Stories of Web Users in How People with Disabilities Use the Web
The following are not real people, but represent real experiences of people with disabilities. They do not address every kind of disability or all impacts faced by people with disabilities.
Draft reviewers: The placeholder images below will be replaced with photos of the users.
Alan, reporter with limited use of his arms
Alan was involved in a accident which caused a spinal cord injury. This left him with limited use of his arms and no movement or sensation in his legs. He has worked as a reporter for more than 20 years. Alan uses a keyboard with larger keys to help him more easily hit the correct key and a joystick instead of a mouse.
Ian, data entry clerk with autism
Ian is autistic. His autism was diagnosed at an early age because of delays in speech development, sometimes called non-speaking autism. Ian received a lot of early childhood support, which helped him develop language and social skills. However, he still has some problems with language, especially when experiencing anxiety.
Ilya, senior accountant who is blind
Ilya is blind. She is the chief accountant at an insurance company that uses web-based documents and forms over a corporate intranet. Like many other blind computer users, Ilya does not read Braille.
Lee, online shopper who cannot distinguish between certain colors (color blindness)
Lee was born with deuteranopia and protanopia (often called “color blindness”). He has difficulty distinguishing among items that are red, green, orange, and brown, all of which appear kind of a murky brown.
Luis, basketball fan with Down syndrome
Luis was born with Down syndrome and has mild to moderate cognitive delay. Due to his distinct facial appearance and difficulties with speech, many people underestimate Luis’ intelligence and capabilities.
Martine, older adult student who is deaf
Martine has been deaf since birth. She is a mature student, taking online courses. While she can hear some sounds, she does not hear enough to understand speech.
Noor, teenager who is deaf and blind
Noor is a teenager who was born deaf and with typical vision. She recently became legally blind too. Noor has some residual vision and can see small portions of a computer screen when it is significantly enlarged. She communicates using sign language and a portable electronic Braille device.
Preety, young student with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia
Preety is a middle school student who has dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The ADHD makes it hard for her to pay attention and focus on her schoolwork, something she really needs to do to keep up with her classmates. Reading is especially difficult.
Yun, retiree with low vision, hand tremor, and mild short-term memory loss
Yun has low vision, hand tremor and short term memory loss. Yun had a long and successful career as an architect. He delayed retirement until he was in his 70’s because as the senior architect in his firm, he was often sought after to mentor the new hires and guest lecture at local universities. Yun always wore glasses but over time, the demands of the close-up work necessary to render architectural drawings strained his eyes to the point that he could only work a couple of hours at a time. He finally had to stop work when he developed a mild hand tremor and found it too difficult to maintain the precision required for his work.
Related WAI resources
These other resources provide more detailed information regarding user needs within specific contexts or disability areas.
- Accessibility Requirements for People with Low Vision - User Needs
- Making Content Usable for People with Cognitive and Learning Disabilities - Use Cases/Personas
- Media Accessibility User Requirements - includes a summary of media requirements by type of disability and assistive technologies to support media access.