Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Accessibility User Research Collective (AURC)?
    The AURC is a collection of people with disabilities that participate in user research (usability studies, focus groups, telephone/interview feedback, etc) on Microsoft products.

  2. Who is involved with the AURC?
    The AURC is a research partnership between Microsoft and Shepherd Center. Shepherd Center recruits participants by entering them into the research database. The research database is used to select participants for specific user research at Microsoft.

  3. What is the purpose of the AURC?
    The purpose of the AURC is to match participants to Microsoft research studies so they can conduct accessibility and usability testing of technology and to investigate current uses, experiences, and attitudes toward specific technologies by people with all types of disability. This research can include 1) product testing and interviews, 2) focus groups. 3) survey research. The purpose of the research is to provide consumer feedback to product teams working on consumer technologies to make them accessible and usable by people with disabilities.

  4. How do I become a member of the AURC?
    Email us at, or call us at 1-800-582-6360. You will be asked to fill out a short survey with details about your demographics and current technology you use, or don’t use. We use the survey data to select AURC members for specific projects at Microsoft.

  5. Is the information I submitted to the AURC database confidential?
    Yes, all of the information entered into our AURC database will remain confidential. Only Shepherd Center staff and Microsoft staff associated with a particular research study you are involved in will have access to the information you submitted into the AURC database. Please read the Privacy Policies for Shepherd Center and Microsoft here: &

  6. Will I be paid?
    Yes, Once AURC members are selected from the research database you will be paid a stipend for working on a Microsoft usability project. We do not pay a stipend to fill out the initial survey to be entered into the AURC. AURC members will be asked to submit a W-9 to Shepherd Center staff so that stipend checks can be mailed to them.

  7. What if I decide to withdraw my membership to the AURC?
    AURC members can withdraw from our research database at any time and without reason. If you feel like you want to withdraw, please contact us at, or call us at 1-800-582-3060 and we will delete all of your profile information from the AURC database.

  8. Can I withdraw from a research study?
    Yes, you can withdraw at any time and without any reason. You will still be paid.

  9. If I’m selected for a research study will I need to sign consent forms?
    Yes, Shepherd Center staff will electronically send you Informed Consent Forms (ICF) via a form online. The consent forms detail the research project, your rights as a participant, how to withdraw from the study and relevant contact information.

  10. Will I need to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) if I’m selected for a research study?
    Yes, maybe. As AURC members, you will typically be reviewing Microsoft products that are not yet available on the market, and as such you may have to sign an NDA. Shepherd Center staff will electronically send an NDA to you ahead of any research study you are selected for.

  11. Microsoft is located in Seattle, WA. What if I don’t live there?
    You don’t need to live anywhere near Seattle to take part in a research study. AURC members are located all over the United States. We’ll be using technologies like Skype, remote desktop/laptop monitoring, surveys and the old-fashioned telephone so that AURC members can provide feedback to Microsoft product teams.

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