Survey of Computer Accessibility Needs

Personas are used in creating software and they help shape it to fit real people. By building up various pictures of the users and then turning them into specific characters, it helps the software designer consider the whole person. For example, one cannot assume that all secretaries are good at shorthand but are not too good at coping with technical documentation. But to model those that are, one might create the character Mavis, who is in her fifties, is a really fast typist, but not really interested in computers, although she can do amazing things with the family photos on the computer ... etc. She won't be the only "archetype" in a system, but having a concrete example, with some "story", helps the designers think about how people react.

Therefore, some of the questions below will seem to be irrelevant, but they help build a picture. Currently an Ubuntu developer might think "shall I bother testing this application for accessibilty?" we want them to think "my application is broken if Mavis can't use it" (and similarly for the other personas).

Data Collection and Processing

This survey will be used to create the personas that the Ubuntu Accessibility project is creating. Participants will only be contacted if they indicate that they wish to be. Participants have the choice of filling out the survey completely anonymously or may provide an e-mail address should they wish to do so. There will be no formal data published, just the final personas which will not reflect any one participant. Any email addresses provided will only be used for communication in relation to this survey and will be discarded afterwards. Any e-mailed submissions will only have their e-mail address seen by the 2 people with access to the e-mail account and will only be contacted with their express permission.

Questions About Impairment

How would you describe yourself?

Please give us some details on what about your impairment effects your computer use. You might wish to consider:

  • what sort of interfaces to programs you like to use, and those you do not like
  • how you set the machine up to be usable for you
  • whether some kinds of work on the computer are too tiring or painful or simply too slow to be practical
  • how you handle work for which the computer is only one tool in the process
  • what is it about other people's computers that make theirs easier or more difficult to use
  • what sort of tasks you use computers for.

Assistive Technology Questions

Do you use any assistive hardware for your computer? if so what?

Do you have any hardware which is not really assistive technology, but was chosen because it makes things easier?

What sort of assistive software do you have for the computers you use?

Is there software which you would use if it existed, for which you presently get by with help from other people?

Do you have any non-computer assistive technology, e.g. hearing aid/wheelchair. Do these affect how you use the computer at all?

Where did you get help in finding the assistive technology you need?

Do you need support for the technology, and if so, how do you get it?

How do you keep up with developments in assistive technology?

Over the course of a year, how many computers do you use that need accessibility interfaces?

Over the course of a year, how many consumer electronic devices do you use that need accessibility interfaces? (such as ATMs, phones, DVD/video players, games consoles, etc.)

Computer Usage

What specification of computer do you have, or generally use?

What computer operating system do you normally use?

What accessibility software have you used that was

  • Good
  • OK
  • Dreadful

and what was it about that software which made it so?

What applications do you use?

What applications do you have difficulty using?

What applications do you avoid for accessibility reasons?

If you get stuck using an application, how do you go about finding a solution to your problem? What influences your choices when doing that?

Do you think computers are getting easier or harder to use? Please give examples to support and explain your answer.

What tasks are still difficult for you, even with assistive technology? (You may wish to consider simple changes to assistive technology that you would find helpful, if you have thought of some.)


What do you do for a living?

What did you do today?

Do you have hobbies and interests that are helped by using the computer?

Are you willing to be contacted by a member of the Ubuntu Accessibility Team with any follow up questions? If so, please provide your e-mail address.

How to submit the results

Please e-mail this survey to

For an online version of this survey that can be filled in completely anonymously, rather than e-mailed, you can go to UbuntuAccessibilitySurvey

Accessibility/Personas/Survey (last edited 2010-07-10 15:13:22 by ip98-182-50-39)