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Testing the User Experience for Universal Design and Accessibility: Show Them How It Hurts!

| Proposal No: 922

Bios & Handouts


  • Angela Hooker, , Microsoft

Disability Area:          

Topic Area:                

Length of Session (in hours): 1-hrFormat: Lecture Expertise Level: All Levels Type of session: Not provided

Summary of Session

You’ve worked to make your project accessible. It’s time for usability testing, but you’re not testing with people w/disabilities? With responsive design, many devices and various user needs, it’s vital to include everyone! Learn how discluding users hurts projects and ways to make testing inclusive


We know we should build universal design in projects and test for accessibility. We also know to test for usability, including content clarity and functionality. Despite internal accessibility testing, nothing is better than usability testing by people with disabilities. They uncover barriers that the most seasoned accessibility expert can miss, since they're most familiar with their AT, and we can only guess the impact of certain cognitive impairments. Often, it’s hard to convince management to allow usability testing with PWDs, so most people don’t—which hurts a project’s success. Maybe they’ve experienced conflicts between testing software and AT, logistical issues, or concerns about the audience. How do we change management’s minds? Show them exactly what their users encounter, so they see how not testing with PWDs gives a partial view of usability. This is a good model to change management’s thinking, and explore different approaches to usability testing that will make testing inclusive.


  1. Learn new ways to show accessibility issues
  2. Involve your team in usability and accessibility testing
  3. Make usability testing inclusive

Speaker Bio(s)

Angela Hooker

Angela Hooker is a Senior Accessibility Product Manager at Microsoft, where she's built a center of expertise for accessibility, user experience, and universal design. She's brought her web management, development, design, accessibility, and editorial and content management expertise to the government and private sector for over 20 years. Angela also advocates for role-based accessibility and believes that teaching people how to incorporate principles of accessibility in their everyday work creates a sustainable program and produces the most accessible user experiences. In addition to accessibility and universal design, she supports plain language and web standards. Angela speaks on and writes about accessibility, user experience, and plain language.