Characteristics for – Users from the client university: students, admin staff, researchers etc.

Characteristics for Hypothetical students, admin staff, researchers etc.

Original version: 24/10/15
This version: 05/12/15



Design Implications
Age 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 Multiple Should be inline with university equality and diversity guidelines.
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 staff the options to accommodate differing learning speeds. This should make the tool more accessible to students and staff in other roles. It is possible that this group will struggle more with some of the educational concepts so the inclusion of glossary-type elements would be helpful.
Socioeconomic status In 8 classes model, aimed at L2 and above.–rebased-on-soc2010–user-manual/index.html Design needs to evoke professionalism; clear, approachable, reputable. Clearly branded as a university-x tool. Students with an interest in using the LO may be entering a teaching related field or have an interest in learning technologies. So although students may not be in the L2 bracket yet, their prospective professional employment after graduation will place them in this class.
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). Access to Microsoft Word for work and home computers is provided by university-x, however it is possible that it will not be installed on the computer used to complete the LO. For these situations the activity based in a Word document is optional and the activity can be completed on a different computer.
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.
May be low bandwidth depending on location.

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 Hierarchical management
Students may be encouraged by their instructors to complete the LO as it relates to their degree programme (e.g. PGCert, MEd, EdD).

Task Environment
Volition All tasks are voluntary
Motivation Intrinsic, based on an interest in accessibility and teaching. Extrinsic elements as employer encourages participation.
Individual All tasks are individual
Concurrency It is possible that the student/staff person 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 staff 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.
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.

Literacy Literate: English may not be first language, but academic English fluency is expected. To make using the LO pleasurable and straightforward, language should be clear and practical. Make reference to the Plain English guide:

Motivation Extrinsic – government/employer/student needs The government’s changes partially motivate the need for change. Staff and students may be motivated by a wish to better support accessibility needs in their roles and future roles.
Interests Pedagogy Good accessibility can actively support good pedagogy students/staff might be interested to know how accessible materials can help to support their teaching.
Attitudes towards Technology Varies Some of the aspects covered by the LO are viewed as necessary chores and don’t generally stimulate interest. 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. It is important that the LO is optional and can also be completed anonymously. Some users may feel insecure about their IT skill levels. The need to be designed to help accommodate differing levels of prior knowledge. As it is not an assessed activity students may be more inclined to explore the tool.
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 is 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 LO could be ideal for staff who prefer not to attend group training session due to worries of keeping up or a desire not to speak out and ask questions. Students may not have the option of attending in-person training of this kind. 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.

Task Domain Knowledge Novice, Intermediate and Advanced The LO needs to accommodate the following types of user:
– Users who know how to convert 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 using certain functions within Microsoft Word and may come from a background where they did not complete word processing tasks regularly.
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.

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: 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).

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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