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Designing for people with cognitive impairments

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Slides from a presentation delivered by Andrew Arch and Sarah Pulis at the DTA Summit, November 2020.

When considering disability as part of the diversity of people we need to do research with and design for, we often only consider the more visible disabilities and impairments of vision, hearing and mobility. Cognition, often considered a 'hidden disability', can easily be overlooked. Digital design and language choices can make content inaccessible to people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

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Designing for people with cognitive impairments

  1. 1. Designing for people with cognitive impairments Andrew Arch Principal Consultant amja Sarah Pulis Director sarahtp November 2020
  2. 2. Understanding user needs Designing for user needs, such as differences in: • perception, memory and attention • learning and orientation • visual, verbal or numerical thinking
  3. 3. Neurodiversity traits Problem solver Anxious Persistent Rumination Memory challenges Imaginative Creative Source: https://doitprofiler.com/why-do-some-young-people-miss-out-on-getting-a-diagnosis/
  4. 4. Designing for user needs
  5. 5. Use clear and understandable language
  6. 6. Design considerations Provide clear headings 01 Use plain language 02 Provide a summary of long documents 03 Provide alternatives for numbers 04
  7. 7. Help users avoid mistakes or easily correct them
  8. 8. Design considerations Provide clear instructions 01 Use clear, always- visible labels 02 Allow users to save, continue, review 03 Provide ‘success’ or ‘failure’ feedback 04
  9. 9. Allow users to focus and concentrate
  10. 10. Design considerations Limit distractions 01 Optimise content 02 Streamline processes and workflows 03 Provide instructions at the right time 04
  11. 11. Reduce reliance on memory
  12. 12. Design considerations Different authentication methods 01 Avoid CAPTCHA 02 Make navigation explicit 03 Provide different ways of getting help 04
  13. 13. Don’t make the user think unnecessarily
  14. 14. Design considerations Use consistent patterns 01 Use proximity to help understanding 02 Use symbols and pictures as well as text 03 Provide search 04
  15. 15. User research There is no substitute for talking with users
  16. 16. Let’s chat @Intopia Intopia intopia.digital hello@intopia.digital Andrew Arch andrew@intopia.digital amja Sarah Pulis sarah@intopia.digital sarahtp
  17. 17. Further reading (1/2) Making Content Usable for People with Cognitive and Learning Disabilities (working draft) • www.w3.org/TR/coga-usable Designing for cognitive accessibility: Where to begin • thenextweb.com/growth- quarters/2020/04/06/designing-for-cognitive- accessibility-where-to-begin/
  18. 18. Further reading (2/2) Cognitive Disabilities Design Considerations • webaim.org/articles/cognitive/design Designing for Cognitive Differences • alistapart.com/article/designing-for-cognitive- differences/ Designing A Dementia-Friendly Website • www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/05/designing-a- dementia-friendly-website/

Slides from a presentation delivered by Andrew Arch and Sarah Pulis at the DTA Summit, November 2020. When considering disability as part of the diversity of people we need to do research with and design for, we often only consider the more visible disabilities and impairments of vision, hearing and mobility. Cognition, often considered a 'hidden disability', can easily be overlooked. Digital design and language choices can make content inaccessible to people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

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