World Down Syndrome Day 2020 – Day 20
The user experience
Down Syndrome Australia is developing a new app for our Community Inclusion Toolkit. Members of our Down Syndrome Advisory Network met with the app developers to share their thoughts on using the new app. Lynette Reeves from The Project Factory shares what they took away from the experience:
‘For us as solution-focused developers, truly immersing ourselves in the lived experience of our audience is one of the most fascinating and interesting parts of our job! User-centred design is now integral to any product development process; it drives greater investment in the product and a deeper connection between the end users and the organisation’s objectives. The need for authentic inclusion is something we are hyper-aware of despite any perceived challenges it may present. In the end though, we learnt a lot that day from speaking with Matt, Kylie and Andrew along with their support workers as they challenged our perception of what it is like to live with Down syndrome and how that might affect our decision making when it comes to use cases, design, UX, accessibility and technology considerations.
Although the session's intention was to get feedback on the app functions themselves, the conversations around the table seemed to segue quite naturally to focus on the human stories and experiences. Those stories helped us to ground ourselves in lived experiences and truly see where the opportunity of the app lay – everything from the type of content our audience would find valuable, the kind of content they would like other people to know about, and how the app could grow over time. It almost seemed that the app itself was the least important part of that story – just a conduit to the real objective.
Our organisation has a culture of inclusivity, but as we take on more projects targeted at groups with specific user considerations, it highlights if and where we are truly are demonstrating that culture. The learnings we gain from these user testing sessions is shared with the wider group so that all current and future projects benefit from the experience - both the procedural elements of the sessions themselves as well as the human experiences that we learnt along the way. You never know when one human's experience might resonate and benefit another team's project!
Matt, Kylie and Andrew gave us a different perspective but any ideas or amends to accommodate them specifically will absolutely benefit everyone who uses the app. Ultimately, digital products should still be about people. And I think that is what is important to note – apps should never be built for the sake of it, but for a reason and with purpose. Everything starts with the user, then moves to the content, then backwards from there we can work out the most appropriate and engaging method to deliver it.’
Kylie Scott was part of the group who advised the developers on the lived experience of Down syndrome and shares her thoughts on the process:
Why is it important for people with Down syndrome to be consulted about the technology they will be using?
Because it will benefit them to become familiar with the App so that provides easy read for many people who can read the information inside the app, so that their parents will be consulted and help them for their long term. When they are included with this app, you will feel part of a team.
What advice did you give the developers?
To give to the people with disabilities handouts or book to read on how to read and follow the guide on how the app works and to give them information to share and to take away to learn about how the app works and to gain a good outcome.