Building Something Special
Something Special is a website designed for children with special needs. Under the direction of the Cbeebies production team, and Dr Stacey Birkett, Salford University, we worked with the BBC and Aardman Digital researching user requirements for the website and then testing the usability and accessibility of the designs.
Our reseach included visiting children, their teachers, parents and carers at school and at home to understand how technology can help the children learn, communicate and participate in society.
In this film, members of the project team share some of the lessons they learnt during the research, and describe how the findings influenced the design.
Ian Hamilton, Senior Designer at the BBC explains the importance of System Concepts' role in user research and testing:
Something Special: Out and About was an attempt to craft something that was not only appropriate for the most challenging group of users possible, but still just as enjoyable for all children. It has been a fantastic success, firstly in the significant numbers of people using the accessibility options and the way it is genuinely changing the lives of profoundly disabled young children, but also becoming one of the most popular pieces of online content that CBeebies have ever launched.
More than any other project I've come across this was the one where the audience and the producers had the least in common, so it was completely reliant on research and testing to get to the point that we did. Its successes would have been impossible without the thorough, iterative, test driven process, gaining audience understanding and evolving the product as it went along.