Checklist to prepare for research

  • Request an accessibility specialist to help you write and review your research plan and conversation guide.

  • Plan for 2x the time you’d usually need. We recommend 2 hours for most studies. There may be technical difficulties, the need for breaks, or unexpected situations during the study. Beginner AT users will also need more time to complete tasks.

  • Request for both beginner and advanced AT users during recruitment as their needs and behavior may be significantly different. We recommend also asking for users with congenital (from birth) and acquired disabilities.

  • Give participants a choice both before and during the session for the following topics:

    • Private (no observers) vs. open (maximum of 3 observers) studies

    • Video on vs. video off

    • Recording vs. no recording

    • How they prefer to receive links if you’re planning on sending links during the study

    • Closed captions (CC) on or off; if the user does not have a preference, turn them on by default unless the participant uses a screen reader

  • Confirm the participant’s technology ahead of the session. You’ll want to know:

    • What specific combination of AT and devices they are using. For example, “VoiceOver on desktop with magnification tools” or “TalkBack on Samsung Galaxy 8” is better than just “Screen Reader.”

    • If they have a screen (they may not be able to screen share if there is no screen to share).

  • Schedule a pilot test with an accessibility specialist ahead of the study to practice with and gain familiarity with the anticipated AT.

  • Watch the DC government disability sensitivity training video.

Research with screen reader users

Screen reader users do not navigate in the same way that sighted users do. Typically, they navigate by keyboard using a combination of mainstream key commands and those specific to their screen reader. When working with screen reader users, see the screen reader checklist.