Monday, 25 May 2015

Usability Is Accessibilty

I went to an interesting talk run by Red Badger, a UX Consultancy based in hip and happening Shoreditch.  The title of the event was Web Accessibility: Are you Excluding a Fifth of the UK Population?.

It was nice being around so many people who generally cared about the fact their designs could fail to serve people with disabilities. Its so easy to overlook their needs, since we sadly can be rather selfish when we do things. Which goes against UX principles. We should always be doing what is best for users, so that their experience is optimised. But does that mean we should be doing stuff people with disabilities and then those without? I, like the last speaker at the event, would say no.

Every human deserves to have a good experience with everything that is designed by a human for humans. Disability doesn't come in to the equation. If you design something and there are people with accessibility problems who cannot work with your design despite sincere desire, then there is something wrong with your design. That's why we now have audio description and subtitles for movies, as disability doesn't need to be a barrier.

I'm glad that this event shone a light on such an important issue which sadly is too often overlooked. And it's a shame since it's not exactly hard to design for full accessibility. And we don't have to limit it to having high contrast, or seriffed fonts. We can also offer users the ability to choose what accessibility options best meets their needs. This is much more empowering.

Monday, 18 May 2015

I just read... Web Form Design

So I've been doing some "light reading" lately, and one of the books that has taught me a lot is Web Form Design by Luke Wroblewsk. It's about 7yrs old, which in IT means near enough a lifetime. But nothing in this book is dated. It's still so relevant to design standards today and is indeed a must have book for anyone new to the big bad world of UX like me.

Web Form Design by Luke Wroblewsk

There is so much science behind how we as humans interact with forms. Yet it isn't much of a surprise that a bit of common sense will make you understand the science. For example, the vast majority of computer users who speak English as a first language will expect forms to be processed from left to right, and then top to bottom.

What I like most about designing forms is the fact that you actually have many options, therefore there is so much freedom to present the best way for a user to answer the questions and get to the precious submit button.

There are so many things to consider; fonts, the colour of text, the colour of backgrounds, etc. If you are using a mobile device, you can even consider gestures that make the form more fun. Which is so important since filling in forms is normally a right bore!


Next on my list, The Design of Everyday Things.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

I just read...What specifically do generalists do?

Just found this blog post by Steve Hardy about what it means to be a creative generalists. Never heard about the role before, but it sounds very interesting.

The direct link is here

It is wonderful to read an article that champions the case of being a "jack of all trades, but master of none" since so often we are conditioned to believe that you have to be the best to be successful in an team or organisation. The truth is, you need to give value, and sometimes that comes from being the person who has an understanding of many things, and how they connect.

Guy's & St Thomas' Council of Governors Election 2015

It's election time at Guy's & St Thomas' and I've taken the plunge by running for Non-Clinical Governor. 

I never thought that I could apply, but after a very insightful conversation with Bryn Williams and Dr David Treacher (current Staff Governors) back in late 2014, and my eyes were opened. I became very interested in how I can help make Guy's & St Thomas' the best it can be, even from my position as a new Junior Clinical Analyst.

Several months later I went to a Council of Governors meeting where I learnt more about the current Governors, and the issues they face.

So after doing some more research, through further conversations and googling, I decided to nominate myself.

As my nomination statement explains, I feel I am in a position to represent the opinions of several different groups because of my background in health care and the voluntary sector and my new experiences with IT.

We have some very ambitious IT plans at Guy's& St Thomas' which will take a great deal of effort and time to make them a reality. Only as a team will we be able to do this. Through discussions with peers and seniors, it has been made clear that we can do more to work as a team so that our IT projects start and finish smoothly and efficiently. Therefore I am keen to form a group made up of clinical,managerial and IT staff who work along side our current staff to make our IT dreams a reality.

There is also a demand from the younger generation, including those from our medical school who want work experience and apprenticeship opportunities. We do an exceptional and commendable job of this already as a trust, but demand is exceed our ability to supply opportunities, therefore we need to try and do more.

Hopefully if I am successful, I will be able to help the Council of Governors and Board of Directors continue to provide a world class quality service.