Skip to main content

Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations

Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations

Jonathan Lazar (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-72456-9 July 2011 626 Pages




Universal Usability is the concept of designing computer interfaces that are easy for all users to utilize. Universal Usability includes key chapters by Human-Computer Interaction luminaries such as Jonathan Lazar, Ron Baecker, Allison Druin, Ben Shneiderman, Brad Myers and Jenny Preece. The text examines innovative and groundbreaking research and practice, and provides a practical overview of a number of successful projects which have addressed a need for 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.

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.

Editor's Note vii

Preface ix
Ben Shneiderman

1. Introduction to Universal Usability 1
Jonathan Lazar

2. Designing Searching and Browsing Software for Elementary-Age Children 13
Hilary Hutchinson, Allison Druin and Benjamin B. Bederson

3. The Why and How of Senior-Focused Design 43
Theresa A. O'Connell

4. Online Redesign of a Web Site's Information Architecture to Improve Accessibility for Users Who are Blind 93
Vanessa Evers and Hans Hillen

5. Listening to Choropleth Maps: Interactive Sonification of Geo-referenced Data for Users with Vision Impairment 141
Haixia Zhao, Ben Shneiderman and Catherine Plaisant

6. Improving the Screen Reading Experience for Blind Users on the Web 175
Jonathan Lazar and Aaron Allen

7. Web Fun Central: Online Learning Tools for Individuals with Down Syndrome 195
Assadour Kirijian, Matt Myers, and Sylvie Charland

8. Using Virtual Peer Technology as an Intervention for Children with Autism 231
Andrea Tartaro and Justine Cassell

9. Evidence-Based Computer-Assisted Instruction for Autism Spectrum Disorders 263
Christina Whalen, Lars Lidén, Brooke Ingersoll, and Sven Lidén

10. Making Software Accessible for Users with Dementia 299
Norman Alm, Richard Dye, Arlene Astell, Maggie Ellis, Gary Gowans, and Jim Campbell

11. Designing a Cognitive Aid for and with People Who Have Anterograde Amnesia 317
Mike Wu, Ron Baecker and Brian Richards

12. Memories of a Life: A Design Case Study for Alzheimer's Disease 357
Tira Cohene, Ron Baecker, Elsa Marziali, and Simona Mindy

13. Interaction Techniques for Users with Spinal Cord Injuries: A Speech-Based Solution 389
Jinjuan Feng and Andrew Sears

14. Adding Gestural Text Entry to Input Devices for People with Motor Impairments 421
Jacob O. Wobbrock and Brad A. Myers

15. The Creating Community Connections Project: Social and Cultural Approaches for Engaging Low-Income Communities 457
Randal D. Pinkett

16. Implementing Community-Based Participatory Research to Reduce Health and Technology Disparities Among Low-Income African-American Women 491
Diane Maloney-Krischmar, Eleanor Walker, David Bushnell, and Sadanand Sirvastava

17. Evaluating the Usability and Accessibility of an Online Form for Census Data Collection 517
Elizabeth D. Murphy, Lawrence A. Malakhoff, and David A. Coon

18. Internationalizing Greenstone: A Multilingual Tool for Building Digital Libraries 559
David M. Nichols, Te Taka Keegan, David Bainbridge, Sally Jo Cunningham, Michael Dewship, and Ian H. Witten

19. Making Universal Access Truly Universal: Looking Toward the Future 587
Jennifer Preece


  • Edited by a key researcher and emerging authority in HCI and Usability.
  • A groundbreaking collection of essential research into usability for diverse users, addressing economic diversity, age, and – most importantly – disabilities, where the foremost and most market-driven research is taking place.
  • Strong practical approach, rather than theory driven.
  • Extremely valuable for students on Usability and User Interface Design courses, as well as advanced HCI courses.
  • Essential reading for Usability practitioners.
  • Complements Wiley’s existing HCI list (Preece, Jones and Marsden)
  • The chapters include 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. 

  • Includes guidelines and suggestions for students attempting similar projects, as well as implications for different stakeholders such as policymakers, researchers, and designers.