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Designing for Down Syndrome
IDIA 640 | Byron Buckley
What is it?
Down syndrome (DS) is a disorder that
manifests itself in disabilities that affect all
three major types of capabilities:
– cognitive,
– motor, and
– perceptual
Target User
• Down syndrome sufferers with moderate
to mild mental retardation (IQ: 40-70
range).
• Individuals able to effectively use the
equipment as is with no modifications to
the keyboard or mouse or other assistive
technology or modifications
• Individuals able to observe the various
visual cues in applications and the OS.
Target Users
• Persons able to undertake/understand
abstract tasks (such as CAPTCHAs etc)
• Individuals who had taken formal
computer classes, at some point in their
lives, anywhere from elementary school to
post-secondary and continuing education.
Budgeting
Budgeting
Budgeting
Budgeting
Personas
Backstory
Brian has multiple tasks at the supermarket. Over
the past year he has put groceries in bags for
customers, he also assists customers at the selfcheckout line. He has Down syndrome, and has
difficulty with abstract concepts, reading, and doing
mathematical calculations.
Motivations
Mr. Clay usually buys his own groceries at the
supermarket he works at since its familiar. His
difficulty with abstract concepts causes Brian to
prefer the familiar.
Frustrations
Brian finds it difficult to keep track of how much he
is spending daily. He often conducts multiple
transactions at the supermarket and spends money
for transport and various activities.

Brian Clay, age 30
Single
Philadelphia, PA
Supermarket Attendant

Ideal Experience
Consistent navigation, plain language for interface
copy and instructions. Accelerators to aid in
selecting UI elements along with word prediction for
form fields would also be effective. Word prediction
would also bring up previously entered budget items.
Personas
Backstory
Michael is a data entry clerk at a manufacturing firm.
He enters and maintains customer information in
the company’s system. Sorting mail is also a part of
his tasks.
Motivations
Michael is interested in living independently like his
neurotypical peers. His parents have stated that he
must demonstrate the ability to manage his income
properly before they allow this. He has been using
the computer since elementary school and is pretty
comfortable using one. His parents think the
computer is a good medium to aid him with income
management.
Frustrations
While Michael has many skills in his favor as a
person with Down Syndrome, his challenges with
math, and by extension his budgeting issues is a
sore point for him since he really wants to self
actualize by living on his own.

Michael Lazar, age 25
Single
Rochester, NY
Data Entry Clerk

Ideal Experience
Consistent navigation, plain language for interface
copy and instructions. Accelerators to aid in
selecting UI elements along with word prediction for
form fields would also be effective.
Application Demo
View Demo @
http://komplexb.github.io/easybudget
Design Approach

Aid with Distinguishing and
Understanding
– Easy-to-read text (Plain Language) for
copy text
– Avoiding popups and unnecessary
animations
– Progressive Disclosure
– Reduced Interface
Design Approach

Progressive Disclosure
Reduced Interface
Design Approach

Avoiding popups and
unnecessary animations
Design Approach

Aiding with User Interaction
– Accelerators
– Spelling and Grammar Tools
Design Approach

Autocomplete as an
accelerator.
Design Approach

Aid with navigation and finding content
– Consistency and predictability
– Helpful error and success messages
– Multiple navigation mechanisms
Design Approach

Consistent colors and
icon/images used
Design Approach
– Provide clear guidance, feedback and
rewards.
– Don't underestimate the impact of images.
– Remember that everything means something.
Design Approach

Use of images via icons
Tooltips provided for
elements with low affordance
Design Approach

Feedback
Sources
•

Kirijian, A., Myers, M., & Charland, S. (2001). Web Fun Central: Online learning
tools for individuals with Down syndrome. Retrieved from Interaction Design:
Beyond human-computer interaction: http://www.idbook.com/secondedition/downloads/casestudy_10point1.pdf

•

Kumin, L., Lazar, J., & Feng, J. H. (2012, 06). Expanding Job Options: Potential
Computer-Related Employment for Adults with Down Syndrome. Retrieved from
The ACM Digital Library: acm.org

•

"Mr. Sands, Supermarket assistant with Down syndrome." Stories of Web Users
How People with Disabilities Use the Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.
<http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/people-use-web/stories#supermarketassistant

•

Hamm, Trent. "Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal
Finance On Just One Page" . N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2013.
<http://www.thesimpledollar.com/onepage/>.
Thanks!

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Humans Computers and Cognition: Designing for Down Syndrome

  • 1. Designing for Down Syndrome IDIA 640 | Byron Buckley
  • 2. What is it? Down syndrome (DS) is a disorder that manifests itself in disabilities that affect all three major types of capabilities: – cognitive, – motor, and – perceptual
  • 3. Target User • Down syndrome sufferers with moderate to mild mental retardation (IQ: 40-70 range). • Individuals able to effectively use the equipment as is with no modifications to the keyboard or mouse or other assistive technology or modifications • Individuals able to observe the various visual cues in applications and the OS.
  • 4. Target Users • Persons able to undertake/understand abstract tasks (such as CAPTCHAs etc) • Individuals who had taken formal computer classes, at some point in their lives, anywhere from elementary school to post-secondary and continuing education.
  • 9. Personas Backstory Brian has multiple tasks at the supermarket. Over the past year he has put groceries in bags for customers, he also assists customers at the selfcheckout line. He has Down syndrome, and has difficulty with abstract concepts, reading, and doing mathematical calculations. Motivations Mr. Clay usually buys his own groceries at the supermarket he works at since its familiar. His difficulty with abstract concepts causes Brian to prefer the familiar. Frustrations Brian finds it difficult to keep track of how much he is spending daily. He often conducts multiple transactions at the supermarket and spends money for transport and various activities. Brian Clay, age 30 Single Philadelphia, PA Supermarket Attendant Ideal Experience Consistent navigation, plain language for interface copy and instructions. Accelerators to aid in selecting UI elements along with word prediction for form fields would also be effective. Word prediction would also bring up previously entered budget items.
  • 10. Personas Backstory Michael is a data entry clerk at a manufacturing firm. He enters and maintains customer information in the company’s system. Sorting mail is also a part of his tasks. Motivations Michael is interested in living independently like his neurotypical peers. His parents have stated that he must demonstrate the ability to manage his income properly before they allow this. He has been using the computer since elementary school and is pretty comfortable using one. His parents think the computer is a good medium to aid him with income management. Frustrations While Michael has many skills in his favor as a person with Down Syndrome, his challenges with math, and by extension his budgeting issues is a sore point for him since he really wants to self actualize by living on his own. Michael Lazar, age 25 Single Rochester, NY Data Entry Clerk Ideal Experience Consistent navigation, plain language for interface copy and instructions. Accelerators to aid in selecting UI elements along with word prediction for form fields would also be effective.
  • 11. Application Demo View Demo @ http://komplexb.github.io/easybudget
  • 12. Design Approach Aid with Distinguishing and Understanding – Easy-to-read text (Plain Language) for copy text – Avoiding popups and unnecessary animations – Progressive Disclosure – Reduced Interface
  • 14. Design Approach Avoiding popups and unnecessary animations
  • 15. Design Approach Aiding with User Interaction – Accelerators – Spelling and Grammar Tools
  • 17. Design Approach Aid with navigation and finding content – Consistency and predictability – Helpful error and success messages – Multiple navigation mechanisms
  • 18. Design Approach Consistent colors and icon/images used
  • 19. Design Approach – Provide clear guidance, feedback and rewards. – Don't underestimate the impact of images. – Remember that everything means something.
  • 20. Design Approach Use of images via icons Tooltips provided for elements with low affordance
  • 22. Sources • Kirijian, A., Myers, M., & Charland, S. (2001). Web Fun Central: Online learning tools for individuals with Down syndrome. Retrieved from Interaction Design: Beyond human-computer interaction: http://www.idbook.com/secondedition/downloads/casestudy_10point1.pdf • Kumin, L., Lazar, J., & Feng, J. H. (2012, 06). Expanding Job Options: Potential Computer-Related Employment for Adults with Down Syndrome. Retrieved from The ACM Digital Library: acm.org • "Mr. Sands, Supermarket assistant with Down syndrome." Stories of Web Users How People with Disabilities Use the Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. <http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/people-use-web/stories#supermarketassistant • Hamm, Trent. "Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance On Just One Page" . N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2013. <http://www.thesimpledollar.com/onepage/>.