This is an unpublished draft preview that might include content that is not yet approved. The published website is at

Marta, marketing assistant who is deaf and blind in Stories of Web Users, How People with Disabilities Use the Web

Accessibility: It's about people

Note: This user story is an example of a person with this type of disability. Other people with this disability may have different experiences.

About Marta

I love watching videos and when they have captions that I can make large, I can then follow the dialogue.

Marta is a marketing assistant who was born profoundly deaf. She communicates using sign language and attended a school for the deaf. Recently Marta learned she has a degenerative condition that results in progressive vision loss. As her eyesight deteriorates, Marta will need to learn new ways of interacting with the computer. Fortunately for Marta, online content, if coded properly, is accessible by adjusting size and contrast settings, both of which she is becoming more and more reliant on.

Marta has always been interested in clothes and her decreasing vision only fueled her passion more for vibrant colors, exaggerated shapes, and distinctive textures. She has started taking classes in fashion design at her local college and is excited to learn the history of fashion. Marta has always relied on captioning or speech-to-text applications when communicating with her hearing peers and her local community. She knows she has to connect with the disability office to request a sign interpreter. However, she is unsure about what additional resources she may now need due to her recent diagnosis. She is hoping to discuss how much of the course material is presented with captions and transcripts.

Marta is currently learning braille and is being exposed to using a braille display to access her current technology. She was excited to learn that the braille display includes calendar, e-mail, web browsing, and note-taking features so she can have an all-in-one device. This will reduce the number of devices Marta will have to travel with so she can navigate the campus safely. She wants to be able to independently navigate the college platforms to access course materials, communicate with her professors, and submit assignments without having to rely on someone else if she can’t visually access the information. So far, Marta has had mixed success using the braille display. It works well when content is coded so that it can be recognized by the device. Unfortunately, in one case, she couldn’t submit a form because a button wasn’t coded correctly.

Socially, Marta loves being out and about with her friends. She will not be able to drive so will need to rely on public transportation. This is not new to her since she lives in an urban area. However, she knows there are always last minute changes to platforms and times. She is worried about being alerted to this information. She is already experiencing difficulty reading times, plus the website is not mobile optimized and doesn’t work well when zoomed. She is interested in customizing her devices so she can utilize tactile features for notifications and alerts for all aspects of her life. Marta is eager to learn about the accessible technology that is available so she can continue her path to becoming a successful fashion designer.

Barrier examples

Consistent layout
Barrier: “Some shopping sites I visit have completely different styles for different sections. It takes me a while to work out where everything is in each section which is really frustrating.”
Works well: “The shopping website I use has the same layout on all of it’s sections which makes it easy to work my way around pages.”
No transcript
Barrier: “Some videos only have embedded captions which I can’t access easily.”
Works well: “Having a transcript is a big help. It is much easier for me to read with my Braille device.”
Inaccessible CAPTCHA
Barrier: “If a site has a CAPTCHA that uses images or audio then I just can’t use it - it can take me ages to work out the image and I can’t hear the audio alternative.”
Works well: “No CAPTCHA is best but sometimes there are simple things that ask a really easy question.”
Keyboard navigation
Barrier: “A date picker that pops up when I tab to a date entry field but I can’t use the date picker as it doesn’t work with the keyboard.”
Works well: “I can tab through dates in a date picker using my keyboard or I can just enter the date without the date picker.”
Changes elsewhere on a page
Barrier: “I needed to add my previous address into an application form, but nothing happened when I pressed the ‘Add new address’ button. I don’t know where the new address fields might have been added to the page.”
Works well: “When I press the ‘Add new address’ button, I am taken to the form fields that have just been added above the button.”

Assistive technologies and adaptive strategies used

Video: Marta, marketing assistant who is deaf and blind

This video is also available on a W3C server: Video: Marta, marketing assistant who is deaf and blind (file format: MP4, file size: 360MB).

Text Transcript with Description of Visuals

Audio Visual
How people with disabilities use digital technology; Marta, a marketing assistant who is Deaf and blind. How people with disabilities use digital technology; Marta, a marketing assistant who is deaf and blind.
Hi! I’m Marta, a marketing assistant at my School for the Deaf. I’m Deaf-blind. I was born deaf and have progressive vision loss, which means I can still see things if they’re large and up-close but I see less and less each year. A woman signs directly to the camera.
As a Deaf child, I learned sign language early on. This is why technology is so important to me – it allows me to communicate with more people. At home, I have a computer that can enlarge my documents up to 20 times. I have a big screen but can still only see a very small portion of the screen, and an even smaller portion of the documents because it’s like looking through a magnification lens. I can find my way around documents with headings and sections that look different. For example, this briefing sheet uses a color for the headings that is different from the main content, which makes it easier for me to recognize them. The woman is sitting on the sofa with another man, they are signing to each other. The woman is then sitting at a desk scrolling through zoomed-in options on a website. She is using a mouse and looking at a monitor through a magnification lens.
Oh, and I’m learning to use braille too. Braille are those dots that you read with your fingers, and I have this really cool device called a “refreshable braille display” – it’s a small device that I can take with me everywhere, unlike my computer. It has apps for email, web, and chat, and some have a special keyboard for typing in braille. I read the braille characters in a row on the device, which I’m slowly getting used to. It’s always difficult to learn to use something new at first but I’m getting better at reading and typing braille. The woman is sitting at a desk using a refreshable braille display.
But not all websites and apps work well with magnification or on my braille display. Like when I need to look up the bus schedule to meet up with my friends – that table doesn’t work well when I enlarge it on my phone. And forget about trying to read it in braille. I can’t tell what row or column I’m in and it just jumps all over the place! It makes me nervous because I can’t as easily ask for help from people around me while I’m out, so I’ve been learning how to speak up and ask companies for more accessible websites and apps to help me stay independent. The woman is sitting at a bus stop, looking at a zoomed-in bus timetable app on her mobile phone. She is holding the mobile phone close to her face.
You can help make technology accessible to me. Accessibility: It’s about people. The woman speaks directly to the camera.
For more information from the Web Accessibility Initiative on how people with disabilities use digital technology, visit Accessibility: It’s about people;
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This is an unpublished draft preview that might include content that is not yet approved. The published website is at