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The Human Element: How to Include People with Disabilities into Your User Testing Practice

taught by: Amy Cole
co-presented by: Alex Hull, Angelina Smith

Session Summary

Whether you’ve got an advanced user testing practice or are just getting started, we have tips on how to include people with disabilities into your project’s life cycle. Learn how we partnered with a local visual impairment group to recruit people with disabilities into our content, generative, and prototype testing practice and how their findings have confirmed or changed our work.


Traditional accessibility audits are a single piece of the testing puzzle. WCAG success criteria are only able to help us check for many technical issues but not all usability problems. Content, instructions, error messaging or design considerations all need human input. To help us augment our manual and automated testing, our teams have started a repeatable user testing process which includes recruiting of people with disabilities. We will also share ideas on how to reach out to local disability support and advocacy groups and what’s worked for us. Establishing, building, and maintaining these relationships is a fundamental part of any user recruitment process and we will share our story so you too, can be successful. Best of all, you don’t have to have a huge budget to replicate what we did. Find out how you can build your own relationships and begin including people with disabilities in your design, testing, and deployment phases.

Practical Skills

  • Why it’s important to include user testing to augment accessibility audits ; how to incorporate findings from your research into your work.
  • How relationships with nonprofits are a two way street; both organizations benefit.
  • Compensation, screening, and recruitment tips.