Archive for May, 2012

Designing for People Who Struggle with Reading and Attention

I had the honor of presenting once again at the UPA Boston User Experience Conference. My slides are embedded below, but I encourage you to view the slides on SlideShare, as the transcript of the talk is included in the ‘Notes’ tab below the slides.

Designing for People Who Struggle with Reading and Attention

Imagine you’re almost done with your taxes—but you’re ravenous and the smell of Indian food is wafting through your window, your electricity is randomly turning off for 30-second blips, and the neighbor’s infant is incessantly scream-crying. How successful will you be finishing your taxes? This session included simulations so you can get a sense of reading as a low-decoder, and of completing web-based tasks when you lack the ability to filter out distractions and/or struggle with short-term memory. We observed usability test session video clips of some of the obstacles introduced by interface design choices. You can’t design effectively for low literacy and attention disorders if you don’t understand how these issues affect people as they try to work online. We looked at good and poor design implementations of forms, touch and ajax interactions, search interfaces, and layout choices. I hope the talk helps people improve design for as much as 15% of audiences.

References in Presentation

Baumeister, R. F., & Vohs, K. D. (2004). Handbook of self-regulation: research, theory, and applications. New York: Guilford Press.

CDC Data & Statistics | Feature: Developmental Disabilities Increasing in US. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 6, 2012, from

H.L. Chace, 1956. Anguish Languish. by Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.

Resources in Presentation

Captcha Alternatives

Writing and Plain Language