Project 3: Universal Design

People with disabilities are a user group with high computer dependence because, for many of them, the computer is the only way to perform vital tasks, such as personal and remote communication, control of the environment, assisted mobility, etc.

Digital exclusion for disabled people means not having full access to a socially active and independent lifestyle. In this way, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is playing an important role in the provision of social opportunities to people with disabilities (Abascal and Civit, 2002).

The universal accessibility philosophy (also called ‘universal design,’ ‘inclusive design’ and ‘design for all’) stresses the need for producing user interfaces without added unnecessary barriers (Stephanidis and Savidis, 2001).

These interfaces should be suitable, or capable of being easily adapted, for all people, even if a number of users would need special equipment to use them, therefore making them more accessible. The universal accessibility focus avoids the need for ‘after-thought’ solutions by taking into account and including the diverse needs of users from the start of a UX project.

The British Standards Institute (2005) defines inclusive design as:

The design of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible … without the need for special adaptation or specialised design.’

Inclusive design does not suggest that it is always possible (or appropriate) to design one product to address the needs of the entire population. Instead, inclusive design guides an appropriate design response to diversity in the population, by reducing the level of ability required to use each product, in order to improve the user experience for a broad range of customers, in a variety of situations.

The pyramid model of diversity (SEE GRAPH BELOW) can be used to show how inclusive design aims to extend the target market to include those who are less able, while accepting that specialist solutions may be required to satisfy the needs of those at the top of the pyramid.

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INTERFACE DESIGN

Clean, simple and intuitive design helps communicate meaning and enables users to achieve their goals. An uncluttered visual language helps more people make sense of the information presented to them.

The internal App pages were designed with a white background helping to keep the information clear

Using capitals on the icons furthers clarity

Well-designed products are straightforward in their effectiveness and are dedicated to the users goal. They have a clear path of the task at hand and are free from unnecessary elements or distracting clutter.

Uploading a Mini Scenario

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Interaction design and accessibility can be improved by taking into account users abilities to operate a system. Simply increasing the size of an element like a button, labelling it or by providing more space around it can reduce the amount of errors made by users.

Big controls on camera and drawing controls

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A visual user might see a consistently coloured title marking the beginning of the title of the page. While a non-visual user might learn that the same title is the first heading on a page and use that mental mode to access content on another page.

Main title is first and Secondary title is numbered underneath the line

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The colours that people can distinguish most easily are those that cause a strong signal (positive or negative) on one of the three colour-perception channels, and neutral signals on the other two channels. Those colours are red, green, yellow, blue, black and white. All other colours cause signals on more than one colour channel, and so our visual system cannot distinguish them from other colours as quickly and easily as it can distinguish those six colours.

Specific design considerations like tonal hues make interactive elements more usable and identifiable.

The use of the colour BLUE with has a strong saturation and other colours are used sparingly with adds to the clarity of the information

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A clear purpose is key to a good user experience and to accessibility. Less complexity, clear layouts and sequential interactions all add to an enjoyable user experience.

Sequential order of drawing steps 

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Clear Wayfinding reduces the chances of making the wrong choice among a set of navigational options. It allows for safe exploration as it offers clear cues where each link leads to and has consistent ways back.

Labeled Icons

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Strong orientation cues provide a user with a knowledge of where they are within a system.

Headed page Titles

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Good interaction design feels intuitive, it involves following established patterns of behaviour so that people can apply what they already know to new situations. Using well-known interaction controls allows for easy recognition within a design.

Notebook and Sketchbook Icons

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