Articles & research papers


Creating websites for users with Learning & Cognitive disabilities- pointers

This overview of Steppingstones Cognitive Research provides a brief overview of the findings and observations of a cognitive accessibility survey.


Creating accessible websites for users with learning and cognitive disabilities is an area with little research and few concrete recommendations. While web developers can apply universal principles of web accessibility to benefit all users with sensory or physical disabilities, the application of cognitive accessibility is varied and complex. Due to the limited research and complexity of cognitive web accessibility, common techniques to increase usability for those with cognitive and learning disabilities are hard to come by, despite the fact that the number of users with these disabilities far exceeds the number of people with other types of physical and sensory disabilities.

What to keep in mind while creating websites for users with learning and cognitive disabilities

  • Make your page appear easy to use
  • Simplicity, error recovery, and intuitiveness can increase efficiency and confidence
  • Keep visual aids clean
  • A text alternative, a prominent pause feature, and an ability to quickly rewind or replay the video allow users to use multimedia to go at their own pace and take in all of the information
  • Sometimes making something more visually obvious also makes it so much different that it can be difficult to find
  • While organizational elements (headings, lists, etc.) can help accessibility, they should be clearly differentiable from other elements

Overview of Steppingstones Cognitive Research

Typography and the Aging Eye: Typeface Legibility for Older Viewers with Vision Problems

Population is rapidly aging and becoming a larger share of the marketplace. Thirteen percent of the population is currently over 65 years old. In 30 years that group will double to 66 million people.

People change as they age. Sensory, cognitive and motor abilities decline. The built environment is not typically created with the needs of the aging population in mind. How does the choice of typeface in signage systems, for example, impact the older viewer who is experiencing vision problems typical to that age group? Are certain typefaces more suitable to the aging eye?

Typography and the Aging Eye: Typeface Legibility for Older Viewers with Vision Problems

Evaluating for Accessibility

A key aspect of successful User-Centered Design (UCD) is evaluating early and throughout the UCD process. The Background: Accessibility & User-Centered Design (UCD) chapter introduces the User-Centered Design process.

This section provides information on incorporating accessibility into the following evaluation methods:

  • Importance of Comprehensive Accessibility Evaluation
  • Standards Review
  • Heuristic Evaluation
  • Design Walkthroughs
  • Screening Techniques
  • Usability Testing

Evaluating for Accessibility

Free User Experience books (Interaction design, HCI, web accessibility & Information Architecture)

Here is a list of free User Experience books for you to enjoy.

Free to read online books on Interaction Design

  1. Search User Interfaces– by Marti A. Hearst
  2. Web Style Guide– by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton
  3. Designing Interfaces– by Jenifer Tidwell (Most of the book is available online, not all of it, as pointed out by Amanda)
  4. Designing Mobile Interfaces– by Steven Hoober and Eric Berkman
  5. Thoughts on Interaction Design- by John Kolko. Contributions by Ellen Beldner, Uday Gajendar, Chris Connors and Justin Petro (no longer free)

Free to read online books on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

  1. The Psychology of Menu Selection: Designing Cognitive Control at the Human/Computer Interface– by Kent L. Norman
  2. Mental Models in Human-Computer Interaction: Research Issues About What the User of Software Knows– by John M. Carroll and Judith Reitman Olson (editors)

Free to read books on Web Accessibility

  1. Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design– by Shawn Henry
  2. Building accessible websites– by Joe Clark

Free to read online books on Information Architecture

  1. Introduction to Metadata – by Tony Gill, Anne J. Gilliland, Maureen Whalen, and Mary S. Woodley
  2. Introduction to Controlled Vocabularies: Terminology for Art, Architecture, and Other Cultural Works– by Patricia Harpring
  3. Categories for the Description of Works of Art– by Murtha Baca and Patricia Harpring

Free to read online books on Design for development

  1. Wicked problems: Problems worth solving– by Jon Kolko

Blind Access Journal

A blog with podcasts about the blind and the writers’ quest for the greatest possible access to all the information available in the world around them.The authors chronicle their experiences dealing with a variety of issues as a blind couple and show how they have dealt with various blindness situations and seek comments on ways to constructively address the concrete concerns of accessibility and transportation faced on a daily basis.

Blind Access Journal

Accessibility for blind users in Japan

From accessible train stations, elevators, cellphones to beer cans, read this interview with a blind programmer- Masafumi “Max” Nakane, who talks about online and offline accessibility and how it connects with his life in Japan.

Accessibility for blind people

Survey of Preferences of Screen Readers Users

In December 2008 through January 2009, WebAIM conducted a survey of preferences of screen reader users. They received 1121 valid responses to the screen reader survey.

Perhaps the most significant conclusion they could make from the survey results was that there is no typical screen reader user. As developers, we sometimes view screen reader accessibility as JAWS or Window Eyes or VoiceOver (or whatever) compatibility. This survey emphasizes that screen reader accessibility is about real people – and people that have diverse abilities and preferences. As developers, we must do our best to accommodate the needs of this diverse group.

Survey of Preferences of Screen Readers Users.

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Interest Group Mail Archives

The W3C WAI IG Mail Archives acts is a great resource anyone working with web accessibility.

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Interest Group

Contact details of Participant Recruitment firms

How to get your firm added

If you want to get your firm listed below, send in complete details using the submission form.
Your firm’s name, physical address, phone number, email address and website are the details that are required, without which it won’t get added.

Participant Recruitment Firms in India

Participant Recruitment Firms in Delhi

  1. iSERVE Market Research Services- innovative research services (India) Pvt. Ltd.
    Address: # 101, D-211, Laxman Singh Complex- I, Opp. Community Centre, Munirka, New Delhi- 110067
    Ph: 41359431
    Mobile: 9810522661

Participant Recruitment Firms in USA

  1. Matrix research-
  2. Schlesinger 
  3. Usability Works- (for recruiting as well as design research)
    453A Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94133
    Ph: 415.392.0776
    Email: dana at usabilityworks dot net

Participant Recruitment Firms that cover multiple countries

  1. IMRB International– Across 26 offices in 12 countries – Algeria, Amsterdam, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, UAE-Dubai and UK.
  2. Ethnio– Ethnio is web based user research recruitment tool by Bolt Peters– a company that specialized in remote user research (and wrote a book about it).

Color Scheme Designer

Color Scheme Designer