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Conducting Usability Studies with Users Who Are Elderly or Have Disabilities

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Many disabled or elderly users have embraced the Web as a way to get easier access to information, services, contacts with others, and entertainment. But very often, Web sites are creating barriers for them, at the same time as they are reducing barriers of access. We can safely assume that Web sites are made by designers who have no intention to exclude groups of users from using the site. Our studies, however, have proved that good intentions are not enough to create Web content that is accessible and also usable for people with various kinds of physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. Web designers need to familiarize themselves with accessibility guidelines and apply them properly, but that goal is seldom achieved. Even when the guidelines are applied, a site’s ease of use for people with disabilities needs to be confirmed in a usability test with actual users who have disabilities. This article describes how to conduct user-focused tests with test participants who are elderly or who have disabilities.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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