It’s “Disabled” not “Differently-Abled”: Researching Beyond Abled People

“Approximately 20% of Americans are disabled, and many more benefit from good accessibility, but despite this disabled people can be overlooked when it comes to research and design. When disabled people are included in the research, it is sometimes clear that the researcher hasn’t fully thought through their inclusion. It may be difficult for them to take surveys or sort cards, the wording of questions might be unintentionally offensive, or the machines being used for usability testing might not be setup properly.

In this session, we’ll go over some common pitfalls that researchers can face and ways to avoid them based on disabled users’ own experiences. We’ll talk about ways to make common research techniques more accessible, how to approach disabled participants about their needs, and how to create inclusive personas. We’ll also look into unique usability issues that can arise for different people with disabilities and how those can affect the research you do.

The audience members will leave this session with a greater appreciation of the scope of disabilities, the issues faced by disabled participants, and solid ways to improve the inclusivity and accessibility of their research techniques for disabled people.”