Information about accessible UX research is not nearly as easy to find as information about, say, how to code the right language attribute onto the page. That’s not necessarily surprising considering that there are few “absolutes” in UX research and even fewer in Accessibility.
Assistiv Labs provides the following guideline for Getting Started with Accessibility UX Research and it covers one of the topics we often leave untouched: you have to be comfortable with disability and with interacting with people who have disabilities in order to be an effective researcher. The article covers how to learn those skills, then follows with information about recruiting, running tests, using accessibility software, and research tools.
David Sloan at The Paciello Group provides the following three articles as guidelines:
- Think like an accessible UX researcher part 1: Defining your research problem
- Think like an accessible UX researcher part 2: How many participants?
- Think like an accessible UX researcher part 3: Five common mistakes in usability testing and how to avoid them
How you contribute to success
- Ensure inclusive research participants
- Ensure that our current user research and usability tests do not inadvertently prevent users with disability issues from participating (for example, by using inaccessible software or staging tests in physical locations they can’t get to)
- Seek out people with disabilities to include in user research and usability tests. Examples:
- Usability tests that include users on sceen readers
- Focus groups that include users with low vision
- Ensure that research incorporates disabilities into some or all personas. (Note: accessibility professionals recommend against creating personas specifically about accessibility issues because it marginalizes those people.)
- Identify whether A/B testing can be used for accessibility testing
- Be familiar with guidelines so, if asked, you can add them to heuristic analysis
- Seek out and hire a diverse team including people who have disabilities
- Considering accessibility when designing a usability test by Deque outlines how to integrate testing for accessibility into a usability test, since if it’s not accessible it’s not usable.
- Daniel Pidcock outlines what can happen if you don’t usability test with disabled users in his article Accessibility user testing: a cautionary tale.
- Conducting Mobile Accessibility Research with Screen-Reader Users by Nielsen Norman Group outlines how to recruit, plan, and run a mobile accessibility test on site.