Accessible Pain Scale

Accessible Pain Scale

Improving keyboard accessibility for pain selection

Project Type
Web App
Jan 2023
Apr 2023
UX Design & Research

Project Overview

Tap to view full size (opens new tab)

Project outcome

  • We made a previously unaccessible question available to people who do not use a mouse (~19.9 million Americans)
  • During user acceptance testing, real world participants rated the new pain selection process a 4.57 out of 7 on the Single Ease Question (SEQ), which assess how difficult a task(1=extremely difficult, 7=extremely easy)

The opportunity

My organization had known for some time that the pain scale question was not accessible to someone using a keyboard or someone with a visual disability. The question relied on patients ability to use a mouse or tap using their finger as well as seeing the image of the body. There were no focusable areas for a keyboard to navigate or alternative text for a screen reader to announce.


We knew there were likely many accessibility updates we could make to the pain scale question, but we needed to keep within the scope of the original problem: that the image was not keyboard accessible. We made sure to note other opportunities for improvements to address and prioritize for another time.

My role

I was the sole UX Designer on this project and acted as the accessibility subject matter expert. Since I do not primarily use a keyboard or screen reader, I made sure to conduct research with over 150 people who do.

Note: Due to the company's non-disclosure agreement (NDA) I cannot share any real visuals of the product publicly. All visuals on this page were recreated by me to replicate a similar, but not identical experience of the product (and also showcase my visual design skills 🤪).

Interested in hearing more?

Portfolio presentations are available upon request. Please contact me and I can walk you through my approach.