Stephen Elsden – Building a social network for disabled users

Building a portal for disabled people and those with an interest in disability. Free access, fully interactive, fully accessible.

Simple iconography that works without colour. Give the user control over the colour scheme. Visual tag clouds with numbers next to each item for screenreaders. Avoids jargon – “Popular topics” rather than “Tag cloud”.

Simple, clear comment box and star rating input.

Timescale is quite long – 3 years – so repeat user testing along the way.

“How much do you use the web?” “Not much, only to book tickets, and do the shopping, and chat to my friends, and…”

Tested for A and AA WCAG compliance. Test common tasks across the site, with a range of impairments.

Launch pilot version, then test again in a live environment – iterative improvements to accessibility.

Next phase – add a helpline service that people can ring up.