Universal Access Through Client-Centred Cognitive Assessment and Personality Profiling

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Abstract

The demand for universal access to information in the evolving Information Society produces an inexorable move towards complex, powerful and interlinked technological solutions. In this context, user requirements must be captured by more powerful user models, based upon more advanced user centred methods. Traditional HCI techniques may not work well in the new context of future and emerging technologies. Earlier work [1] observed significant dissociations between observed task performance and self report, raising profound and serious problems for user modelling methods. This empirical paper evaluates three different types of method used in user modelling; task performance, self-report and the personality inventory. Four case studies with individuals with acquired disabilities are reported here. The relationships between these three aspects of the user’s profile (self report, task performance and the personality inventory) are more complex than expected and provide different, sometimes contradictory, perspectives of user needs. A potential explanatory framework is offered briefly to guide future user modelling work. More importantly, any code of practice for Universal Access must not rely on any one method alone but must combine methods to minimise conceptual and practical errors. User profiles for adaptive technology must also employ multiple methods, if such technology is to be reliable in practice.