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Cognitive Accessibility: What? Why? And How?

taught by: Betsy Furler

Session Summary

Traditionally digital accessibility has focused on vision, hearing and mobility access. About 30% of the population struggles with cognitive accessibility yet its often overlooked. This session addresses what cognitive accessibility is, why it’s important and what needs to be done to make websites and software more accessible to this overlooked portion of the population.


This class will explain what cognitive accessibility is, why it’s important and how it can be addressed in the design of websites and software.

Course Outline

  1. What is cognitive accessibility?
  2. Who benefits from cognitive accessibility?
    1. Overview of conditions affecting cognitive function
    2. Need for cognitive accessibility for the general population
    3. Cognitive variances in “typical” people throughout their days, weeks and years.
  3. Why should you care about cognitive accessibility?
  4. What can you do to increase the cognitive accessibility of your product?
    1. Overlap between cognitive accessibility and more traditional means of accessibility.
    2. Use of color for cognitive accessibility
    3. The importance of visual simplicity and white space
    4. The importance of simple language and vocabulary
    5. The importance of the use of a variety of presentation methods.
  5. Explanation of my metrics for cognitive accessibility

Presentation Materials