A quick post from me to share some key points from the UXPA event last night to coincide with World Usability Day 2017. The event theme was 'Inclusion through User Experience' and there were three talks, each giving insights into the incredible work the speakers are doing.
First up was Dr Simone Stumpf from City University talking about using technology for Self-care, Advice, Monitoring, Planning and Intervention (SCAMPI) for people with chronic conditions. She gave detailed accounts of the intricate persona development stage, which was driven by people with these conditions and supported by realtives and carers. It was great to see how a user centred design approach had been adopted and was paying dividends in the form of bringing people together to contribute to developing the technology.
Next up was a fascinating talk by Ian Craigton-Chambers from the Bounce Alzheimer's Therapy (BAT) foundation. They are a Health & Wellbeing Charity that establishes ‘Table Tennis Therapy for Dementia’ Hubs across the U.K. Ian presented an overview of the research which demonstrates the significant effects of a specific ‘Exercise Intervention’ in delaying symptom onset, together with the marked reduction of cognitive decline, in patients diagnosed with early onset dementia. His talk was incredibly compelling- especially with the evidence he presented which demonstrated success with the therapy and literally seeing changes in patients that started to 'stimulate the cognitive signals' in their brains. He went into further detail about the genetics of dementia that could be seen in children as young as three years old!
The BAT foundation is actively seeking to place table tennis tables in the lives of children at risk, and encourage them to play and effectively start them on the therapy journey through play. He also touched on the all inclusive nature of table tennis and how it could be played by anyone using simple adaptaions such as 'walls' on the table, and introducing a balloon instead of a ball to allow easier play for people who are less mobile. There is no denying the evidence and the positive impact of this sport in Ian's work, and it's easy to see how table tennis as an activity is something we should all be doing to maintain and improve our cognitive health.
Last up was Emanuella Gorla giving us a run through of the inclusive initiatives a Barclays in her talk 'Designing inclusive producs and services at Barclays'. She walked us through the Barclays ambition to become "one of the most accessible and inclusive FTSE companies for all customers and clients" and the commercial benefits that this is generating. The process the BarclaysAccess team have gone through to drive this through 'inspiring hearts', 'educating heads' and 'enabling hands' was really inspiring. I'm really keen to learn more about the accessiblity suite mentioned, which contains wearable tech from glasses that mirror eye conditions, to gloves that simulate arthritis, and a full body 'age simulation suit' to give the experience of an older customer. The experience in-store with one of these suits makes "you feel very isolated, very in your self" and allows Barclays to tailor their technology to customers with these needs. As a result they have developed a better PinSentry device and high visibility debit cards for their customers.
In all a fantastic evening and a great way to celebrate World Usability Day. I highly recommend you follow the links in this post to find out more and support the organisations becuase the work they are doing is incredible. It certainly left me inspired with new ideas to make our work more inclusive.
Next week we are at Nielsen Norman Group's UX London conference, and after that we will be attending a11y London, hosted by Alistair Duggin from Government Digital Service - on top of our projects its a busy November! If you are attending any of these conferences, come and say hi!