HCI SPECIFICATIONS FOR KNOWSLEY COMPUTING RESOURCE CENTRE.
As society becomes increasingly reliant on a knowledge-based economy, people with disabilities will have an excellent opportunity to participate fully in the social and economic life of their communities. Whether this comes to pass depends on what happens to people with disabilities in learning and using the new computer and information technologies. These technologies have the potential to help or hinder people with disabilities, making concerns about the accessibility of these technologies an important issue. .
¡ §Designing for accessibility from the outset always results in better, less expensive, and timelier solutions than retrofits ¡ (Jacobs, 1999; Node Networking,). .
It is important to ensure that the needs and concerns of students with all types of disabilities are represented in planning decisions from their initiation.
Therefore, when designing the computer resource centre it was necessary to investigate current practices and realities in the use of computer and information technologies to highlight specific access needs of students with different disabilities. .
The aim of the project is to design a computer resource centre, which should include the hardware and software necessary to encourage accessibility by users with physical and mental disabilities.
Apart from the obvious novice, occasional and expert users, we need to consider the users with special needs who can also fit into any of the aforementioned categories i.e. a blind user can also be expert in the use of a computer with text to speech capabilities. Therefore the user groups mentioned below are generalised and by no means exhaustive.
1. Novice users are people who have no experience of a particular computer package or system.
2. Occasional users are people who use a system regularly for a limited range of tasks.
3. Expert users are people who use the system regularly for a wide range of tasks and have an in depth knowledge of a particular package or system.