Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations

Front Cover
Dr. Jonathan Lazar
John Wiley & Sons, Jun 15, 2007 - Computers - 626 pages
Universal Usability is the concept of designing computer interfaces that are easy for all users to utilize. It is a concept which many decry as elusive, impossible, or impractical, but this book, which addresses usability issues for a number of diverse user groups, proves that there is no problem in interface design that cannot be solved, or at least improved upon. Individuals with cognitive, motor, and perceptual impairments, as well as older, younger, and economically disadvantaged users, face a variety of complex challenges when interacting with computers. However, with user involvement, good design practice, and thorough testing, computer interfaces can be successfully developed for any user population.

This book, featuring key chapters by Human-Computer Interaction luminaries such as Jonathan Lazar, Ron Baecker, Allison Druin, Ben Shneiderman, Brad Myers and Jenny Preece, examines innovative and groundbreaking research and practice, and provides a practical overview of a number of successful projects which have addressed a need for these specific user populations. Chapters in this book address topics including age diversity, economic diversity, language diversity, visual impairment, and spinal cord injuries. Several of these trailblazing projects in the book are amongst the first to examine usability issues for users with Down Syndrome, users with Amnesia, users with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and users with Alzheimer's Disease, and coverage extends to projects where multiple categories of needs are addressed.

These chapters represent real-world projects, being carried out on different continents. The authors of the chapters also represent diversity—interface researchers and software developers in university, industrial, and government settings. In the practical spirit of the book, chapter authors provide guidelines and suggestions for those attempting similar projects, as well as implications for different stakeholders such as policymakers, researchers, and designers. Ideal for students of HCI and User Interface Design, and essential reading for usability practitioners, this fascinating collection of real-world projects demonstrates that computer interfaces can truly be designed to meet the needs of any category of user.


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The Why and How of SeniorFocused Design
Online Redesign of a Web Sites Information Architecture
Interactive Sonification
Improving the Screen Reading Experience for Blind Users on the Web
Online Learning Tools for Individuals
Using Virtual Peer Technology as an Intervention
EvidenceBased ComputerAssisted Instruction for Autism
Making Software Accessible for Users with Dementia
A Design Case Study for Alzheimers Disease
Adding Gestural Text Entry to Input Devices for People
Implementing CommunityBased Participatory Research to Reduce
Evaluating the Usability and Accessibility of an Online Form
A Multilingual Tool
Looking Toward

Designing a Cognitive Aid for and with People Who Have

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About the author (2007)

Dr. Jonathan Lazar is an Associate Professor of Computer and Information Sciences at Towson University, where he serves as head of the Computer Information Systems Program, and is the founder and director of the Universal Usability Laboratory.

Dr. Lazar has authored over 70 refereed publications, on the topics of web usability, assistive technology, user error and frustration, and user-centered design methods. He has previously authored two books and edited two books. His most recent authored book is "Web Usability: A User-Centered Design Approach", published by Addison-Wesley in 2006, and his most recent edited book is "Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations" published by John Wiley in 2007.

Dr. Lazar is a founding member and currently serves as Chair of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) SIGCHI U.S. Public Policy Committee. He was also recently named a Distinguished Speaker of the ACM. He has served on a number of conference committees, including CHI, ASSETS, INTERACT, and HCII.

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