Redesigning Security: a UX Research Case Study on Accessibility
Who are blue-collar workers? 💭
The term ‘Blue-collar employee/worker’ refers to the working class which participates in various forms of manual labor. They may work in fields of skilled or unskilled labor. While formally used to refer to mineworkers who worked in excavations and a whole lot more, in the South-Asian society it’s mainly used to describe employees who do daily chores, from security personnel to cooks and house-help (Also well described as Domestic/Household help).
Importance of introducing increased accessibility to blue-collar workers’ lives 🔍
Most blue-collar workers do not have easy access to proper nutrition, which results in health repercussions due to deficiencies of vitamins and minerals. Moreover, blue-collar workers face physical challenges that most people don’t, many a time resulting in injuries and lifetime consequences. (We’ll be delving into this later on in the study!)
As Mohammed Jemni said, “The disability is not the problem. The accessibility is the problem.”
Keeping accessibility for disabilities (physical or mental) along with illnesses ensures that a larger percentage of working blue-collar workers get a chance to work jobs to which they haven’t been given equal access for ages. Most differently-abled people looking for blue-collar jobs are at a disadvantage, which can, in most cases, solved with technical tweaks. Not only does this give abled people a better chance to find work and earn their bread, but also allows companies to be inclusive in all matters of trade.
The study itself 📊
Every case study tends to start with a problem of some sort, as does this one. The problem statement at hand: To design an attendance application for Security guards, which could be used to increase their efficiency on the job while keeping accessibility scenarios in mind.
Many security-related organizations and individuals face the tough task of efficiently maintaining and storing data. Day to day, a security guard may have various tasks at hand, and not enough time to keep data and information provided in an organized manner, which may result in loss of information due to unkept data entries, which many a time leads to berating of the individual or the organization.
The statement itself is vague in nature and gives away neither any details of the working environment of the blue-collar workers, nor the details of the attendance required, so we consider all factors in this study.
Due to a high volume of incoming visitors/attendees at all social organizations, maintaining a proper listing of visitations is a tough task and often leads to misspellings, among other untrue details being recorded. While this doesn’t cause immediate harm, it may cause problems for the hiring organization in the future in case any trouble ensues.
Guard’s Goal 🚩
Guard simplifies the tasks of guarding personnel, by putting them all in one place. No more fumbling with big, bulky records (in many cases, more than a few for each task) or having trouble keeping track of incoming courier packages, letters, and overall mail. Focusing not only on creating a simple interface to make taking attendance of visitors easier but it also ensures that factors like hurried handwriting, wrongly put time and date details no longer hamper the record-maintaining that security guards have to go through on a daily basis, making the task at hand much simpler.
Target Audience 👨 👩➡️👴 👵
The target user base would be security guards of all backgrounds, mainly acting as a simple interface to make data entries lined with more features that could come helpful in emergencies. We also take into account the chances of disabilities (both internal and external), medical conditions (such as being visually impaired or having cases of selective color blindness) along taking in a major factor of age. While we cannot narrow down any particular age group which takes up the job, an age range of 18–55 allows us to keep accessibility well in mind.
As the job calls for versatility, all genders and age groups must be taken into consideration. Taking that into account, we focus on four personas for the development of Guard.
- Harish (54) is a security guard from an organization of SecurityHub, which provides security personnel to most societies in Mumbai. His day starts off with numerous visitors into the society (all of whom he has to keep track of) followed by maintaining a regular log of courier packages coming in, with the high volumes of online orders pouring in on a daily basis for members of his society.
With many other tasks at hand, Harish ends his day shift by handing over to the next individual sent in from SecurityHub after making sure all his records are up to date for submission to his organization and the society’s office at the end of every two weeks.
2. Kamala (36) works as a security guard for a Bank Office. Her main priority is keeping the office safe, look out for any suspicious behavior. Monitoring her shift timings is important, as shift changes at the office are very quick in nature. It’s also part of her job to make sure she has all emergency contacts required memorized, in case any calamity ensues. Her work also revolves around making sure locking up of all entrances and appliances is done properly.
3. Fatim (42) works as security personnel at an IT corporate office among one of the many major corporate offices present in the city of Bangalore. He is the sole breadwinner for his family of four, and his shift timings which he’s paid according to are very important to his salary as his entire family depends on it.
His day revolves around managing the many visitors and clients who visit the office on a regular basis, followed by managing the parcels of the office and any mail that comes in for the employees. Sometimes, he also manages a token system for visitors’ belongings.
4. Bahadur (25) is a security guard at Chennai’s SRM University. His shifts vary from many points inside the campus, from hostels to the main library. His day involves keeping track of visitors entering, making sure any suspicious behavior is reported as the earliest, keeping check of any latecomers, and attendance for the same. Keeping track of various kinds of visitors and locking up before the next shift starts occasionally.
As the application would be used by people of a versatile age group, the accessibility of the application is a must to keep in mind. A bit part of the application’s accessibility would be the disabilities that certain individuals may have, and how the application helps them instead of becoming another thing for them to overcome. A few disabilities kept in mind here would be:
- Visual impairment- Taking into account that the financial situation of security guards may not be ideal for their health, pre-mature blindness and cataracts are common among older (especially mid-aged and senior) workers. We would have to make sure that the application is clear to use, and this would mean using darker contrasting colors that can be figured out without giving too much thought into detail.
2. Partial Colour Blindness- Due to the lesser quality of food, or deficiency of many required nutrients, many people partial color blindness in India. The most common type would be Red-Green Colour Blindness, and adds to the reason of not using only colors in the application for the basis of confirmation, and using a neutral small understandable text along with it to increase accessibility.
3. Lack of education/Literacy — Use of simple language throughout the application, along with high contrast readable and distinguished icons consistently throughout the application (serving as visual cues) would help the security personnel memorize a certain symbol, even if they cannot read it out or make it out clearly.
Also, depending on where the application is developed, the inclusion of a local vernacular or at least including the national language would help individuals be able to use the application more.
4. Physical Disabilities- While most security organizations in the past did not put the focus on people with disabilities, times have changed and organizations have started taking in people with minor physical disabilities as well. Making sure of one-handed (specific left-handed or right-handed use) would be difficult, but could be executed by considering the combined thumb-zone mapping for both left and right-handed users.
List of possible Features:
1. Attendance. ✅
2. Emergency Services and SOS button. 🆘
3. Punching in and out. ⏰
4. Keeping track of mail and packages coming in.📦
5. Effective task listing 📑
6. Reporting of suspicious behaviour of visitors.📢
Impact of introducing increased accessibility to blue-collar workers’ lives:
A number of Indian companies have worked towards hiring people who are differently-abled and welcoming them to their workforces. Some of these companies include:
Lemon Tree Hotels 🏢 (focused on recruiting employees with Down Syndrome and hearing & speech impediments in 2007)
ITC Group of Hotels 🏬 (Focused on a versatile range from Mild Physical Disabilities to Vision Impairment of different severities)
Cafe Coffee Day ☕️ (Around 15% of CCD’s taskforce includes differently abled people all over the country)
Reliance Industries Ltd. 👏(Hires across multiple domains, with a major focus on deaf & mute employees)
These companies and their success with such a workforce confirm the need for inclusion of differently-abled people in our regular society workforces as well, making sure that they have equal resources and advantages as any other person to ensure maximum efficiency and growth, and as we saw above, keeping in mind a few major points in relation to the target audience, accessibility integration adds the opportunity to tap into everyone’s potential.