Human Machine Interfaces for Low Literate Users

Tags: Usability, Low literate users, Interfaces

The normal computer interfaces including operating systems and productivity suite like Microsoft office are relatively complex, with their metaphors of file paths, menus and written text.

Low literate people are generally less familiar with complex technologies. Low literate people usually read word by word and they spend more time on word recognition rather understanding their meanings and can not store more information in their short term memory. Low literate people more concentrate on examples rather their interpretation. They usually skip difficult letters, chunk of sentences or try to avoid reading altogether. Low literate users have a lower ability to understand and follow-up written instructions, lower cognitive processing speed and lower organizational skills in ICT. Low literate users become confused when using the web, especially search engines to search for desired results. They believe that the first available option in the search result is the best. Their performance is usually lower as compared to high literate users, since they take longer to finish tasks, spend more time on the same page and visit more pages to find the solution of their problem.

Language is a major hurdle for low literate users to access ICT services such as banking and traveling. Due to the difficulty found in reading and comprehending online text, low literate users rarely try to find the solution of their problems through world wide web. Success of e-servicesis dependent on e-participation and access to the common person.