4th August 2016
PFR is developing its digital accessibility campaign #MakeTheWebAccessible in 2016 to encourage more organisations to test their products with the help of people with accessibility issues. This time we publish a case study about one of our clients’ UX testing sessions.
Design and test for the minority and rest assured that all users will enjoy your product. This should be the golden rule of user experience (UX) and usability design, but it doesn’t happen often.
Experts and users agree that only 30% to 40% of online pages are accessible to all users, and that designing for accessibility should be the first idea professionals write down when kicking-off a new project. Unfortunately, the latter is still a bit of a utopia.
Still, since launching our Make The Web Accessible campaign, People for Research have noticed a growth in the number of clients who ask us to recruit a mix of users who require assistive technology to browse the web and users who don’t. We have also registered an increase in the number of research sessions across the UK that are exclusively attended by people with disabilities.
When you design for the 5%, the other 95% get a product that is unbelievably better than expected. When it comes to UX, nothing beats inclusiveness.
A recent success case started with a normal day of testing for one of our clients, who was testing a new digital product. One of the testing sessions was exclusively attended by users that require assistive technology, participants that had been recruited by People for Research.
“We drive the need for accessibility testing, to ensure what we create is a usable and pleasant experience for anyone who wants or needs to use it”, our client told us.
All went smoothly and testing was a success, even when the unexpected happened: one of the participants, Alvin, had a disability that our client had no idea existed. Alvin has hemianopia, “a condition that causes people to lose one half of their vision. Not the vision out of one eye, but one half of both eyes”, our client explained.
“Conducting user testing of our online application form design with someone with hemianopia provided significant insight for me as an experience designer. (…) Inclusive design is becoming higher on the agenda across organisations and the best way to make sure things work is to test them with the end users. In my role, I’m well aware of this. But, I had never heard of hemianopia.”
The surprise – and especially Alvin’s great feedback – was welcomed by the researchers. It helped the designers realise that “the placement of text, buttons, pop-ups need even further consideration, as things can often be missed”.
“The user would need to turn their head to see things, but won’t necessarily know there’s anything there to do so – and our designs should minimise the need for this. Centralising as far as possible, leaving enough padding down the sides is an important design consideration for people with hemianopia.”
According to our client, “it showed me, even more so, how getting enough participants and a variety of needs involved in testing is hugely valuable, so we can do our best to design with our end users in mind.”
He also shared his thoughts with People for Research after the session: “I applied to take part in this research as I suffer from hemianopia, which means I have no vision left of the centre line in both eyes. It is difficult to clearly describe to others in words how this impacts on daily life and the best way to impart the problems this causes is face to face demonstrating exactly what I can and cannot see.”
Alvin’s session went unexpectedly well and his feedback proved to be unique and extremely valuable, well worth the investment.
The testing was conducted by “two researchers in a pleasant environment working through a complex online application form, where I was able to highlight various shortfalls with the layout. Along with the small monetary incentive received, I found it a most rewarding exercise.”
A good example of how feedback shared by a single user can significantly improve everyone’s experience.
Maria Santos, Head of Marketing and Data Protection
If you would like to find out more about our in-house participant recruitment service for user testing or market research get in touch on 0117 921 0008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At People for Research, we recruit participants for UX and usability testing and market research. We work with award winning UX agencies across the UK and partner up with a number of end clients who are leading the way with in-house user experience and insight.