#UXRConf Notes 📓 Andréa Crofts on Conducting Generative and Evaluative Research for the Visually Impaired

Accessibility when approaching design is 🔑 But what about injecting accessibility in research? Andréa Crofts passionately advocates for the use of inclusive research and why we should care 🙏

Maryam Zaidi
Mar 3, 2018 · 3 min read
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As a senior product designer at The Working Group (TWG), Andréa Crofts has embedded a powerful footprint in the world of UX research & design, and continues to deliver important messages that come with being a responsible and empathetic researcher. #UXRConf was lucky enough to hear her thoughts on inclusive research.

Here are some of the ⭐️highlights ⭐️ from her talk today.

Top 3 takeaways

📌 Your product is like Narnia — in every product we make, we should be thinking about how these products affect every user — so they all have the chance to experience the wonderful and mystical world of Narnia for themselves!

📌Think beyond the design of the interface. Accessibility is about understanding the needs of your user.

📌When people are comfortable they are more likely to give you really great insights. The role of the designer is that of a thoughtful host, anticipating the needs of their guests.

🔑 “Designing for accessibility isn’t just for those currently with disabilities or impairments. It’s for everyone given we are just temporarily abled” 🔑


285 million people are visually impaired. So how do we inject real empathy into the UX process for them? Andrea dives into the nitty gritty details on how to work with usability audits, distinguishing her talk in four useful segments:


Accessibility is out of scope”, “we don’t have the budget for it”, “They’re not our target persona”. How many times have we heard these statements? When we embed these thoughts into our minds, we fall into a trap of pity over empathy. To overcome this, Andrea argues need to test our own products to exercise understanding and operate under the basis of mitigating bias.

Your product is like Narnia — in every product we make, we should be thinking about how these products affect every user — so they all have the chance to experience the wonderful and mystical world of Narnia for themselves!

The visually impaired rely on natural UI patterns, so try not to deviate too much from those organic processes.

Actively consider behavioural personas: The demographic segmentation that comes with personas means we get to tap into certain attributes — assistive technologies, level of abilities that drive motivation to use products. These are integral to drive product development in the right direction.


How do we go about diverse and inclusive research? — Andrea recommends we check out and support organizations like CNIB, & Communication Disabilities Action Canada (CDAC)

Creating a custom screener survey example. That means including people with disabilities in developing certain products. Address them directly, make them active stakeholders as they adopt your product!


🔷 Generative study — don’t paint all users with the same brush. Create a custom screener survey.

🔶Conduct interviews on the phone for less mobile participants.

🔷 Ask about lifestlye, mobility, assistive devices and hobbies — get to know your participants!

🔶 Offer generous incentives. Many participants are low income.

🔷 Usability tests are best conducted in-person with the VI community. Being personable also goes a long way!

🔶 Observe the use of accessibility features and micro interactions

🔷 Allow ample time for transportation drop off and pick up.

🔶 Test early and test often! Constantly iterate on features that are not optimized for accessibility. It’s all about iteration to build better, more efficient, safe, and secure products.


Always remember: accessibility matters!

For sighted people, technology makes life better. For the visually impaired, it makes life possible. Andréa wholeheartedly believes that our compassion and empathy leads to stronger product development 🙌

Can’t wait to hear more from Andréa and #UXRConf? Catch us on Twitter 🐦 at @UXResearchTO

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Thanks to your presenting sponsor, TWG!

The UXR Blog

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