Provide customisation, personalisation and adaptation options

Providing customisation, personalisation and adaptation options gives the user the feeling that the app and/or service was developed for them, with their needs at the center. Providing a personalised app will positively impact user experience and will help to market the app or service to vulnerable to exclusion groups.

Offering the possibility to partially customise the theme (colour, contrast, fonts and content behaviour), provided that at least one of them is fully-accessible, is one of the possible solutions to satisfy both the need for a nice-looking applications and to provide clearer and simpler versions to users who prefer to use the service in a more efficient and safe fashion, according to their specific needs .

Full personalisation is also an option, but people with impairments would probably find it difficult to configure their version without support. If personalisation options are offered, a guided procedure and support for first configuration must also be provided. Inclusive adaptation is a tricky topic since it requires in-depth knowledge about all possible contexts of use and all the specific needs of vulnerable-to-exclusion people. Moreover, it’s important to allow users to deactivate adaptive contents in case of need (e.g. high battery consumption).

Customisation, Personalisation and Adaptation may sound as features that only digital experts are able to configure. In INDIMO, thanks to our COPs and Co-creation communities, we are sure that it’s a matter of human-centred design, training and experience. When people get familiar with an application (from basic to advanced users), they appreciate the possibility of configuring it according to their needs.

Foresee the possibility to specify accessibility settings. A non-exhaustive list of required options from our research are:

  • personalization options to adapt the application to a specific condition
  • personalized notifications about accessibility issues (e.g. disruption, elevators out of service)
  • voice-based commands and directions (search, route planning, navigation).

Offering such options and the possibility of saving preferences when switching to new devices or reinstalling the application would make the personalisation process worth the time spent in it. Some people would also appreciate the possibility of sharing their preferences with peers or friends with similar needs. Personalisation options availability is a good strategy to foster peer-to-peer promotion of the app. Here some examples on how personalisation increases accessibility:

  • Users with cognitive disabilities may need to reduce the number of controls to create a more memorable interface.
  • Users with slower-than-average reading or input ability may prefer to map several actions to a single action or automate a process: offer users the possibility to do so with the option of saving or automating a “recurrent action” and easily find it when they need it.
  • Users with learning disabilities such as dyslexia may prefer a different font for texts. Offer the opportunity to switch between different theme-fonts or choose a font certified for full accessibility, for example those classified as Sans Serif (e.g. Arial, 14pt)
  • Users with auditory impairments who use captions on screen may need to personalise contrast background to distinguish the text provided.
  • Users with colour vision deficiencies may need symbols alongside colours to distinguish between different information.
  • Users with low vision may need a higher contrast to distinguish information in the foreground from the background.