Characteristics for – Users from the client university: academic staff

Characteristics for Hypothetical academic staff

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



Design Implications
Age Mid 20s – 67+ 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-x 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 Graduate and post graduate level. Pace of the learning object should have options to accommodate different learning speeds. A certain level of knowledge can be assumed for educational concepts, but not for technology concepts.
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.
Ownership Access to a work 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. 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 Hierarchical management Completion of the LO would be encouraged by senior management, but not mandatory.

Task Environment
Task identification All tasks – 1-8 SEE PAGE
Volition All tasks are voluntary, although encouraged by employer.
Motivation Intrinsic, based on an interest in accessibility and teaching. Extrinsic elements as employer encourages participation.
Individual All tasks are individual
Team Tasks completed contribute to a school/department wide goal
Concurrency It is possible that the 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.
Corporate Goals 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.

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. Employers have recognised the need and put the tool in place to instruct academic staff. Staff may be motivated by a wish to better support student accessibility needs.
Interests Pedagogy Good accessibility can actively support good pedagogy staff might be interested to know how accessible materials can help to support their teaching.
Attitudes towards Technology Varies – some will be resistant or lack interest 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.
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.
Beliefs It is possible that the user believes that their materials are already accessible. In order to work with this, the LO should celebrate what the user is doing already. It would be really helpful if this could be supported by statistics in the interface, although this would take a while to build up. E.g. you already save your lecture notes to PDF – that’s great 67% of the respondents on this LO reported that they already do that too. This may not be possible as it would complicate the system, but it would be helpful to encourage good practice with for example, student quotes explaining why they like getting materials in a specific format or for example, showing the accessibility options for a PDF in a short video as a side note.
Personality Varies, although more introverted users could benefit from a self-paced individual learning experience The LO could be ideal for folks who prefer not to attend group training session due to worries of keeping up or a desire not to speak out and ask questions. People can be extroverted when it comes to their subject specialism, but more introverted in their approach to technology so the LO can help to accommodate that. The design must be non-judgmental and offer optional help as 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 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.
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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