As an organisation we are committed to do more testing with people with accessibility needs. This will ensure that our services can be easily accessed by everyone and to meet our legal obligations as a public sector organisation. We aim to recruit participants with accessibility needs in every round of research that we do to ensure that accessibility is considered at every stage of the project.
We tested extensively the prototype for the Green jobs grant which was launched in the summer of 2021.
We had a number of aims for this research:
To test the application journey with users who have a range of accessibility needs and to find what the challenges were for them in our journey
To get clarity on what areas worked well
We wanted to discover if different needs give conflicting priorities
COVID-19. Collective sigh. If you’re not jaded by it all yet then your reserves of positivity surely know no bounds.
The winds of change that have blown across our world as a result of this surreal event are quite incredible. And many things will never be the same again.
Small town centres, previously peppered with empty shops, are bustling. Employers are embracing remote working like never before. Deserted city centre scenes, previously only featured in apocalyptic movies, have graced the evening news.
But some things haven’t changed.
Many organisations continue to create policy, advice, products and services in complete ignorance of how user behaviour in the modern age will define their effectiveness.
There’s been no more perfect example of this than the four corners of the UK all having different and, in many cases, contradictory rules and advice for citizens to follow during this pandemic.
Over two years ago we re-launched the Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International websites. We had six months to research, design, build and launch the sites. During the build we created a Global Design Language (GDL), a library of components within the CMS to use for future updates and builds.
I have all sorts of training and qualifications that help me to design and build awesome solutions. It excites me. I love my job. Which means that I have to sit on the impulse to jump straight to solutions and remember to concentrate on the problem every single day.
The moment you start to design a solution, you are heading down a road that is harder to get off every day that passes. It is human nature. You invest time, effort and your personal awesomeness in a solution and before long you love it. It can be emotionally painful to ditch it even if it is obviously not the right solution. (I promise not to start talking about any of my ex’s). Even if you don’t like the solution, it is still hard to throw away the time and money invested in it. It is all too easy to roll out a solution that does not really solve the problem any more.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a tourist icon, but that is just a benefit. The problem it was built to solve was to get across the Golden Gate strait, thus saving the hours it would take to drive round the bay.
If an earthquake knocks the bridge down, the new one might be very different. The solution is variable but the problem is the same.
It's why we use a bit of jargon in user experience (UX).
We call "why users do what they do, when, where, how, and what they do it with" context of use.
It's a crucial piece, or, rather, set, of information.
If you know who your users are, what they're trying to get done, why the want to do it, and how they will interact with it – including the environment and circumstances they're in – you will have a really clear picture of what your product or service needs to do to make that happen.
It's critical to know, because – well, basically, if you don't know this stuff, failure is an absolute certainty.
Reading Time: 3minutesIn the 1930s, the German physicist Erwin Schrodinger proposed a thought experiment.
I’ll spare you the detail, as it was an experiment about quantum mechanics, and quantum mechanics is a bit weird. And it involved a cat, in a box, which may, or, may not, have been alive, or dead, or possibly both, or possibly neither.
But the upshot was this: If you have an equal chance of an event happening or not happening, a cat my or may not be alive or dead. And you won’t know which is actually happening until you look, at which point you destroy the possibility of the outcome you did not observe and therefore make the outcome you did observe real.
Schrodinger concluded that, until you actually observe the outcome, the cat is neither dead nor alive, but both.
Reading Time: 5minutesIn November 2007, when I was part of what was then the SE web team, we were asked if we could take on a project.
The objective was to completely re-design and rewrite the SE website. Some of you may remember what it looked like back then. Including an incredible floating woman. Stock photography. It’s why we banned it.
Oh. And it had to be ready by 1 April 2008. SE would have a new remit by then. Would that be OK?
In August 2012 we produced a report to share our findings with partner agencies. This was to show them common issues and also set a baseline for acceptable usability.
At the same time we also collated observations from Neilson’s usability week lectures that several staff members attended.
You see, Apple’s newest tablet, the iPad Mini, creates a vexing situation: Its device-width viewport tag defaults to the same values as Apple’s original iPad (768×1024 pixels), even though the Mini’s screen is physically 40 percent smaller. That means every button, graphic, link, and line of text on a web page on the iPad Mini appears tiny—even when we try to do the right thing and build flexible, multi-device experiences.
What would your response be if a colleague told you, they were going to China for a week on business, and then asked for a loan of your phone.
For me it would fall into 2 camps:
Camp 1: If it was my phone I might suggest, (strenuously), that they seek a phone elsewhere
Camp2: If it was a work phone I would suck my teeth for a bit, take out the “strenuously” and still suggest that they look elsewhere for a phone.
Why the unkind response?
The simple reason for this rather unkind response is that most of us eat sleep and breath our phones. They have become integral to most of our daily activities and they also store a lot of personal data on them. I would probably loan you my car rather than hand over my phone.