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Representing users in accessibility research

Representing users in accessibility research

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  • Andrew Sears
  • Vicki L. Hanson

Research units


Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalACM Transactions on Accessible Computing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


The need to study representative users is widely accepted within the human-computer interaction (HCI) community. While exceptions exist, and alternative populations are sometimes studied, virtually any introduction to the process of designing user interfaces will discuss the importance of understanding the intended users as well as the significant impact individual differences can have on how effectively individuals can use various technologies. HCI researchers are expected to provide relevant demographics regarding study participants as well as information about experience using similar technologies. Yet in the field of accessibility, we continue to see studies that do not appropriately include representative users. Highlighting ways to remedy this multifaceted problem, we argue that expectations regarding how accessibility research is conducted and reported must be raised if this field is to have the desired impact with regard to inclusive design, the information technologies studied, and the lives of the individuals studied.



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