[Infusion-users] Preferences Framework feedback

Colin Clark colinbdclark at gmail.com
Tue Apr 5 23:18:27 UTC 2016

Hi Mark,

Thanks for getting in touch. 

I think perhaps you're referring to the UI Options component, which is one part of Infusion's preference framework? Can you elaborate on what kinds of information you're particularly interested in? Formalized comparisons? Results from usability evaluations and design critiques? An overview of accessibility strategies? Something else?

If you're looking for an A/B study or other formalized comparison of UI Options, I can't think of anything specific yet. The whole point of our Fluid tools is to look at accessibility from a "one size fits one" perspective where users themselves are empowered to adapt the user interface to suit their own needs and preferences, so studies like this inevitably need to take into account the unique, personal, and situated (i.e. contextual and environmental) factors of each individual--a sample size of one study. Complex, but very interesting. If these kinds of formalized evaluations particularly interest you, we're an open source community and are always interested in collaboration with and contributions if you'd like to lend a hand.

Needless to say, though, there really is no magic bullet for accessibility; I can't give you any assurances that using a tool like UI Options alone will improve the usability and accessibility of your website. You have to design with accessibility in mind from the beginning and address it holistically, looking at a variety of factors during the design and implementation process. UI Options provides one way to give users control over how they perceive and operate your website, and is intended to be used alongside other strategies.

When it comes to designing and doing user research for accessibility, perhaps you'll find the Fluid Design Handbook useful:

https://wiki.fluidproject.org/display/fluid/Design+Handbook <https://wiki.fluidproject.org/display/fluid/Design+Handbook>

You probably already know about WCAG 2.0 and the basic strategies for supporting accessibility on the Web:

https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/ <https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/>

There are a number of papers and articles about the IDRC's over-arching approach to inclusive design and personalization on our website:

http://idrc.ocadu.ca/index.php/resources/idrc-online/library-of-papers/443-whatisinclusivedesign <http://idrc.ocadu.ca/index.php/resources/idrc-online/library-of-papers/443-whatisinclusivedesign>

When it comes to usability testing, we've certainly done informal, design-focussed tests with UI Options in a variety of contexts over the years. There are protocols and notes for several rounds of such testing available in our wiki. It is worth noting that the motivation for these usability studies was to feed into our iterative design process, helping us to come up with new features and refinements to the tool.

https://wiki.fluidproject.org/display/fluid/%28Floe%29+UI+Options+User+Testing+and+Feedback <https://wiki.fluidproject.org/display/fluid/(Floe)+UI+Options+User+Testing+and+Feedback>

We continue to do usability tests of the personalization components of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (http://gpii.net/ <http://gpii.net/>) such as the First Discovery Tool, which was built using the Fluid preferences framework. We actually just finished up a new round of testing with users last week in Los Angles, Boulder, and several other sites. I'm sure results from the GPII pilots coming up in the next year or so will also eventually published, but again, the goal of this testing is augment our other co-design methods and to help make the software better for users and to feed into the design and development process.

I hope this helps,


> On Apr 4, 2016, at 1:22 PM, Mark Weiler <mweiler at wlu.ca> wrote:
> Very interesting preference framework. I have a question:  While it seems to be a useful accessible tool, do you have empirical evidence that it increases usability of websites amongst people with disabilities?
> I don’t mean to sound harsh; but if I consider implementing it on a large scale, empirical evidence would give assurance that it is in fact a step in the right direction.
> Mark Weiler, MLIS, PhD 
> Web & User Experience Librarian | Psychology Librarian
> Laurier Library
> Office: Waterloo campus Library, room 104
> 519.884.0710 x4296
> mweiler at wlu.ca <mailto:mweiler at wlu.ca>
>  <image001.png>
> 75 University Ave. W.
> Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5
> https://library.wlu.ca <https://library.wlu.ca/>
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