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Glossary » Accessibility

domain expert

or “subject matter expert” (SME); a person with special knowledge or skills in a particular area; a person extremely familiar with a given group of users and their work habits (because they belong to the group).

A truck driver is…

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the property of a control that keeps it from activating until it has been ‘held’ (or manipulated) for a certain period of time, thus preventing accidental activation from being briefly hit unintentionally.

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early adopter

a person who chooses to purchase or use relatively new technology before it is fully embraced by the mass market. Early adopters are therefore people who have a stronger need for the technology (such as a specific application that doesn’t…

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end user

the primary target user of a system, usually assumed to be the least computer-savvy among users. The system administrator, for instance, would be considered a valid user of the software, but wouldn’t generally be considered the end user except for…

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environmental control

technology to enable people with disabilities to control devices in their vicinity, such as lights, door switches, air conditioners, phones, and televisions.

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environmental profile

a characterization of the environment in which a system will be used. Aspects may include ambient lighting and noise, temperature, humidity, smoke, chemical substances, vibrations, the visual environment, enclosures and furnishings, the user terminal, and other human activity.

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hearing impairment

difficulty hearing or deafness. For those who are hard of hearing, volume controls can help them use a computer, as well as output devices that enable them to plug in headphones and control the position and direction of speakers. For…

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human anthropometry

anthropometrics; the measurement of the physical characteristics of humans, particularly length and weight measures, used for industrial design, especially the design of furniture, vehicles, and workspaces. In the domain of computer use, such measurements apply primarily in the design of…

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indirect user

someone who does not actually use a product but who is directly affected by the product’s usability. For instance, a telemarketer or customer service agent may work with software while interacting with a customer, and the customer would be an…

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individual differences

people vary in a number of ways that can have an impact on the design of a user interface, and rather than trying to design for “the average user”, it is often better to understand how people vary to design…

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modifying a system to suit the needs and preferences of a single individual user.

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or i18n (the letter “i” followed by 18 letters, followed by “n”); the design or modification of software for an international audience.

Three approaches to internationalization are common:

globalization: making a monolingual interface more accessible for non-native speakers and international

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language disorder

any of a variety of common cognitive impairments (that limit the production and understanding of language), such as dyslexia, and speech impairments. Many of these impairments can be assisted by reducing the linguistic complexity of the interface (which also helps…

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locked-in syndrome

a level of paralysis where people can make no voluntary movements other than direction of eye gaze, despite their consciousness and awareness. Communication channels are thus extremely limited, and a brain-computer interface is one possible computer interface that can work.…

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low vision

limitations of eyesight short of complete blindness. Low vision may include myopia, blurred vision, limited visual angle, spotted vision, darkened eyesight, fractured images, and blindspots. Approaches to helping this situation include using large fonts and imagery, using screen magnification tools,…

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mobility impairment

physical limitations affecting walking and transportation. These impairments can be a factor when designing public terminals and kiosks, such as ATM machines, which can be inconvenient for wheelchair access. Technology can also be designed to assist with mobility problems by…

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morse code

a method of text entry for those with severe motor impairments. A single working muscle can operate a switch to send a series of dots and dashes as a code for text input. This may be used to control a…

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motor impairment

a loss or limitation of function in muscle control or movement or a limitation in mobility. This may include hands that are too large or small for a keyboard, shakiness, arthritis, paralysis, and limb loss, among other difficulties.

The wide…

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a feature that allows the pointer position to be controlled with keyboard keys instead of the mouse, intended especially for people with motor disabilities who have difficulty using a mouse.

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a device for the physically disabled that enables them to control input through a stick they control with their mouth.

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or m17n (m and n separated by 17 letters); the support in a product for multiple languages, especially support for other scripts, writing systems that don’t use the Roman alphabet supported in ASCII.

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open captions

like closed captions, open captions present text that represents the audio portion of a video, except open captions are displayed explicitly on the screen.

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OOBE; the interactions and first impressions a user has with technology when first opening the box it comes in and installing it, as opposed to the point-of-sale experience or the interaction experience of an expert user.

The out-of-box experience affects…

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participatory design

a democratic approach to design that encourages participation in the design process by a wide variety of stakeholders, such as: designers, developers, management, users, customers, salespeople, distributors, etc. The approach stresses making users not simply the subjects of user testing,…

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a description of a specific person who is a target user of a system being designed, providing demographic information, needs, preferences, biographical information, and a photo or illustration. Typically, multiple personas are developed in the early stages of design that…

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