Center for Literacy La Jarnigoine

Understanding the realities of people living with illiteracy in a digital world
Yu Centrik Inc.
The Challenge

According to the findings of the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS) done in 2006, 1.3 million people in Quebec have serious difficulties in reading and writing. This means 1 in 5 adults.

The goals of this project were to:
1) understand what strategies people living with little literacy employ to cope in a digital world, and
2) understand how we can help as UX designers to make the products more accessible.

Yu Centrik Inc.
The solution

Carrying out a field study and focus groups with regular visitors of a local literacy centre Yu Centrik discovered that this group is heavy users of IVRs (Interactive Voice Response Systems, or automated telephone systems).

Why IVRs? These systems are used as a strategy to have information provided to you without reading. Yu Centrik listened to their personal stories and sources of frustration. Many frustrations were related to the fact that they did not always understand the vocabulary used as well as the very high number of menus and instructions to listen to.
Yu Centrik’s team combined their findings with a usability inspection and a task analysis to identify the problems. As a result, we created recommendations and guidelines on how to improve the accessibility of automated telephone systems.

Some very simple design choices will significantly improve the access to most IVRs. We established a list of criteria and short-term design solutions. In collaboration with the literacy centre La Jarnigoine, we created a video to raise awareness in companies and governments on the accessibility issues of IVR systems.

(Link to the related blog and best practices)

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