Introduction

Accessibility in User-Centered Design

Personas are hypothetical archetypes of actual users. They are not real people, but they represent real people during the design process. A persona is a fictional characterization of a user.

The purpose of personas is to make the users seem more real, to help designers keep realistic ideas of users throughout the design process. Personas have proper names that are often catchy and related to their user group name.

Paul Holleman - Blind

“Trying to understand a website sometimes feels like having to find my way through a labyrinth.”

Bio

Paul Holleman is 46 years old and lives together with his wife and two children in Amsterdam. He has studied at University level and works as a translator for the government. He is an expert in the English and French language. Although he is blind, he performs his job very well. He enjoys helping others and likes translating official documents.

Digital access

Digital knowledge
Advanced
Devices
Telephone, computer, laptop
Tools
Refreshable braille display, screen readers, keyboard navigation, voice recognition
Irritations
Paul dislikes it when screen readers cannot pronounce the content on a website because of mistakes or inconsistent content or code. Trying to understand a website sometimes feels to Paul like having to find your way through a labyrinth. The use of CAPTCHAs on websites is a big frustration for Paul. The option to skip navigation or long lists would be very helpful.

Top tips

  • Ensuring all functions are available via the keyboard
  • Allow skip navigation over navigation menus and long lists
  • Provide alternative text descriptions and headings
  • Make sure that all interactive controls have clear descriptions

Jump to:

Basics

Advanced

Paul Holleman - Blind

Magreet Janssen - D/deaf

“I don’t like it when there are no captions and transcripts for video and audio.”

Bio

Margreet Janssen is 62 years old and she has her own appartment in Maastricht. She is divorced with a child. She has had a higher education and she owns a flower shop in the city centre of Maastricht. Even though she is deaf since her childhood, due to the the great support of her three employees, she is able to make the most beautiful wedding flower arrangements in town.

Digital access

Digital knowledge
Starter
Devices
Telephone and laptop
Tools
Sign language, captioning for audio and video, transcript, WhatsApp for communication
Irritations
Margreet doesn’t like it if captions and transcripts for video and audio are not available. Often, she regrets there is no sign language interpreter at flower decoration conferences.

Top tips

  • Provide transcripts for audio
  • Provide simultaneous captioning and transcripts for video
  • Give textual feedback for audio and video

Jump to:

Basics

Advanced

Aaldert Meinema - Autism / Dyslexia

“I don’t like sudden surprises and I often fail to understandsarcasm, metaphors and irony.”

Bio

Aaldert Meinema is 34 years old and lives in Groningen. He’s is single and works as a freelance data analyst. Due to his autism and dyslexia he is socially not very active, but he works hard and performs well. He likes computer gaming, motorcycling and racing his mountain bike.

Digital access

Digital knowledge
Expert
Devices
Computer, telephone, tablet, laptop
Tools
Voice recording
Irritations
Aaldert does not like unclear and inconsistent information. Neither does he like sudden surprises or information that is nonliteral like sarcasm, metaphors and irony. Understanding textual clues can be challenging for him. He really dislikes it when content is too big or without any structure.

Top tips

  • Information should be clear, unequivocal and easy to understand
  • Forms and content should be partitioned into logical paragraphs and easy guidelines
  • Keep interactions simple and brief
  • Using well-structured content including headers, clear whitespace, bulleted lists and icons

Jump to:

Basics

Advanced

Aaldert Meinema - Autism / Dyslexia

Emre Yavuz - Colour Blindness

“I don’t like websites that have insufficient colour contrast.”

Bio

Emre Yavuz is 26 years old and he lives in Rotterdam. He is single and studies Business Administration in Rotterdam. He is originally from Turkey and moved to the Netherlands at the age of ten. His knowledge of Dutch is limited but he speaks Turkish and English fluently. He has a severe type of colour blindness called protanopia.

Digital access

Digital knowledge
Advanced
Devices
Desktop, telephone, tablet, laptop
Tools
Change contrast on the computer
Irritations
Emre dislikes websites that have insufficient colour contrast and / or use ‘wrong colours’, especially with buttons, important text and links.

Top tips

  • Ensuring there is sufficient contrast
  • Don’t use colour alone to convey information, such as: ‘click the green button’
  • Ensure that links are identifiable without using colour
  • Ensure that important content is identifiable without using colour
  • Use the English language besides Dutch to support non-Dutch speakers

Jump to:

Basics

Advanced

Emre Yavuz - Colour Blindness

Persona - Colour Blindness (PDF)

Sabrina ter Steege - Cognitive / Physical

“I don’t visit websites with rapid changes in content, pop-ups and lots of distractions.”

Bio

Sabrina ter Steege is 16 years old and she lives with her parents in Emmen. She attends vocational education on health. Sabrina loves horses and she likes helping others. She wants to become a helper in a kindergarten. Due to complications at birth, Sabrina has difficulties to read and understand content. Often she needs help. She also has difficulties with eye-hand coordination.

Digital access

Digital knowledge
Beginner
Devices
Telephone, laptop, desktop
Tools
Dictation software, keyboard navigation
Irritations
Sabrina gets frustrated when content is unclear. She does not visit websites with rapid changes in content, pop-ups, lots of distractions, no structure or minimal use of spacing.

Top tips

  • No rapid changes to content or surprises such as pop-up windows
  • Information should be clear and easy to understand
  • Forms and content should be broken down into logical and easy to understand small step by step
  • Use clear whitespace and break down big text blocks into smaller ones

Sabrina ter Steege - Cognitive / Physical

Maria Beuving - Aging

“Content is often hard to understand and therefore I don’t like to use a computer.”

Bio

Maria Beuving is 72 years old and lives with her husband in Utrecht. She has three children and two grandchildren. She used to work as a nurse in a hospital and is still working a little as volunteer at an activity centre for elderly people. In the past, she loved reading books, but as she became older, her eyesight and hearing deteriorated, so she doesn’t read anymore.

Digital access

Digital knowledge
Starter
Devices
Telephone, desktop
Tools
Zoom text, change contrast on the computer, captioning for audio and video, transcript
Irritations
Maria gets frustrated when content is not provided with captions and transcripts. Content is often hard to understand and therefore she doesn’t like using a computer.

Top tips

  • Use clear and consistent navigation, headers and layout
  • Provide clear and descriptive icons with associated text
  • Have a linear layout/scalable/responsive, so text can be easily zoomed out
  • Use clear contrast for colour
  • Ensuring all functions are available via the keyboard

Maria Beuving - Aging

Huub Schoolderma - Parkinson

“I want websites to be more error tolerant, especially at button areas and links.”

Bio

Huub Schoolderman is 83 years old and he lives in Tilburg. His wife died five years ago. He has two children and one grandchild. He has worked as a headmaster of a primary school. A year ago, he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Due to his illness he is restricted in his ability to conduct day to day activities.

Digital access

Digital knowledge
Average
Devices
Telephone, laptop
Tools
Keyboard navigation, special mouse, word prediction software, dictation software
Irritations
Huub gets frustrated with small and moving links, changing content, time based forms, etc. He wants websites to be more error tolerant. Because he cannot use his computer mouse accurately, button click areas are often too small for him.

Top tips

  • Ensure that websites can be navigated using only a keyboard
  • Make websites error tolerant and without small or moving links
  • Provide alternative routes for complicated website features
  • Enlarge clickable areas so no mistakes can be made

Huub Schoolderma - Parkinson