New Adventures 2019 - Helen Joy's Whose Design is it Anyway

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Helen Joy gave a great talk about inclusive design, full of brilliant explanations for why it is is important and how to get better at it. But there were a couple of stories she told that I will not forget easily, both stories were about mechanics. One had to traipse from the garage through multiple workshops to get to the computer, which could be being used already by somebody else. The other was about someone who when in a user research session explained how a good feature for the website would be for it to talk to him because of his bad dyslexia.

Apparently he could talk to it through Dragon Naturally Speaking but not the other way around. So someone on Helen's team installed a Chrome extension for text-to-speech... he called this "life changing". Both of these people would have been classed as near expert on the Digital Inclusion Scale. Incredible really to think of the things I can do on my mobile phone that other people would call life changing or need to drop everything and wait in line for a computer to do.

We are lucky to be in the positions we are as folk that make the web and it just shows using our skillset a little bit to do something simple like add a Chrome extension can actually be a massive weight of someone else's shoulder. Here are my notes of Helen's really interesting talk.

  • UX consultant at Sparck
  • Organised women in tech Nottingham
  • “Major problem, didn’t have access to the people I was designing for”
  • “You are not your user”
  • “I was acting as a person who i didn’t really know about I wasn’t aware of the context about how they approached my designs”
  • “I moved my attention from design to research”
  • “If you’re new to inclusive design the Microsoft Inclusive Design manual is a great way to get into inclusive design”
  • “We need to leave our offices and speak to the real people that are using our products or services”
  • “4.3 million adults in the UK with zero basic digital skills” “76% over 65, 20% 45-64, 4% under 45”
  • “We could be in danger of leaving people behind if they don’t keep up with what we do as experts” makes me think of I Daniel Blake
  • Some people can’t use a search engine
  • “In these days of fake news it makes sense that we want this to be a basic digital skill” verifying a source of online information
  • Digital privilege
  • It doesn’t matter what the reason is but they are in some way excluded if they don’t have digital privilege
  • Recommends A Web For Everyone book for inclusive design
  • Easy to think of accessibility being working for disability but some people are perfectly capable of using it but internet is “really shonky” in the countryside
  • Some users could actually be multiple people being each other to use the product or service
  • “This stuff is great but it is a little bit theoretical it is not as great as getting out of the office”
  • Their office could be a shed.
  • Have no ideas about things unless visit. To plot for example user journey of a DVLA thing you would map journey of website pages forgetting that a garage worker could have to go through multiple workshops into a reception to use the computer
  • “People don’t always use stuff in the way we expected”
  • “This mechanic described himself as being gadget mad but didn’t know about chrome extension” when a text to speech add on was installed for him he called it “life changing” due to his dyslexia
  • “How not to regret the things you build”
  • “Think about your personal values in your work, does the work that you do set well with you does it make you happy, do you want to go to work”
  • “I want us to be across all industries”
  • “One of my colleagues found he could change someone’s life in a garage in wales which was amazing”

Feel free to read the rest of my notes from New Adventures.