people only
FILLING THE GAP
Future technology will extend itself to help people expand
It’s possible in the future the software might
detect how the user is accessing and “customize”
Ethical question: would some people want an
app/site to know how they were accessing if it
provided a better experience?
A blind user wants to buy shoes from an
eCommerce site. The site detects a screenreader
and changes to a conversational audio experience,
listening to what they are looking for.
“Hi, I want to buy a pair of women’s running shoes in size
11 under $100.”
“We have three pairs that ﬁt that, ranging from $65-97.”
“How much is the top rated one?”
“The top rated one has 4.5 stars with 101 reviews and
comes in blue and grey for $85.”
“I’ll buy one.”
“Ok, I’ll add one pair to your cart and check you out.”
EQUAL TECH ACCESS
Better options for various disabilities, skill and
knowledge levels, languages
Goal: true equal access to the internet and
software content equivalent to others, not a
“separate” and lesser experience
“Organizations which design systems ... are
constrained to produce designs which are copies of
the communication structures of these
— Melvin Conway, 1968
Can Only Ever Be as Mindful as
SOFTWARE FOR HUMANS
We can creatively include human culture and
biology in new technology.
We can direct artiﬁcial intelligence to increase
human quality of life.
We can design software that creates equal access by
being mindful of diversity.
Think like an anthropologist
Create with accessibility in mind.
Professor Gary Lee Todd
AllanPH, RadioFan, Graysick, Patrick J. Lynch, Norwood, Hans-Werner34
VA Minneapolis Health Care System