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WAI: Strategies, guidelines, and resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities

WAI Handout 2007C, Updated 31 March 2008

See the WAI Handout and WAI Flyer page for other handouts, print versions of this handout, and additional information.

Including People with Disabilities in Design Studies

The WAI resource Involving Users in Web Accessibility Evaluation at www.w3.org/WAI/eval/users provides guidance on including people with disabilities in design studies. It:

While this resource is focused on Web accessibility evaluation, much of the guidance in it applies to a broad range of situations, including:

The WAI resource covers involving users effectively, analyzing accessibility problems, drawing conclusions and reporting, and including diverse users; for example:

People with disabilities are as diverse as any people. They have diverse experiences, expectations, and preferences. They use diverse interaction techniques, adaptive strategies, and assistive technology configurations. People have different disabilities: visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological — and some have multiple disabilities. Even within one category, there is extreme variation; for example, "visual disability" includes people who have been totally blind since birth, people who have distortion in their central vision from age-related degeneration, and people who temporarily have blurry vision from an injury or disease.

Include users with a variety of disabilities and user characteristics. In most cases evaluators have limited time and budget and cannot include many users in evaluation. Selecting the optimum number of users with the best suited characteristics can be difficult. There are resources on the Web that provide guidance on determining participant characteristics for a particular situation and on finding participants with disabilities.

A complete list of WAI Resources is available at www.w3.org/WAI/Resources/

For updates, see www.w3.org/WAI/flyer/