Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Jen Gallagher 

MSc User Experience Design

Hi, I'm Jen. I'm a Content Designer with a background in educational publishing. My research project explores how academic journal websites can be made more accessible, specifically for students with ADHD. You can see some highlights of my research project below and can check out my website for a more detailed look at the work I completed throughout the course.

Project Description

The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the lived experience of third-level students with ADHD, with academic reading, and also to understand how customisation of an academic reading tool impacts the user experience. With the number of third-level students in Ireland registering with student disability services increasing by 268% over the past twelve years, there was a need for conducting further research, particularly in the context of third-level students with ADHD, to strengthen existing but limited evidence.

JournalMate: An academic reading tool for third-level students with ADHD

JournalMate is an accessible academic reading tool to support third-level students with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This research project was conducted in three phases using a user-centred design process. The initial research phase explored cognitive processing difficulties associated with ADHD, reading habits and user needs. A series of interviews with three subject matter experts and eight students with ADHD aimed to identify pain points and problems hindering users from carrying out academic reading efficiently and confidently. Phase two involved ideating solutions based on data collected in the first phase, focusing on developing a tool to assist with academic reading. Phase three concluded with the resulting prototyped solution being evaluated by 10 users. The data gathered during this evaluation provides insight into the performance of the application and will aid in any subsequent design iteration. The output of the study is an accessible academic reading tool, referred to as JournalMate, for third-level students with ADHD. Results provided additional data to build on previous study findings and existing theories. Future practical implications are discussed, along with limitations.