CWDO – Linking People With Disabilities Into Development Activities



Citizens with Disabilities – Ontario (CWDO) is a small non-profit organization of volunteers that actively promotes the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of persons with disabilities through community development, social action, and member support and referral.  Our primary activity is public education and awareness about the social and physical barriers that prevent the full inclusion of persons with disabilities and has over 2,000 members from across Ontario .

CWDO is proud to be a full member of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities. CCD is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an accessible and inclusive Canada


People With Disabilities

Disability is a broad term that describes a physical, mental, sensory or cognitive condition that  may limit full participation in life due to environmental or social barriers

  • Around 15 per cent of the world’s population, or more than 1 billion people, live with a  disability. 1  They are the world’s largest minority  2 , and the only minority group any of us can become a member of at any time.
  • Worldwide, 40% of people have a person with a disability in their immediate circle of friends and  family.
  • In 2006 14.3% of Canadians had a disability 6 . That is one in seven Canadians.


In Canada We Are All Online

  • Applying for jobs, communicating with friends and family, dating, participating in online classes, shopping, accessing services, researching class projects, buying concert tickets, banking, working online or with online systems and doing many other activities.
  • People With Disabilities Are Online Too


Closed Doors

  • Even when people with disabilities have access to the most advanced and expensive technology the sites, services, apps and content need to be designed with the virtual wheelchair ramps necessary to get in the door.
  • According To The Business Disability Forum 70% of sites tested lack even basic accessibility


The Community Of People With Disabilities

Digital inclusion can be broken down into four key categories


1. Visual


  • Vision Enhancement and Replacement Tools, Techniques and Technologies
    • This can be non-sighted users, users with low-vision, users with obstructed vision, or even simply your aging parents. (e.g. Myopia, Colour blindness, Glaucoma, Albinism)


2. Auditory


  • Audio Enhancement and Replacement Tools, Techniques and Technology Users
    • This can be deaf or deafened users, users who are hard of hearing, or even simply your aging parents. (e.g. Tinnitus , Presbycusis, Acoustic trauma, Auditory processing disorder, Otosclerosis)


3. Mobility and Dexterity


  • Mobility and Dexterity Enhancement Tools, Techniques and Technologies
    • People with physical impairments typically use a wide range of techniques from those that replace a keyboard, mouse or touchscreen to technologies ranging from specialized keyboards, to eye trackers, to using single buttons to navigate their device .(e.g. RSI, Cerebral palsy,  Parkinson’s, Muscular dystrophy)


4. Cognitive and Learning Style


  • Cognitive and Learning Style Enhancement Tools, Techniques and Technology Users
    • Relates to the need to consume or interact with information using different channels, methods or the ease processing of information. (e.g. Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Down’s syndrome, Autism, Global developmental delay)


The Problem We Are Attempting To Solve

In Canada, there is a need for connecting people with disabilities willing to do user testing with  people looking for user testing.

Small,  medium and non-profit organisations are generally lacking the connections or understanding to  ensure that their sites are usable by people with disabilities. It is not easy to find or request a group  of people with a wide range of disabilities to try out some new prototype or system.


The Idea On How To Solve It

It is our thought that people would be more willing to do user testing if offered a small financial compensation for their time. It is our thought that If it were easy to request a group  of people to try out some new prototype or system, it could encourage developers to test earlier  in the process or integrate inclusive design principles earlier in the process. This can help  people find problems earlier or easier.

  • What is being proposed is that a system be developed similar in  concept to:  User Testing Dot Com.  The site Facilitates the interaction. Gathers people, tags their skills, competencies & technology  usage.  Ensure French and english testers are identified. Post projects or requests and have a pool of  people be offered the testing.


The call to action

We Need Your Expertise and Help to break down barriers and help build virtual wheelchair ramps into the sites, services and systems of the future so everyone regardless of ability can get in through the door.