AEGIS Personas - free for the world to use

Working through my blog backlog...

I'm pleased to report on one of the AEGIS results that was recently published on the AEGIS website - a large and pretty comprehensive set of personas covering a broad spectrum of users with disabilities who are interacting with desktop, web, and mobile technologies. These personas were developed from the AEGIS case studies and use cases, combined with extensive interviews with disabled users about their issues and concerns with technology in the desktop, web, and mobile spaces (including issues around document creation). Many thanks to AEGIS partner Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, working with our disability organization partners the ACE Center, UK, European Platform for Rehabilitation, Belgium, ONCE Foundation, Spain, Royal National Institute of Blind People, UK and SU-DART, Sweden for developing these personas.

As described on the AEGIS Personas page:

Personas are hypothetical archetypes of actual users. Although they are imaginary, they are defined with significant rigour and precision. This level of accuracy can only be reached by founding the personas on real data obtained from field research studying real people. The aim here is to make them approachable for all members of a project-team so that developers, designers, managers and other stakeholders can develop empathy for their end-users. The persona can almost become a real person, which will facilitate all layers in a project team to keep thinking from the user's perspective without being influenced by personal biases. During the entire design-process all developers, managers and other team members can refer in a critical manner to the personas to assure the work progresses on the right path.

In total, we have developed 17 personas for the AEGIS project: 15 capture users with disabilities, and 2 capture developers who are creating technologies that need to be made accessible. The disabilities represented among the set of 15 users are: blindness & low vision, upper limb motor impairments, hearing impairments, speech/communication impairments, and cognitive impairments (including learning difficulties). Further, some of the personas capture the not-uncommon case of a user with multiple disabilities (e.g. cognitive + upper limb mobility impairments).

In keeping with the strong emphasis on open source in AEGIS, we have published these personas under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. That means that anyone is free to use these personas, and build new personas based on them or otherwise modify them - so long as you likewise share your modifications/derivative work, and you properly attribute your modified/derivative work to AEGIS as set forth in the license.

In fact, AEGIS' sister project, ACCESSIBLE, is already using these personas and building additional ones for use within its project!

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Peter Korn

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