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University Libraries Accessibility Resources

What is Cognitive Accessibility?

Cognitive, learning, and neurological disabilities involve neurodiversity and neurological disorders, as well as behavioral and mental health disorders that are not necessarily neurological. They may affect any part of the nervous system and impact how well people hear, move, see, speak, and understand information. Cognitive, learning, and neurological disabilities do not necessarily affect the intelligence of a person.

From W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, "Diverse Abilities and Barriers."

Designing for users on the autistic spectrum

Do

  • use simple colours
  • write in plain English
  • use simple sentences and bullets
  • make buttons descriptive - for example, Attach files
  • build simple and consistent layouts

Don't

  • use bright contrasting colours
  • use figures of speech and idioms
  • create a wall of text
  • make buttons vague and unpredictable - for example, Click here
  • build complex and cluttered layouts

This poster is made available by UK Home Office via a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence

Designing for users with dyslexia

Do

  • use images and diagrams to support text
  • align text to the left and keep a consistent layout
  • consider producing materials in other formats (for example, audio and video)
  • keep content short, clear and simple
  • let users change the contrast between background and text

Don't

  • use large blocks of heavy text
  • underline words, use italics or write capitals
  • force users to remember things from previous pages - give reminders and prompts
  • rely on accurate spelling - use autocorrect or provide suggestions
  • put too much information in one place

This poster is made available by UK Home Office via a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence

Cognitive Accessibility Resources

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