In the presentation, Lauren referred to some extra resources. You can download these by clicking here.
Transcript of recording with Lauren Isaacson – generated automatically by HappyScribe which means it will be about 80% accurate – if you spot confusing errors, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The timestamps are included to help you jump directly to a point of interest.
[00:00:09.950] – Lauren Isaacson
Hello, I’m Lauren Isaacson, and I’m a market new research consultant from Vancouver, British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada. Now, I’ve known a lot of accessibility proponents in the community. I’ve been working in the works for a few years now. And the conversations I’ve been hearing from the U.S. design and the programming area, things they talk a lot about accessibility and what that means and how to achieve it and how important it is. But I never hear it coming from the research community or very rarely do I hear it coming from the research community.
[00:00:47.270] – Lauren Isaacson
And I believe that needs to change. Now, before we begin, I just want to thank my friends and accessibility professionals Mary Elizabeth Sullivan and Glenda Sims for their valued and significant input. Without them, I don’t think I could have made this presentation. We’re going to be going over how to understand this world of disabilities. How to view people with disabilities as a market to sell to the legal implications of disabled exclusion. Why we should go about making research inclusive and then how to go about doing that?
[00:01:28.870] – Lauren Isaacson
Let’s start with my experience now, my experience with disability is in direct. This is Sherry Ray, she is my neighbor. She has been my neighbor for the last seven or eight years. When I first met her, she was a successful fine artist and photographer. She was very open about having ADHD and also about being on the autism spectrum. But soon after she moved in, she changed, she had to step away from art and she focused her energy on gaming.
[00:02:00.290] – Lauren Isaacson
She started streaming on Twitch and she gained a following, rivaling her days as an artist. The reason why she had to make that transition is that her health deteriorated, she was experiencing chronic pain, fatigue, she was having trouble digesting food, she was experiencing failing motor skills and an overall loss of strength. Gaming provided an outlet, a physical distraction. Eventually, she was diagnosed with a rare and connective tissue disorder. She had to have a feeding tube installed and she got a wheelchair to aid in building her strength and independence.
[00:02:39.250] – Lauren Isaacson
She’s since had the feeding tube removed and she’s doing much better now. Now, while she may not be able to continue as an artist, she’s making up for it by fiercely advocating for people with disabilities on social media. She also speaks about accessibility and the importance of it. At gaming conferences, she consults with game developers on how to make their games and equipment accessible to people with disabilities. She even does it full time now for Ubisoft out of Montreal.
[00:03:10.310] – Lauren Isaacson
She’s also made me more aware having her in my life has made me more aware of disabilities and people with disabilities and the struggles they go through on a daily basis. And I’m very grateful for that. What I’m trying to get at is that a disability is not a novelty experience, everybody has a has a disability experience, whether it be direct or indirect. What we need to confront is what is your definition of disability? Are you able to see people you know is having a disability?
[00:03:49.830] – Lauren Isaacson
So let’s go about understanding what disabilities are. Now, disability is a complicated label, but categorizing it makes it easier to understand there are physical disabilities. These affect mobility, dexterity and includes the loss of limbs. There are visual impairments and there’s a wide spectrum of visual impairments. There are very few people who can’t see anything at all, and it can be caused by a lot of different factors. Hearing impairments are much the same way a person doesn’t have to be deaf in order to be hearing impaired.
[00:04:28.790] – Lauren Isaacson
There are also cognitive disabilities, this includes neurological impairments such as epilepsy. They can also affect the ability to learn and process information such as autism, and they can also be psychiatric and include ailments such as stress, depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety. Then there are disabilities associated with speech. Now, it used to be that people who work in the accessibility field didn’t really worry about speech, but now with a lot of voice interfaces, this is something they have to.
[00:05:03.230] – Lauren Isaacson
Realize and accommodate for. So speech impairments are people who have trouble communicating by talking. This can mean anything from not being able to talk at all to having a stutter. And when we’re thinking about all these categories of disabilities, people don’t necessarily fit under one single category, they often qualify under multiple categories. And we also need to recognize that disabilities are not always visible there, sometimes not obvious at all. So we’re thinking about that variation within categories, we can look to vision as an example of that so it can be anywhere from one end of the spectrum, which is colorblindness, which usually involves men, usually one be usually between one out of every nine men experience colorblindness, and that usually involves around not being able to tell the difference between red and green.
[00:06:01.260] – Lauren Isaacson
There’s also low vision, which can just be people who need glasses. There’s legal blindness, which means that you can’t really differentiate between shapes, that you kind of see a vague shape, but you’re not able to really tell what it is. And then there’s complete blindness where you can’t see anything at all. And then there are innate visual impairment, which are visual impairments that people are born with, and then there acquired visual impairments. And those are impairments that people acquire later on in life.
[00:06:32.720] – Lauren Isaacson
And the boundaries between all these are blurred, it’s not necessarily one thing or the other. I really appreciate how Microsoft views disability and they view it as a continuum on one end of the continuum, there’s permanent disability. And when we’re thinking about in terms of mobility and dexterity that can be from the loss of an arm and then someone can be temporarily disabled from a broken arm, or they can be situationally disabled from carrying a large bag of groceries. When Microsoft sells for one of these situations, they sell for all of these situations, which is why it’s really convenient to be able to use a phone with one hand.
[00:07:15.280] – Lauren Isaacson
It was designed that way. It was designed that way for these types of situations. So let’s talk about the market. Unfortunately, it can’t just be about doing the right thing. There has to be some kind of financial incentive. So let’s recognize that people with disabilities are a huge market. They make up over 20 percent of the global population and have a significant disposable income. In fact, they rival or even greater than that of a lot of the niche markets that our clients want us to pay a lot of attention to and learn about.
[00:07:50.850] – Lauren Isaacson
Now, I have an asterisks by the people with disability population because people may technically qualify as disabled, but they may not self identify that way. Disability is a personal issue, and some people may view themselves disabled, while other people may not, and that’s OK, it’s their business. So but because of that self identification issue, we may not have exact numbers around what the exact population of people with disabilities is. Should also be thinking about their friends and loved ones, so as we all know, word of mouth affects spending behavior.
[00:08:28.700] – Lauren Isaacson
People support companies which break down rather than create the barriers affecting people that they care about. So when we think about brands that we know and we enjoy, one brand that really comes to mind is OKso. So OKso was created to facilitate somebody with severe arthritis. And so while so people are able to see people with severe arthritis, see them handle a different device and they’re like, oh, that works for them. Whereas a plain old device doesn’t.
[00:08:57.710] – Lauren Isaacson
That’s great. I should use that. And they do use it and they’re just like, this is really comfortable. This works better than the other things I use. And that’s why it becomes a popular brand, because they see how it works for the other people in their lives that really need it and how other things don’t work for those people. We should also recognize that the market is guaranteed to increase with age. So two percent of toddlers have a disability that increases to 12 percent of school age children.
[00:09:29.290] – Lauren Isaacson
Then that jumps to twenty one percent of people over the age of 15. And then that jumps way up to 50 percent of people over the age of sixty five. The older people are, the more likely they are to be disabled and therefore benefit from some form of accommodation. And as people who are researchers, as people who study statistics and demography, we should all know that the general population is getting older over time. So this is a growing market that we should be looking at very carefully.
[00:10:02.870] – Lauren Isaacson
There are also legal implications to not be accommodating to people with disabilities. Many countries have accessibility laws, the intent of these laws is to remove barriers to people with disabilities from participating in society. They apply to products and services that are publicly available that could include websites, products, services, buildings, restaurants, cafes, cars, like you name it, if it can’t be made accessible to someone with a disability, then it could be in violation of an accessibility law.
[00:10:40.580] – Lauren Isaacson
Doesn’t matter if what you are working on is public or if it is private. If it is meant to be enjoyed by the population at large, it should be accessible. So. Los ESOMAR to be the Americans with Disabilities Act for accessibility and websites have been happening since 2008, but they are increasing. So as you can see, there was a big jump between twenty, seventeen and twenty eighteen massive. So when we’re thinking about this, this is a big deal and this is why companies are starting to pay a huge amount of attention to whether or not their websites are accessible to people with disabilities.
[00:11:25.320] – Lauren Isaacson
Now, while the numbers may be leveling off, that doesn’t mean they’re going down. And while they may still be processing the numbers from 20 20, the trends show that it is still plateauing. But again, not going down. So we need to be very aware of this. Once you learn about accessibility and what it means, what it entails, what are the signs of accessibility, you start to see the lack of it everywhere. This could include high tables and bench seating at restaurants.
[00:11:57.060] – Lauren Isaacson
It could include public restrooms that are difficult to get to or too small or you can’t or don’t have enough room for a wheelchair to make a turn in or mirrors that aren’t tilted down. So the people in wheelchairs can see themselves. It can include sidewalks without cutouts. It could include building entrances with just stairs and no ramps. We don’t have to think about these things because, well, we don’t have to, and that by itself is the very definition of privilege.
[00:12:25.770] – Lauren Isaacson
So let’s change that. I would like to think of doing inclusive research as an opportunity, not a kindness. There are many sectors and situations that can benefit from involving people with disabilities in both generative and evaluative research. If there is anything to learn from the last few years of media and current events, it’s that visibility matters. It is difficult to build or account for scenarios that you don’t know about or haven’t seen. We need to start bringing those cases to the forefront of our process so that we’re able to encounter them early so that we can accommodate those things.
[00:13:11.810] – Lauren Isaacson
Let’s look at health care. People with disabilities are often excluded from health care research, even though they are the greater consumers of health care services, that doesn’t even make any sense. That’s ignoring a seven hundred and fifty billion dollar a year market and a quarter of all health care expenditures. And that’s just the US. Tech companies are also getting on board, not only do they understand that not accommodation is a liability, they recognize that solving for these edge cases makes their systems better for everyone they seek to serve.
[00:13:43.900] – Lauren Isaacson
So when I was working at a Canadian telecommunications company, this was something that I suggested that the designers and program managers do when we’re doing when they were doing their their usability test, they were completely on board. So the designers, especially, they’ve been learning about they’ve been trying to practice accessible design. They wanted to be able to see it in action. They want to be able to see these edge cases, these stress cases, what happens when they actually have to use what they’ve designed?
[00:14:14.620] – Lauren Isaacson
Does it work as intended? Should they be doing something different? It’s one thing to have an academic knowledge of what accessibility is. It’s another thing to see it in action. So they definitely want to see these things in the field. Governments need to be accountable to all of their constituents, ignoring the disabled community can cause huge backlashes during policy implementations. Let’s take strivings, for example. The able bodied people saw banning straws is no big deal. It’s really it’s kind of a convenience.
[00:14:47.680] – Lauren Isaacson
We don’t really need straws in order to drink liquids. It’s just a nice thing to have, but the disabled community mobilized and vocalized how much they depend on straws to drink fluids. For some people, it’s not a convenience. It’s a matter of survival. They need they need a straw in order to drink. So in return, straw bands were soft. So now you can go to the counter, you can ask for a straw as well. It may not be perfect.
[00:15:14.780] – Lauren Isaacson
It works better than not having anything at all. So there’s that. We have a lot of clients who are looking to innovate to the next great product and finding creative workshop or research participants can be key to that next innovation. People with disabilities tend to work the creative muscles far harder than able bodied people working on the next great stack packet of is small potatoes compared to what they encounter on a daily basis. Take humorist David Rakoff, for example. His disability was acquired, meaning he wasn’t born with a paralyzed arm, the nerves in his arm died after being treated with aggressive, aggressive radiation for cancer.
[00:15:58.070] – Lauren Isaacson
He had to learn to adapt and got creative in order to keep living his life the way he wanted.
[00:16:03.490] – David Rakoff
If I retained anything from dancing, it’s a physical precision that certainly helps in my new daily one armed tasks, they’re the same as my old two armed armatures. They’re not epic or horrifying. Some of them don’t even take much longer, but they’re all to one degree or another, more annoying than they used to be, requiring planning strategy and a certain enhanced gracefulness, oral hygiene. Hold the handle of the toothbrush between your teeth, the way FDR or Burgess Meredith playing the penguin bit down on their cigarette holders, put the toothpaste on the brush, recap the tube, put it away.
[00:16:44.200] – David Rakoff
You really have to keep things tidy because if they pile up, you’ll just be in the soup. Then reverse the brush and put the bristles in your mouth, proceed, washing your right arm, soap up your right thigh in the shower. Put your foot up on the edge of the tub and then move your arm over your soapy lower limb back and forth like an old timey barbershop, razor strap, grating cheese, get a pot with a looped handle, the heavier the better.
[00:17:16.080] – David Rakoff
This will anchor the bow that you want the cheese to go into. Put the bowl into the pot. Now take a wooden spoon and feed it through the handle of the greater and the loop of the pot and then tuck the end down into the waistband of your jeans. Clean underpants are a good idea. Jam yourself up against the kitchen counter and go to town special kitchen note, always, always, always have your bum hand safely out of the way, preferably in a sling, since you now have a limb that you could literally no joke, cook on the stove without even knowing it.
[00:18:07.810] – David Rakoff
Which makes me feel not like a freak. Exactly. But will I actually like a freak?
[00:18:17.040] – Lauren Isaacson
An Australian study by the Center for Inclusive Design showed that adding inclusive elements later can increase development costs by ten thousand times in comparison to a product designed to be inclusive from the very beginning. So remember those numbers I showed you earlier about all the lawsuits that are happening in the United States? They’re also happening globally. They’re just settled differently and we don’t have numbers on them. So when we think about the fallout from those lawsuits, it’s not just about the penalty that that the companies have to pay.
[00:18:46.760] – Lauren Isaacson
It’s also about now being confronted with all of the additional costs and timelines of having to make an inaccessible product suddenly accessible. And that is significant. So I’ve made my case a part of why we should be making research inclusive. Let’s talk about how. Now, I’m just going to be giving you enough information to make you feel capable. It’s going to be like going down a playground slide. You’re going to sit there and just go, oh, it’s no big deal is totally easy.
[00:19:20.010] – Lauren Isaacson
I can do this. But then you realize that slide goes off a cliff and there that’s me. I am flailing. I am struggling. I am doing my best. I am falling off that cliff. But that’s OK. That’s exactly where I should be. There is way more to learn and we’re all going to get overwhelmed quickly. We need to think of this as the start of our inclusive research journey. We all have a lot more to do.
[00:19:49.920] – Lauren Isaacson
So we can make research inclusive by minding our manners, designing research inclusively. Being accommodating and being willing to modify. So let’s talk about minding our manners. When we talk about people with disabilities, we can try putting the person first, there is identity language which describes what somebody is. Then there’s person first, which describes what a person has, it’s autistic versus a person with autism. It’s blind versus some with blindness. It is diabetic versus a person with diabetes, it is paraplegic versus a person with paraplegia.
[00:20:36.980] – Lauren Isaacson
Person first language is intended to put the person before the disability recognize their humanity, before their condition. And it’s meant to be polite and as far as safety is concerned, if you just want to play it safe, go with person first language, that’s the better way to go. But there are no hard and fast rules. There are people out there that prefer identity language. So ask. How do they prefer? What would they like and adjust accordingly if they stayed another preference?
[00:21:15.450] – Lauren Isaacson
Now, there is some basic etiquette when interacting with people with disabilities speak directly to the person, not their interpreter or their companion, and make sure that you have their attention before you talk. Ask before helping them, they may not want your assistance. Don’t touch them, their aides or their service animals without their permission. A lot of times they see those things as parts of their body and you wouldn’t touch someone without being very intimate with them or having their permission to do that.
[00:21:47.490] – Lauren Isaacson
So. This is kind of the same. Be patient, when you were talking with someone who has trouble communicating, they’re going to get there, they just need the room and the space to do it, just given that space. And if you don’t know which you most often do, not just ask. So how do we design our research to be inclusive? Let’s start with recruiting, because every study begins with recruiting, how do we get people with disabilities into the room to to participate in our study or to answer our surveys?
[00:22:28.570] – Lauren Isaacson
You can go it alone if you have the time, but not the budget. And there’s lots of options on social media and through advocacy groups. So there’s hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. So first up, there is a one on why that is the condensed hashtag for accessibility. Accessibility has 11 letters. So that’s why it says a one on Y. And then there are the less creative ones like disability and disability awareness and inclusion. And it just goes on infinitely from there.
[00:22:56.100] – Lauren Isaacson
So that’s one source. Then there are Facebook groups. So there’s disability support group, hidden disability scope, and there’s infinitely more and even more specific than that. Just need to do some searching. Then there’s read. Now, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a Reddit thread for just about everything and disabled groups are no different. Then there are advocacy groups. So when you are reaching out to advocacy groups, be sensitive. When you are working with these types of organizations, they may not be interested in helping you with a single project and then never hearing from you again.
[00:23:33.410] – Lauren Isaacson
They’re usually more interested in having a relationship with you. So if you’re not prepared to invest in that relationship, you may want to reconsider reaching out to an advocacy organization. For recruiters, I’ve worked with traditional recruiters and I work with specialists and both have their pluses and minuses. Now, traditional recruiters are so accustomed to excluding people with disabilities from their studies that people with disabilities and their database tend to be on the mild or nonexistent side. So this can be changed with time and understanding expectations, but we need to give that time.
[00:24:10.970] – Lauren Isaacson
And pressure specialist, on the other hand, can provide people with severe disabilities, but they’re not used to being flexible or properly screening and preparing their participants. So you’ll have more work to do with them. But those specialist recruiters are better able to maintain ongoing relationships with advocacy organizations and support workers as well. So that’s a plus there. If you want research and usability tests on a regular basis like I have, you’ll want to try to save the interview with the person with a disability for last.
[00:24:45.550] – Lauren Isaacson
At that point, you’ll know the guide through and through and you’ll be able to be more flexible during the session. If you’re working with people with varying levels of disability, you’ll want to save more challenging ones for last for the exact same reasons. Prescreening for people with disabilities, I usually use these two questions. Would you describe yourself as a person with disability? Yes, no, I’m not sure. And if you ask, please define your disability.
[00:25:13.860] – Lauren Isaacson
So I prefer to let people self-identified. Like I said before, their disability is their business. And while they may technically have a disability, they may not say they may not want to self identify that way. And that’s fine. So let them describe and define how they are disabled and work from their. So when I first started doing this and I just would ask those first two questions, the first person I got, she had lupus and two knee replacements.
[00:25:43.980] – Lauren Isaacson
Now, I don’t argue with the fact she was disabled. She absolutely was. But I was trying to test a mobile phone app, and she wasn’t disabled in a way that would matter to a test for a mobile phone app. So I started asking these questions. So does your disability as your disability make any of the following task difficult? And I was looking out for using the Internet or using a smartphone app. If they answered yes to either of those, then they would qualify as that disability as the person with a disability for my study.
[00:26:22.940] – Lauren Isaacson
And that helped a lot. That really narrowed it down. Using these types of questions can be good not only for when you are seeking people specifically with disability, but also as a heads up. I mean, what if there is somebody who wants to participate in your group, who has a disability and you don’t know it? If you’re able to identify them ahead of time, you can meet them ahead of time, figure out what they need in order to fully participate in your group and work from their.
[00:26:56.900] – Lauren Isaacson
You’re going to want to give people enough time information to prepare. I usually send instructions with instructions with the screener, which I’m sure most people do. Now, what you don’t want to use is you scanned documents because a scanned document is just a picture. You can use Microsoft Word in order to do an accessibility check on a digitally created document, or you can use Adobe, which also has an accessibility checker for Pedes. You want to allow for a way to provide consent that doesn’t require a signature so thinking checkboxes for agree?
[00:27:30.780] – Lauren Isaacson
Yes, I agree to the terms and the consent and stuff like that. That’s another way to do. So you’ll also want to try and provide your instructions in multiple formats, written audio and visual, so he can do all three. That’s great. You get a gold star, but if you can do two out of three, that’s good, too. Some people respond better to written instructions. Other people need to hear what to do and others prefer videos or pictures showing them what to do.
[00:28:00.950] – Lauren Isaacson
Simple line drawings and symbols can really help people with cognitive disabilities. IKEA instructions are a great example of this. You can put together a dresser without them communicating a single word in any language. That’s kind of incredible when you think about it. How can we potentially do that with instructions for Participants’? So we can use iconography and short statements, so here is an example, it’s just a very rough example of what you can do. So we have a clock showing that we’re discussing time and we have a computer.
[00:28:36.070] – Lauren Isaacson
So that’s what you’re going to need. You’re going to need a computer, a strong wi fi, a quiet space earbuds, and then using a Chrome browser, you will go to the Celenk. So that’s a rough way to do it. I expect you to get creative and build on this, but it’s a good place to start. So let’s talk about surveys, because how can we have a random representative sample if we’re excluding people with disabilities? You will want to ask your survey platform vendor if the platform is WCG compliant.
[00:29:13.250] – Lauren Isaacson
So you’re looking for two point one A and a standards compliance, what you’re looking for specifically is finding out if the underlying technology is accessible. You will be surprised how often it is not I ask this a lot and I’m only just starting to get answers that say, yes, it’s on our roadmap or yeah, we are mostly accessible these the way we are not accessible. And that’s a big improvement compared to what I seen in the past. We need to put pressure on vendors to make their platforms accessible.
[00:29:48.420] – Lauren Isaacson
It starts with us is the buyers of these technologies. Now, a lot of survey platforms offer customization options that makes the survey programmers the last line of defense for accessibility. Now you can use an online tool to make sure that your color contrast between text links and buttons are strong enough for screen readers to detect something is related, such as a set of questions and answer options. They have to be close together because if they’re not, then a person using a magnifying function can get lost if there’s too much white space.
[00:30:23.860] – Lauren Isaacson
Make sure that air messages make it clear how you expect people to form out their answers to your questions, and that error messages appear above the question so that assistive devices recognize them as connected. Remember, words and pictures are better together. So use words with symbols and symbols, with words to assist with navigation. When you were programming your survey, you’re going to want to play it safe, if you can, and use simple question formats, sure, it’s fun to program sliders and drag and drops on the chance that they’ll boost your engagement.
[00:30:58.240] – Lauren Isaacson
But what if by doing so, you’re excluding those that six percent of the population that can’t use a mouse when it comes to the computer? They navigate only by using the keyboard. That’s not good. Then also check with your provider to see if any question types and features are compatible with assistive devices. So for qualitative research, we also need to think about being WCG compliant, and that goes for online and offline. You want to ensure that the research software that we’re using is WCG compliant, ask participants what assistive AIDS they will be using during the session and check with your provider to see if the platform is compatible.
[00:31:44.570] – Lauren Isaacson
You’ll save yourself a world of hurt if you know this in advance. If you are conducting the research in person at a facility, you will want to expect to pay a higher incentive because it’s harder for people with disabilities to make the journey to the facility. Do not just take the facility’s word that they are accessible, you will want to ask for specific questions and proof. So my neighbor Cherrix, she’s like anybody else know, she wants to go to a new place, try new restaurant.
[00:32:16.000] – Lauren Isaacson
And so she and her partner, they’ll make a reservation and they’ll ask the host, can your restaurant accommodate a wheelchair? Invariably, the host will always say, yeah, of course we can. Please, we can’t wait to see you at 7:00 tonight. Then they’ll get there and they’ll see stairs to get in. They’ll see an overcrowded restaurant layout where she can’t get through with her wheelchair and they’ll have to turn around and go someplace else. And that sucks now.
[00:32:44.620] – Lauren Isaacson
Do I think that the host is ever being malicious? No, I just think the host doesn’t know any better because they don’t have to know any better. And I wouldn’t expect any different from a hosting facility. It’s kind of the same thing. But if you can go remote, do that because it’s just so much easier that way. So when I say ask for proof and confirmation that a facility is accessible, these are the kind of questions you want to ask.
[00:33:18.290] – Lauren Isaacson
So for accessibility for wheelchairs, you’re going to want a minimum clear width for a wheelchair is thirty six inches for a hallway and thirty two inches for a doorway. The minimum clearance space for a T shape turn at one hundred and eighty degrees is thirty six inches in all directions. Also ask, are the tables high enough and are they height, adjustable and accessible table has a surface height of no more than thirty four inches and no less than twenty eight inches above the floor.
[00:33:47.840] – Lauren Isaacson
It needs at least twenty seven inches need clearance, and it must be provided between the floor and the underside of the table. So twenty seven inches from the floor to the underside of the table. Ask if the hallways are wide enough. What about the bathroom? Is the bathroom accessible? Where is it? Are the elevators? Are there elevators to take instead of stairs? What about automatic doors? Where are they? How do they get to them?
[00:34:11.720] – Lauren Isaacson
Is there accessible parking? What about public transit? Is that close by as well? Those are all things that matter to people with disabilities. You can document some of those things before they arrive and put them in the instructions, things like how to get to the right bathroom, which doors are automatic and how to get to them and where the nearest parking spots for people with disabilities. So. Remember, when we are considering research software or research facilities can be qualitative and quantitative, we should be asking about legal and compliance.
[00:34:50.000] – Lauren Isaacson
Research service providers will start taking this seriously when we start asking them to take them seriously. So it’s up to us. We are the ones with the money. We are the ones making the decisions. We are the ones they listen to. So ask for things to be accessible. What about the stimuli we use during research sessions, how do we make that accessible? No, not everyone can read your words and not everyone can see your pictures, so combining the two, using captions, alt text and descriptions as well as videos and audio of text can be better for everyone.
[00:35:33.760] – Lauren Isaacson
Capture your videos and enter alt text for your images. Don’t just caption the words, caption the sounds as well like applause or laughter, creepy, creepy music, but all matters to the effect of the stimuli. People who can’t hear may consider sign language to be their native language and written English to be their second language. This may mean that they don’t have advanced reading comprehension. Keep your language plain and easy, make it easier for those people, but also immigrants who don’t consider English to be their primary language.
[00:36:10.720] – Lauren Isaacson
Some people are very sensitive to different stimuli, if anything, a sudden loud noises or flashing lights, you may want to give your participants a heads up that way if that’s something that they can’t do, because, I mean, that can really knock somebody out if they’re not prepared for it and they’re very sensitive to those things. If you give me a heads up that gives them the option to opt out so that they don’t have to deal with that, and that’s a good thing to do.
[00:36:39.010] – Lauren Isaacson
How do we be more accommodating? So first off, let’s just recognize that we’re not superhuman and we shouldn’t be expected to be so recognize your limitations. Are there disabilities that you as a moderator can accommodate? Now, for myself, I don’t know, sign language. Therefore, I can’t do research with people who have a hearing impairment and can’t communicate with people who hear. So I either need to farm that out to someone who is fluent in ASL or I need to hire an interpreter to help me moderate the session.
[00:37:19.510] – Lauren Isaacson
Is any of the tech now compatible with assistive devices now and usability testing, often prototypes are created with software not compatible with screen readers, meaning we can’t test prototypes with people who are blind. That’s not great. But if we recognize that, we can test it with people with disabilities who aren’t blind. Are the facilities that we’re going to be using in successful? If we can accommodate someone in a wheelchair, we need to make that known a secret in the screener so that we don’t have an uncomfortable moment if they show up and they can’t even get in the building.
[00:37:59.220] – Lauren Isaacson
What about their limitations? What can we do to meet them halfway? If they have a communication impairment, shorten the discussion guide to only what you absolutely need answers for. If they have a visual impairment, can you create alternatives to visual stimuli such as audio stimuli or anything else? If they have trouble getting around, offer to go to them, if it has to be in person or Videojet, remember at the telecommunications company, they were testing messaging for for home automation and they really wanted to talk to people with disabilities.
[00:38:39.250] – Lauren Isaacson
They’re just like, oh, but I don’t know how we’re going to get them to the office in order to talk to them. I’m just like. Why don’t you just go to them and they were like shocked. They just looked at me or they’re like, we can do that. And I was like, Yeah, you can do that. You can go to them and see their homes and how they use home automation. Isn’t that a great idea?
[00:39:03.300] – Lauren Isaacson
They were thrilled. They thought that was awesome, that that was even on the table, so give it a shot. It could be very exciting. Also be a good host, so provider exchange, contact information and compliance with privacy laws. It’s good for you to be able to reach them if they start to run late. It’s great for them to be able to reach you if they’re having trouble getting the facility. You also want to be way more aware of your routine when you’re interviewing people who are severely disabled, so be careful about what you share during rapport building to avoid coming across as ablest or what you share at any time during the session.
[00:39:45.670] – Lauren Isaacson
So, for example, usually when I’m doing rapport building, I’ll talk about how I took up running and how I found a way to do it. That doesn’t make me feel like I want to die and. First time I started doing this, one of the people that I interviewed, he had severe cerebral palsy, he was in a wheelchair and and he had a lot of trouble getting around. So. So running you talking about running wasn’t really going to work all that well.
[00:40:14.400] – Lauren Isaacson
So I had to react fast. And so I just so I started talking about the TV show that I was bingeing on at the moment that I was really enjoying. And we were able to talk about media that way and that worked pretty well. We also need to think very carefully about how we approach the subject of their disability during the session. Unfortunately, we do not have good vocabulary around talking about disability with someone who is disabled. It can be a minefield.
[00:40:40.360] – Lauren Isaacson
So oftentimes you don’t have to directly address the subject of their disability. You can just talk about their experience and that can be enough if you do have to directly address their disability. Just being very cautious about the terms and how you and how you talk about it and how you talk about it with them. Just be very gentle and very careful and just ask a lot of questions about what is good and what is bad when you are having that conversation.
[00:41:14.300] – Lauren Isaacson
We also need to be more willing to modify. So this is our last pillar. Have a backup plan, so plan for all the potential events you can foresee. We already use floaters. That’s just standard practice when we’re doing in-person researches, using floaters in case just in case somebody doesn’t show up. But what about jerry rig platforms as backup in case the platform we’re using isn’t working for people? So maybe they don’t use whatever research platform you’re using and they can’t log on to it, but they use Zoom and FaceTime and Hangouts all the time.
[00:41:50.130] – Lauren Isaacson
So why don’t you just use one of those? See what happens. Test the platform we’re going to be using with a free trial version of a screen reader to ensure that it’s compatible or have that ready to go in case you’re doing it in person, usability test and the person you’re doing the test with isn’t bringing their own devices. Get ready to change on the fly. We’re all getting used to this and there will be events that we cannot foresee, stay agile and flexible and find ways to make it work despite the circumstances.
[00:42:23.290] – Lauren Isaacson
Should also be allowing for research to go long, research sessions can be exhausting even for the most able bodied people, allow for enough time between sessions to go over time if you have to. Give lots of chances to take breaks in between topics so that people can regain their composure, have a personal break, get some water, have a bathroom break, whatever they need to do, and then get back to business after. So to wrap up inclusively is really part of the zeitgeist right now.
[00:42:57.040] – Lauren Isaacson
Companies are being forced to reconcile with being inaccessible after the passing of new laws and all the lawsuits that I mentioned earlier. Now, we as researchers rarely get the opportunity to do something that is both good for the business and just plain good period. We should be embracing this, in fact, I’d like to go a step further, I think we should be normalizing this. This should be a part of our regular practice. But remember. This is hard.
[00:43:27.780] – Lauren Isaacson
I expect to be in a constant state of failure. And I don’t expect any different for you and you shouldn’t be expecting anything different from yourself. But. I think it’s really important that we keep trying, and I really hope that you will join me in that effort. So thank you. That’s me. Please reach out. I’d love to have a chat. And these are our wonderful sponsors, thank you so much for having me today. And now I’m here to answer your questions.