Bridging the Cognitive Divide with Accessibility Standards

Session Evaluation

Class description

There are substantial barriers that people with cognitive disabilities are challenged with when using the Web. Cognitive disabilities represent the largest subset of the total population of persons who have disabilities. According to a 2013 review by University College London, up to 10 percent of the population are affected by specific learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and autism, translating to 2 or 3 pupils in every classroom. Globally, there are more elderly people than children for the first time in history. The broad cognitive spectrum of functional deficits and difficulties make it difficult for Web developers to understand and implement an accessible Website to meet the needs of these users. The W3C Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force is working to mitigate the difficulties for developers and have drafted new criteria and recommendations that have been proposed for the next update of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Accessibility standards, such as the W3C standards, along with government regulations drive the adoption of accessibility requirements. However, the business opportunity is there to serve this under-served demographic. By prioritizing technology access for people with disabilities, organizations have a better understanding of the full spectrum of human needs to deliver personalized experiences through websites and/or mobile devices.

The guidance being developed by the W3C’s Cognitive Accessibility Task Force will be explored to share the latest research available on making Web and mobile content accessible to people with cognitive disabilities. Topics will include:
– Assistive technology compatibility
– Consistency in the presentation of information
– Transformability of the visual content
– Multi-modal delivery of information
– Structure of information for better comprehension
– Techniques for helping users stay focused
– Use of language for better comprehension



May 18th, 2017


4:00 pm-5:30 pm

Class level


Class type



Business Strategy – Content – Design & Usability – Dev/Coding – Testing



Take Aways

  • Basic knowledge of web accessibility and what that means
  • Basic knowledge of what Web accessibility standards exist today (WCAG, WAI-ARIA, etc.)
  • Basic understanding of what is a cognitive disability.
  • Attendees will gain knowledge of the user needs of people with language and learning disabilities not currently met by the standards.
  • Learn how to apply the latest Web guidance to better meet the accessibility needs of people with cognitive and learning disabilities.
  • Understand design principles that would be most helpful to people with cognitive disabilities
  • Learn how to improve overall usability by applying good design to meet the user needs of this population of users.
  • Learn how cutting edge standardization of personalization will be used to improve the user experience of this user group in the future.


Room TH 211

Session Evaluation

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