Last week, Aaron, our Accessibility Program Manager, and I did an informal usability study with a Visual Studio .Net 2003 user who has low vision. I shouldn’t say it was a usability study, since a usability study implies asking the user to perform certain tasks. Instead, we just discussed accessibility with Roger Van Houten, a Program Manager for MSCom and an ASP.NET developer (his name / rank used with permission), asking him where the trouble areas for the Visual Studio environment were and what was on his wish list for accessibility features.
The most surprising thing I learned from the study was that not all High Contrast users use large fonts. On the contrary, Roger said that he found it annoying for High Contrast to just enable large fonts without the user’s consent. Just as it is a against accessibility requirements to override the OS System Settings, vice versa is against accessibility requirements as well. Don’t change OS System Settings, even if you assume it is the right thing to do.
Here are some interesting items that we’ve learned from the meeting:
Here is my wish list for future versions…