According to Michael Twidale, a professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, poor usability can be an irritation for everyone but “especially horrible” for the underprivileged. In “Everyone Everywhere: A Distributed and Integrated Paradigm for Usability,” which was recently published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), Twidale and his co-authors David M. Nichols (University of Waikato, New Zealand) and Christopher P. Lueg (Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland) present a new paradigm for addressing the persistence of difficulties people have in accessing and accessing use the information.
Twidale cites the rollout of COVID vaccination as a recent example of poor usability. In many places, people have to book their vaccine appointments online, which can be difficult for the particularly vulnerable elderly population.
“When hard-to-use software means a vulnerable older person cannot book a vaccination, it’s a matter of social justice,” he said. “If you can’t make things work, it can further exclude you from the benefits that technology brings to everyone. Making a computer system easier to use is only a tiny fraction of the cost of running the computer system. So why are things not sorted out? Because people put up with bad interfaces and blame themselves. We want to say, “No, it’s not your fault! It’s bad design.” “
Twidale and his co-authors propose to broaden usability awareness and distribute the topic across disciplines, beyond the “small elite” of usability professions. In turn, this increased emphasis on usability could lead to improvements in other disciplines such as politics (eg better ballot design) and medicine (eg user-friendly medical devices).
“A broader conviviality movement would remind members of all professions that, whatever their field and whatever their efforts to make the world a better place, bad conviviality makes everything worse. In contrast, reducing poor usability is often a relatively inexpensive way to help improve. within these professions. “
Source of the story:
Material provided by University of Illinois School of Information Studies. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.