Role: User experience designer and researcher

Summary: For the first cycle of my final term at the University of Waterloo, TELUS approached our professors with a design brief that asked the teams involved to design an in-store product that helps those with cognitive disabilities. Over the duration of 6 weeks we used design thinking and agile methodologies. Our primary target market was those with dyslexia, as well as a secondary market of those with English as a second language. Our final solution was the "CommuniGuide", a kiosk that humanizes the experience of comparing and purchasing phones and mobile plans for TELUS customers by using simplified, empathetic terms about the user’s phone usage habits.

Tools used: Sketch, InVision, Coggle, Excel, Trello.

Prototype: https://invis.io/3MG4IFH8PRD
 

Empathizing & Defining

In order to understand and empathize with those living with cognitive disabilities, our team conducted a vast amount of secondary research on our own time and shared several surveys to hear about people's everyday struggles with cognitive disabilities. After analyzing the data we received through the surveys as well as notes taken on secondary data found online, we chose a primary target market of those with dyslexia. The statistics we found were very surprising. For example, 1 in 5 people in Canada have dyslexia, and 96% of people with dyslexia reported having other learning disabilities. 

Surveys: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2GMT8BFhttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N5R8YBQ

In order to gain empathy and try to understand what those with dyslexia experience everyday, our team designed an empathy prototype of a dyslexia simulation. This simulation mixed the letters of each word in a short story in efforts to show others, including ourselves, what it is like for someone with dyslexia to read. When testing this empathy prototype on others, it was clear that retaining information was very difficult for people, as they were more focused on trying to decode each word rather than string the sentence together.

Ideation & Prototyping

During our ideation phases, our team participated in multiple exercises such as "Crazy 8's" and the creation of user journey maps. After comparing ideas from our Crazy 8's activities, it was clear that our team was leaning towards an accessible user interface design through a kiosk. We believed that the use of a kiosk would be beneficial as it would offer a large screen size and audio options for those with dyslexia. This is something that our research showed to be crucial in helping those with dyslexia to read. 

We also knew that this kiosk would be effective as any customer can use it; this way a person with dyslexia will not be singled out for using a specialized device. This is also what led us to naming the kiosk "CommuniGuide", as it is clearly a combination of community/communication and guide, which is useful to any TELUS customer. We began our prototyping by designing several low-fidelity paper wireframes for the user interface of the kiosk.

After conducting usability testing with our peers as well as several people living with dyslexia, we found some key takeaways that were eventually used in the creation of our high-fidelity prototype. Some of the key takeaways from the first round of usability testing were:

  • No option for existing or new customers
  • Account summary information looked like buttons rather boxes of information
  • Lettercase was not consistent; mixture of capital and lowercase letters
  • Enjoyed "yes" or "no" questions
     

Testing & Validation

Our high-fidelity prototype featured the original TELUS colours and fonts, as well as a re-design of the account summary. We conducted usability testing on the same users as our last round of usability testing and received great feedback with minor changes. We presented our solution to our professors as well as members of the Accelerator Centre and overall received a lot of support in our final idea.

My team and I hope that TELUS will consider implementing something like this into their retail stores. It is crucial to keep accessibility in mind when designing any service.