Luis, basketball fan with Down syndrome in Stories of Web Users, How People with Disabilities Use the Web

About Luis

I like to buy tickets for home games because I know the site well. When I have to buy tickets for away games it is hard for me. All the different sites do things in different ways.

Luis was born with Down syndrome and experiences barriers when dealing with abstract concepts, reading, and math calculations. Due to his distinct facial appearance and difficulties with speech, many people underestimate Luis’ intelligence and capabilities. Even though he has difficulty expressing himself, Luis understands a great deal. He learned basic computer skills in vocational school and since then, he has taught himself how to use websites to order groceries and maintain his bank account, among other things.

Luis loves basketball. He played on his school team and now plays in a local club. He is an enthusiastic fan and takes his kids to games when he can. Buying tickets online can be difficult sometimes for Luis. Venues all seem to have different ways to buy tickets and it can sometimes be confusing. This is particularly difficult when the venue website links off to a separate site that looks totally different. Especially confusing is when he clicks on a link and ends up in a PDF file. Luis likes sites that have a consistent “feel” when going from section to section and page to page. This means the overall layout maintains a similar theme and the placement of the navigation doesn’t change too much, and that he is warned when clicking on a link that goes to a different site.

Luis works part-time in the local library. He is keen to find a full-time office job but worries that the jargon in the workplace will make this difficult at first. Writing in “plain language” is really helpful. If something can be said using simpler terminology or shorter sentences, that makes it easier for him to understand and use the information. Also, acronyms and abbreviations really slow him down because he has to spend time trying to figure them out or going to look them up. Headings are also a huge help as it splits up the page and he can digest information in smaller chunks, kind of like an outline of the page. When navigating a page, having good focus and link styling helps him know where he is and what he can click on.

Getting a mobile phone was a huge deal for Luis. He finds apps that have fewer options and fewer decisions are clearer for him and easier to use. Using the phone for shopping is really easy for Luis. Being able to find the things he usually buys is a huge help.

Barrier examples

Breadcrumb trail
Problem: ““When I follow several links, sometimes I feel lost and I just want to get back to where I started.”
Works well: “A breadcrumb at the top of the page that shows all of the pages I was on helps me feel oriented and lets me go back to a familiar page.”
Plain language
Problem: “Sometimes when I’m looking something up, I don’t understand the words they use.”
Works well: “If simpler words can be used, use them. If there aren’t simpler words, give me a definition or point me to a glossary. Avoid the use of acronyms and abbreviations.”
Clear link styling
Problem: “Designers like to get fancy with links and sometimes it’s hard to figure out the difference between the links and highlighted text or headings.”
Works well: “Use blue underlined text for unvisited links and purple for visited links.”
Problem: “When I’m filling out forms, it’s sometimes hard to know what they want in each field.”
Works well: “Tell me what fields are required, put a simple and clear label on each form field, and give me an example of the format they want, especially for dates.”
Problem: “Because I’m a slow reader, it’s frustrating when the website times out and I need to start all over.”
Works well: “Give a warning before the website times out and offer an option to stay online.”
Headings and Links
Problem: “I get confused and overwhelmed when I’m on a page that has a lot of text.”
Works well: “It helps when pages are broken up into sections with clear headings. Also, pictures or images that show what is being said help my understanding and they break up the page so it’s not so overwhelming. In-page links, like a table of contents, can help me to know what is on the page so I can quickly get to the information I’m looking for.”
Problem: “Moving or animated text or pictures is really distracting. It keeps pulling my attention away from what I’m trying to do.”
Works well: “If there has to be moving or animated content, let me stop it.”

Assistive technologies and adaptive strategies used

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