Throughout this design challenge, IxD students were asked to demonstrate design research practices specific to accessibility and inclusivity. Below are 9 Tips for doing research in this space
Social media and email communication are typically the fastest means for outreach. However, many of today’s tech platforms are not user friendly for individuals with disabilities. If you lack resources and points of contacts/experts, you can try reaching out to different schools and searching on recruitment platforms.
As with any design research project, it’s important to build rapport with the participants. Participants may be concerned about being taken advantage of so it’s important that they understand the purpose of the interview and trust you in their home. If they become overwhelmed and apologize while completing tasks, remind them that they are not wrong due to the technology’s inaccessibility.
When communicating with and about individuals with disabilities, it is important to be conscious of how you address the individual. They deserve to be treated with respect and professionalism. Terms such as “special needs” or referring to the individual as “disabled” defines the individual by their disability. However, referring to them by their name or as an individual with a disability identifies them as being a person first.
It may be very helpful to educate yourself about different disabilities and accessibility features in select technologies, prior to conducting primary research. Secondary research can also help you generate concepts for deliverables prior to conducting interviews.DOWNLOAD PDF
During an in-home interview, there are many distractions and the interview can get side tracked. While it is important to be flexible, it is also important to redirect the interview back to the topic at hand. Acknowledge the speed and time limitations of your participants especially when writing the interview script.
Many individuals with disabilities designed lifehacks customized to their disability to make items accessible. It is important to keep an open mind and don’t expect users to be able to complete all the tasks. Ask users to show you how they use their technology to access content and observe how they work around obstacles in accessibility.
Many individuals with disabilities spend a lot of time at home and their home is their safe place. Be respectful when entering their safe space. There homes may have less space due to medical equipment so keep the number of people who attend the interview to one or two people.
Some individuals with disabilities have caregivers and family members who take care of them. In order to fully understand the user’s needs, it is important to interview the caregiver to get their perspective and understand how much the caregiver assists the individual in the task being researched.
There’s always the chance that the ones you have scheduled will cancel. If you are able to find enough people to schedule for an interview, that’s great, but be prepared for cancellations and schedule “more than enough” participants to interview. Welcome offers to get new connections from the participants.