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Disabled user testing is essential to achieve a comprehensive accessibility evaluation of your website.

Why do it?

Your website should be usable and accessible for everyone. Disabled user testing is essential to achieve a comprehensive accessibility evaluation of a website.

As well as this obligation to meet the needs of all users, disabled users are a key market not to be forgotten, with an estimated £80bn in disposable income.

There are many different disabilities and it is important to consider everyone when undertaking disabled user testing.

However, we would only recommend testing with disabled users after usability testing and an accessibility audit have been undertaken and the resulting findings implemented. This is to ensure that all the “obvious” issues have been addressed. Otherwise disabled user testing is not value for money and can result in unhappy testers if they come up against issues that could’ve been rectified in advance.

How we do it

We adopt the same approach to disabled user testing as we would with any other usability testing session: we put users at the centre of our research process, and work to produce agreed and actionable results.

The process typically follows the following three steps:

  • Project preparation – We work with you to plan the research, so you get the right solution – not an ‘off the shelf’ one. We would discuss in detail the objectives of the testing and agree the number and types of testers required.
  • Testers and Recruitment – we conduct all our recruitment in house. We believe this allows us to recruit more accurately to your specification, provide greater flexibility, and treat testers in a decent and ethical way. We have recruited a wide range of testers with visual, motor or cognitive impairment.
  • Usability testing – During the testing we will upfront ask testers which assistive technology they prefer to use e.g. screen reader software such as Jaws, magnification software such as Super Nova, assistive input devices (e.g. keyboard, mouse). Sessions are normally closer to 2 hours to ensure sufficient time to set up and explore the site.

We encourage clients to watch at least some of the testing. Following the research, a discussion is held to consider the outcomes and identify the priority issues to be fixed.

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