Liz Davis on recruiting people from the disability community to test the accessibility of your projects



when a company talks about being inclusive… how

we have one guy who broke his leg once

can miss the mark, and edge toward sympathy instead of empathy

it’s cool to be inclusive, it’s bad to not be inclusive

But maybe you don’t know how, you may have no idea what you’re doing.

Step 1: Talk to someone with a disability.

For me, as a disabled person

the disabilities civil rights movement: “Nothing about us without us” - slogan of fight for ADA in 1990s.

this applies for literally every minority community ever.

1978 - gang of 19 laid in front of buses in a busy Denver, CO intersection for two days

they didn’t teach me this in school

because of that, Denver had accessible busses way before anyone

1990 - When the ADA stalled in the House Committee, 60 disabled protesters (of 400 there) crawled, dragged themselves up 78 marble stairs.

2017 - remember when the guy whose president, won’t speak his name, trying to repeal ACA

and Adapt, that awesome radical

blind gentleman being dragged out of office protesting the repeal.

do a lot of hardcore stuff

Design is power

we talk to the people we’re trying to help

WHO definition: Disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.

[this is my same point about mental illness!]

Liz adapts that: Disability is an experience reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.


In Chicago:

Independent Living Centers offer many resources:

I never went to mine, found it stuffy—i was a teenager—but they helped my parents get a wheelchair ramp on our house.

Send a friendly e-mail to your independent living center.

Setting the session:

Paratransit can be unreliable at times. Paratransit is you can call a service, pick me up at this time and go to this place. This is being supplemented with Uber Wave now.

Consider assistive technology.

Generally let people use their own equipment— their own screen reader etc. unless that’s what you’re testing.

Pay people!

Give people with disabilities money for their time.

You can’t account for every single need, so ask what access you can provide.

During session: interacting with people with disabilities. “What if i say "

i say i’m going to walk to a place all the time, because if i say i’m rolling

be open to feedback accept being corrected remember, we are just people… you won’t be perfect

Planning, you think i’d be good at it. My parents have driven four hours to get me medical supplies

Just adopted new dog, Hagrid!


Some people who are neurodiverse cannot consent

Color is good

The silver project, the next generation of

Focusing on making website accessible for kids

best resource to

Who would you contact

government agency website?

There’s definitely


Jeana: You can go to DOJ’s website and look for WCAG, and see all the settlements it’s had with websites.

Once Google starts to track something, eventually that results in

Google Lighthouse is starting

everyone is different some people are less open i disagree with people in wheelchairs. Like about the bus system— i think the busses are great

Concern still from audience member about

Getting someone who is a representative of the community, like someone involved with Chicago’s Lighthouse

one of my passions in life is building solutions for people with disabilities graduate from DePaul; struggle when it comes to recruiting.. is there any website or agency where we can recruit users, or are there rules or regulations?

I know a woman who used to work at McDonalds, uses a screen reader

And some people who are deaf don’t identify as being disabled.

From trying to learn.

Not comfortable using term ’normal’ person. What is the terminology, ’non-disabled'?

Liz: I feel this is a thing we in society are trying to figure out. I use the example of my boyfriend. He never imagined he’d be dating someone in a wheelchair, but he is, and that’s OK.

When i say normal i’m referring to people who can walk, or see.

I use “able-bodied” as “he’s able-bodied, he doesn’t understand”

People tell me not to use able-bodied

We all

You will run into people who are militant and angry if you use the wrong words. Sometimes i avoid people who are militant. But someone who is militant about a word, may also lay down in front of a bus to

American Gods - character Black in show. Happened to also be Black in the book, but still arguments over it.

Came up for me a lot playing dungeons and dragons: Should i play as someone in a wheelchair.

Be sensitive but don’t be scared off.

Disabled media we can consume?

Show called “Speechless”. About a guy with muscular dystrophy i think; he uses an electric wheelchair. First time feeling like seeing my

“we bought the crappiest house in the best neighborhood”

siblings do everything for you, and then

I’m working on a podcast to talk about this, simply different.

I have a friend Disarming disability

[from disabled woman in audience, Jeana] Movie: Station Agent showed awkwardness of person with disability

if i go to a gas station and the drink i want is on the top shelf

and if someone is preparing to open the door

Follow-up on the terminology issue: We don’t use “master slave replication” anymore.

The trend in documentation is navigate instead of ‘see’.

There are people who have issues with the word disabled. Magazine cover “disABLED” - that just makes me laugh, trying to hard.

In disabled hierarchy

say that stuff in public, people lose their mind.

Seems a lot to ask people to schlep their computer, equipment..?

Hmm, can offer to

Is there a real advantage to in-person versus cam? Do they have a section for people with disabilities.

Miche (professionally a designer, and accessibility enthusiast):

WAI website - tons of people who love talking about accessibility issues, and the archives are online.

Silver (Silver = “AG” = Accessibility Guidelines) working group

nice and terrifying thing about accessibility is that it’s still at an early stage– you can become an expert pretty quickly, but there’s not a lot of defined rules.

My husband is disabled. He and a disabled friend call themselves “the cripples.” I joke with my husband all the time, and i would never call him that!