Web Design Considerations for Cognitive Disabilities

The most common type of disability by far is cognitive disabilities. There are different kinds of cognitive disabilities and variations within those different kinds. Those who have cognitive disabilities may experience limited comprehension, may be overwhelmed by complex environments, may experience difficulty reading, or may experience attention deficits. Though web accessibility standards and guidelines do not completely address cognitive disabilities, there are some design considerations we can keep in mind to enhance web experiences for people with cognitive disabilities.

Tips for Web Design for Cognitive Disabilities

  1. Simplify the design and content:

    Simple designs are cleaner and less distracting, thus enabling users to focus better on the main content of the web page. As for the main content itself, simplifying the message down to its essence increases understandability. Use common words and phrases, avoid jargon, and eliminate unnecessary wording.

  2. Keep the navigation consistent:

    Ensuring that navigation is consistent throughout the entire website can reduce cognitive load. When navigation is consistent, users do not have to worry about re-orienting themselves to navigate the site, or worry about solving navigation issues.

  3. Use supplemental formats:

    Using additional media formats such as images and videos can be used to communicate ideas that are presented in text. Supplemental, functional formats may assist those users who may have trouble understanding words and sentences.