Characteristics for – Users external to the client university

Characteristics for Hypothetical users external to the client university

Original version: 25/10/15
This version: 05/12/15

Demographics


Characteristic

Detail

Design Implications
Age Any, although in practicality,
17 years – 67+ years
Need to consider needs of different age groups in terms of knowledge of technology and accessibility, for aspects such as text size and interactive features.
Sex M/F or Non-binary Language should be gender neutral to promote equality.
Ethnicity Many Following the university equality and diversity guidelines should help to ensure that the content is appropriate.
Location South Coast of England, available internationally Can have a slight English and university-x flavour, but regional colloquialisms, either written or through visual reference should be avoided.
Education Foundation to post-graduate level. Although the LO is primarily for academic staff, there needs to be options to accommodate differing learning speeds. This should make the tool more accessible to external and possibly international audience. It is possible that educational concepts may be UK-specific so the inclusion of glossary-type element would help to support international users as well.
Socioeconomic status In 8 classes model, aimed at L2 and above. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/classifications/current-standard-classifications/soc2010/soc2010-volume-3-ns-sec–rebased-on-soc2010–user-manual/index.html Design needs to evoke professionalism; clear, approachable, reputable. Clearly branded as a university-x tool. Hard to categorise an external/international audience in such linear terms. However those with an interest in the LO are most likely to be academic staff across the UK as opposed to an international audience as the information is related to UK legislation.
Ownership Access to a work computer, library computer and/or home computer with an Internet connection in order to complete the LO. The design is for personal computers as the LO relates to software which is primarily used on personal computers (Microsoft Word). It is possible that external users will not be able to complete some of the activities if they do not have access to Microsoft Word. For these situations the activity based in a Word document is optional and the activity can be completed on a different computer. This solution will already be in place for university student and other staff users.
Mobility May work across campuses, may work from home, coffee shops etc.

Need to the ability to save their work and return to the LO later on possibly on a different computer. As this will not be linked to university-x authentication, an access key will need to be generated that the user can enter, in order to resume their progress.

Need to account for weak broadband as staff who live in smaller towns and villages will not have a robust broadband connection as compared to those who live in cities. Different countries also have varying connection speeds and university-x has some teaching programmes abroad, which may be affected slow connectivity.


Cultural (as in working culture)

Organisational ethos

Raison d’être

Educational, professional development, informational (re: government policies), instructional. Needs to have the right balance of information, interactive and practical exercises in order to reinforce the information.
Organisational model

Varies.

 

It is possible that staff at other universities in the UK will make use of the tool; working in similar hierarchical institutions. With other external users it is more likely that they are personally motivated to use the tool.

Task Environment
Volition All tasks are voluntary, however staff at other universities in the UK may be encouraged to use the tool by their internal management.
Motivation Intrinsic. A personal interest in accessibility and teaching. Perhaps a specific interest in practices employed in UK Higher Education. Extrinsic elements if the user is encouraged by their employer.
Individual All tasks are individual.
Concurrency It is possible that the external user will keep the LO while they work in Microsoft Word for certain activities. It may also be open among other browser tabs and software on their computer. Make sure that the LO automatically caches in the browser, so work is not lost if LO is left open. The link is unique and can be returned to. If browser is closed without saving (and adding contact email) then work would be lost, so a warning would be needed if the user tried to close the LO window without saving.
Frequency Infrequently. Could be completed in one sitting, but more likely that user will dip in and out of the LO until completed. Needs to be very easy to get back into the LO and resume where left off. A display of progress for each topic would be helpful here.
Goals To learn how to create accessible Microsoft Word documents and to improve existing documents, as well as increase personal knowledge of best practices to support disabled students.
Corporate Goals If being asked to complete the LO by an employer: increase awareness of accessibility as a consequence to changes in DSA funding.
False Goals False goal: the LO will teach the end-user to use Microsoft Word. The LO is aimed at existing Word users and not those who are new to the software. This level of user experience needs to be articulated to the end-user in the introduction to the LO.

Cognitive
Literacy Literate: English may not be a first language. A minimum of intermediate written English comprehension is expected. To make using the LO pleasurable and straightforward, language should be clear and practical. Make reference to the Plain English guide: http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/files/howto.pdf
This will also make it more straightforward for external users to use a translation engine in their web browser (e.g. google translate, if needed). It is out of scope for the LO to be translated.

Affect
Motivation Extrinsic – government
Intrinsic – interest in accessibility
The government’s changes partially motivate the need for change within the UK context. Other external users might seek out the LO is they have a professional interest in accessibility.
Interests Pedagogy
Accessibility
Good accessibility can actively support good pedagogy. Academic staff and some students might be interested to know how accessible materials can help to support their teaching. If external users are actively seeking out the LO then it stands to reason that the accessibility emphasis is of interest to them.
Attitudes towards Technology Varies This will vary and will depend on the route to the LO. If external users actively seek out the LO then they may be more technically inclined. If the LO is shared via social media, they be inquisitive, but it will take more to keep them engaged. The interface and interaction design needs to try and introduce some unexpected fun/interest so that the LO is seen as a valuable exercise.
Self-esteem Self-esteem will vary. Not really a factor in the same way for external users, especially as they will use the LO completely anonymously.
Locus of Control The user is in control of the pace, but there are set avenues of exploration. This LO is a training application, so although the user can choose what they would like to learn first there are only a set number of topics. Boolean logic may be employed to determine the types of information made available.
Personality Varies, although more introverted users could benefit from a self-paced individual learning experience The design must be non-judgmental and offer optional help at each stage.
Visual literacy Basic web-based publishing (hypertext) and document formats. The LO will feature some screenshots of Microsoft Word as well as short videos or GIFs of workflows. Some base knowledge of VLEs will be beneficial.

Knowledge
Task Domain Knowledge Novice, Intermediate and Advanced The LO needs to accommodate the following types of user:
– Users who know how to create Word document files but are looking for best practice tips and an overview of what the governmental changes will entail.
– Those who have know how to handle some file types and to structure information, but may have incomplete knowledge or require a refresher.
– Beginners who are new to lecturing and may have come from a professional field where different technologies were used.
These users are based on the internal university audience, but it would help external users as well.
Computer domain knowledge Novice, Intermediate and Expert Users could be at any level but the materials will need to be pitched at intermediate level with optional extra description for novice users.
Learning style Kinaesthetic, exploratory learning, sequential steps The design needs to be exploratory and also offer some incentives. Most of the practical exercises will be completed in other software. This could be tricky for external users as they may not have access to the Microsoft Word software. The LO will reference VLEs, international visitors may not have access to a VLE or it may be different from those used in the UK.

Disability
Dyslexia Across such a large user group Dyslexic users are inevitable. Adjustment options for the LO. Allow adjustment of font size, contrast, grey scale and ideally the background colour tone. These settings will need to be stored if the LO is saved and then resumed.
Dyscalcula As above. Visualisation and explanation of numerical data. Any numbers or statistics represented needs to be both explained and visualised.
Memory disability Possible challenges when it comes to retention and recall of terminology and steps in a workflow. Allow the option of downloading a fact sheet (PDF) version of any workflow that is outlined. This can and referred to for future reference.
Learning disability Could require alternative presentation of information. May have a combination of needs which require more than one adjustment solution. Implement some of the options shown on the British Institute for Learning Disabilities page: http://www.bild.org.uk/accessibility/ for example text-to-speech option on primary text areas.

Sensory Capability
Vision Impaired vision. Allow adjustment of font size, contrast, grey scale. Provide a zoom slider to zoom in on all content. Provide text-to-speech on primary text. Support speech-to-text and speech navigation engines for use with a web browser (Jaws, Dragon Dictate, Apple desktop OS speech engine).

Disability
Lack of hand, finger, arm etc. Possible difficulty using mouse for navigation. Offer options to navigate the site using keyboard shortcuts and support speech navigation engines. It would be an idea to include a shortcut that will turn on a legend for the keyboard shortcuts, so that one can see where a shortcut will take you to.
Dyskinesia Possible issues with drag and drop exercises. When drag and drop is part of an interactive activity, as alternative mode for completing the activity (such as text-only) should be provided to ensure accessibility.

 

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