Individuals with cognitive or learning disabilities, (brain injury, dyslexia, mental retardation and short-term memory deficit), may need more general solutions. Solutions may be to provide a consistent design and using simplified language. An example from W3C: by using a template, a Web developer can reuse the same layout and design for each page, so a person with a cognitive disability can more easily navigate through a Web site.

Individuals with cognitive or learning disabilities will benefit from redundant input, such as providing both an audio file and a transcript of a video. By simultaneously viewing the text and hearing it read aloud, the individual could take advantage of both auditory and visual skills to better comprehend the material.

Individuals with learning disabilities rely on getting information through several assistive devices at the same time. An example from W3C: someone who has difficulty reading may use a screen reader plus synthesized speech to facilitate comprehension, while someone with an auditory processing disability may use captions to help understand an audio track.

Here are examples of accessibility barriers for individuals with learning disabilities:

  • Lack of options to use alternative devices for information on Web sites, for example lack of alternative text that can be converted to audio to supplement visuals, or the lack of captions for audio

1) Attention Deficit Disorder

Individuals with attention deficit disorder may have difficulty focusing on information. An individual with an attention deficit disorder may need to turn off animations on a site in order to be able to focus on the site’s content.

Here are examples of accessibility barriers for individuals with attention deficit disorder:

  • Distracting visual or audio elements that cannot easily be turned off
  • Lack of clear and consistent organization of Web sites

2) Impairments of Intelligence

Individuals with impairments of intelligence (also known as cognitive impairments) may learn more slowly, or have difficulty understanding complex concepts.

For individuals with impairments of intelligence may need:

  • More time on a Web site
  • May rely more on graphics to enhance understanding of a site
  • Benefit from the level of language on a site
  • Stay away from complex material

Examples of accessibility barriers that people with impairments of intelligence:

  • Use of unnecessarily complex language on Web sites
  • Lack of graphics on Web sites
  • Lack of clear or consistent organization of Web sites

Memory impairments

Individuals with memory impairments may have problems with short-term memory, missing long-term memory, or some loss of language.

Individuals with memory impairments may rely on a consistent navigational structure throughout the site.

Examples of accessibility barriers that people with memory impairments:

  • Lack of clear or consistent organization of Web sites

article courtesy Debra Ruh, formerly of TecAccess.net, now of RuhGlobal.com