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Designing for People Who Struggle with Reading and Attention


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Imagine you’re almost done with your taxes—but you’re ravenous and the smell of Indian food is wafting through your window, your electricity is randomly turning off for 30-second blips, and the neighbor’s infant is incessantly scream-crying. How successful will you be finishing your taxes? This session will include simulations so you can get a sense of reading as a low-decoder, and of completing web-based tasks when you lack the ability to filter out distractions and/or struggle with short-term memory. We’ll observe usability test session video clips of some of the obstacles introduced by interface design choices. You can’t design effectively for low literacy and attention disorders if you don’t understand how these issues affect people as they try to work online. We will look at good and poor design implementations of forms, touch and ajax interactions, search interfaces, and layout choices. Come to this session and improve your design for as much as 15% your audiences.
(This presentation was given at UPA Boston's 2012 User Experience Conference)

Published in: Design, Technology, Education

Designing for People Who Struggle with Reading and Attention

  1. 1. Designing for People WhoStruggle with Reading and Attention Julie Strothman User Experience & Project Manager Green River @strottrot
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  3. 3. Literacy Skills Sound recognition Spelling patterns Word meaning Inference Critical analysis
  4. 4. Common hurdles for people with learningdisabilities:Short-term memoryDiscriminating critical fromnon-critical informationHighly literal interpretationFine motor coordinationExecution of complex sequential operations
  5. 5. Make clickable targets larger This option (has no label) That option (has label) <input type=“radio” name=“this-option” id=“options-this” value=“”> <label for=“options-this”>This option</label> Fitts’ Law: The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target.
  6. 6. Support Attention Recovery
  7. 7. Support Recognition over Recall
  8. 8. Avoid Dismissible Error Messages
  9. 9. Provide hints inline: during data entry
  10. 10. Provide hints inline: vocabulary support
  11. 11. User Strategy: Guess When Possible “Do you know what this is for?” “I don’t know, but I really don’t like reading, so I am guessing... Like every time you open an account, they ask you two right- up questions that reminds you of your password... so I’m guessing that’s it. I hope so. ... If there’s anything I can guess without reading it, I’m going to go for it. Definitely.”
  12. 12. User Strategy: Go right to the FAQ • dAlene
  13. 13. Stop the CAPTCHA Madness ???
  14. 14. User Strategy: Avoid Typing
  15. 15. Design search results to improve success Your search terms Recommendations Spelling correction Specific page titles
  16. 16. Use Plain LanguageUse simple words and phrasesUse the active voiceReduce prepositional phrase useExplain idiomatic expressions, abbreviations, & acronyms the first time they are usedAnticipate likely questions
  17. 17. Use simple words and phrases Excess Words Plain Alternative accordingly so at a later date later at the present time now, currently in order to to eliminate cut, drop, end on a monthly basis monthly with regard to about
  18. 18. Use active voice Passive The bread was kneaded by the class. Active The class kneaded the bread. Passive The papers were corrected by the students. Active The students corrected the papers. • Subject before verb • Subject does action • Eliminate helping verb "to be" (am, is, are, was, were, being, or been)
  19. 19. Reduce prepositional phrases andthat/who/which clausesWith prepositional phrase SimplifiedThe name of the page The page nameThe person with the most The most-experienced personexperienceThe tool that is most The most efficient toolefficientThere are three things that Three things should be doneshould be done before before submitting:submitting.
  20. 20. Avoid all capitals when possible
  21. 21. Avoid all capitals when possible
  22. 22. Thank You!Slides, Links & References Julie Strothman User Experience & Project Manager Green River @strottrot