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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

Published in: Technology, Design
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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: t: @jonhassell w: Contact me