Case Study: Down Syndrome

Mr. Sands, Supermarket assistant with Down syndrome

Mr. Sands has put groceries in bags for customers for the past year at a supermarket. He has Down syndrome, and has difficulty with abstract concepts, reading, and doing mathematical calculations.

He usually buys his own groceries at this supermarket because he is familiar with it, but sometimes finds that there are so many product choices that he becomes confused, and he finds it difficult to keep track of how much he is spending. He has difficulty re-learning where his favorite products are each time the supermarket changes the layout of its products.

Recently, he visited an online grocery service from his computer at home. He explored the website the first few times with a friend. He found that he could use the website without much difficulty because the items were clearly indicated, the information and instructions were formulated in simple language that is easy to understand, and the navigation was consistent and easy to use.

His friend also showed him some software that highlights links and form options on the web page, and helps him select such links and options using a single key. This software also has word prediction functionality which highlights a selection of likely words based on the first few characters that he can easily select. Mr. Sands uses this function frequently when he is entering text, such as comments and product reviews. He is happy that the website provides a similar feature for its product search function because it highlights the product names which his software does not know.

The website also provides an option that lets him select from a list of products that he has ordered in the past or that he selected as his favorites. Once he decides what he wants to buy, he selects the item and puts it into his virtual shopping basket. The website gives him an updated total each time he adds an item, helping him make sure that he does not over spend his budget.

Mr. Sands now shops on the online grocery site a few times a month, and just buys a few fresh items each day at the supermarket where he works. He is one of the many happy customers of this usable website.

Our question to you is:

  • If Mr. Sands visits your website, is the information/content formulated in simple language?
  • Would he book mark you, for future reference and purchases?
  • At what level of language is your website using? (This is a hard one to figure out, and based on the surfers you want, for example a Scientific website could require higher education to understand, verse a website designed for children ages 8 to 15. Just to keep in mind the Intelligence of your audience)

Case Study from: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Our Questions from: IceWeb Solutions’ Staff