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Professional Testers with Disabilities

Professional Testers with Disabilities

Come learn how you can easily incorporate IT professionals with disabilities into your product development cycle. Collaborating remotely allows people with vision disabilities to test products using their own computers and assistive technologies. Using video conferencing technology, a professional IT tester, that has a visual disability, can share both their screen and computer sound. This provides a full view of what the tester is experiencing.

LCI (https://www.lcindustries.com/) is one of the largest employers of Americans who are blind and visually impaired, currently employing over 350 individuals that are blind or low vision. LCI creates over 2,000 products and distributes thousands more through manufacturing, retail, nationwide distribution and e-commerce channels. Using Equal Entry as a case study lean how to partner for an enhanced accessibility experience.
About the speakers

Heather Burns’ passion for Accessibility started early, turning self-advocacy into a student run organization to help others gain the accommodations they needed for academic success. At Microsoft, she worked on the accessibility of Windows and the Office family of products, becoming a co-inventor of UIAutomation (US Patents 7,644,367 & 7,490,313). Heather is currently a full time Accessibility Consultant for Equal Entry, a company founded by a former Microsoft accessibility peer Thomas Logan. Equal Entry provides clients with Accessibility expertise through audits, training and expert witness testimony. She is a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility (CPWA) and Trusted Tester for Web on Windows (TTv5).

John G. Samuel is an award winning business development leader, with over thirteen years of experience building strategic partnerships, designing profitable business models, and transforming organizations around the world. He is currently the Head of LCI Tech and is responsible for launching the new technology services business for LCI, which is one of the largest employers of Americans who are blind. He is a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC).



June 09, 2020


  1. Professional Testers with Disabilities John G. Samuel Head of LCI

    Tech John.Samuel@lcitech.com & Heather S. Burns Accessibility Consultant with Equal Entry Heather@EqualEntry.com
  2. The New Yorker - July 1993 “On the Internet, nobody

    knows you’re a dog” by Peter Steiner
  3. Why Include People with Disabilities in Product Testing ▪Validation of

    accessibility ▪Reliance on automated accessibility testing tools can be result in coding to pass a test rather than true accessible ▪Screen readers, and other assistive technology, have a learning curve ▪Team members are not objective
  4. InterfaceAnalysis Associates Testing Room

  5. InterfaceAnalysis Associates Client Observation Room

  6. Why Doesn’t Every Company Include People with Disabilities in their

    Testing? ▪ Traditional usability studies have several difficulties for individuals with disabilities – Physically getting to the testing center – Accessibility of the testing center – Installation/setup of assistive technology or settings – Physical assistive technologies (custom keyboards, Ballie displays etc.) ▪ Directions must to written and provided in an inclusive way ▪ Finding the right subjects ▪ Input modality
  7. History of LCI ▪Founded in Durham, NC in 1936 ▪Today,

    LCI is the largest employer of Americans who are blind, and largest nonprofit agency under the National Industries for the Blind (NIB). ▪Operations include 8 manufacturing facilities, 2 distribution centers, 50 retail locations on military bases, and 4 e-commerce sites.
  8. LCI Hiring ▪7.2 million people who identified with a visual

    disability in 2016 ▪78% of people who are blind have a high school degree, 33% have some college, and 15% have an undergraduate degree or above. ▪Only 29% of people who were blind were employed full time Stats provided by: https://www.nfb.org/resources/blindness-statistics
  9. Finding the right participants ▪Similar to LCI hiring, Equal Entry

    looks for – Educated – Proficient with computers – Proficient with their assistive technology – Willing to try and fail ▪Should be PAID
  10. How Equal Entry has been working with LCI ▪Weekly office

    hours ▪Zoom ▪Scripts are writing to be inclusive, read to the participant
  11. Demo • Equal Entry About page was just updated •

    Dev and a Jr tester worked on it • Vanh Vue, LCI, helped us review 2.5 min video – transcript within presentation notes
  12. Lessons Learned ▪Screen sharing, with computer audio – Technology yet

    to allow independent volume adjustment of computer audio and voice ▪Video helps catch facial expression of surprise, frustration or confusion ▪Facilitators not used to the speed of an artificial voice should ask participants to slow the speed of their screen reader down
  13. How to host your own ▪Invest the time in finding

    the right participants ▪Plan on remote participation – Use of personal equipment – Access to testing environment ▪Budgeting the right amount of time – Multiple sessions ▪Set expectations up front
  14. Q&A

  15. Key takeaways ▪Value of including individuals with disabilities in usability

    tests ▪Best Practices for working with individuals with disabilities in usability testing ▪LCI (like some others) can provide professional testers with disabilities ▪Partnering for Standards testing