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Designing for cognitive disabilities

Presented at UX Australia 2011, Sydney, as part of the 10 minute series. This talk looks at inclusive and universal design tips for cognitive disabilities.

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Designing for cognitive disabilities

  1. Designing for cognitive disabilities<br />by Ruth Ellison<br />at UX Australia 2011<br />on 25 August 2011<br />@RuthEllison<br />From @StamfordUX<br />Image credit: My Brain by My Name is Rom ™ from <br />Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic license<br />
  2. Work at Stamford Interactive<br />Live in Canberra<br />Chocolate appreciator<br />Love robots<br />Hi, I’m Ruth<br />Love gadgets<br />Caricature by the talented Hayley Welsh<br />User experience designer<br />Skeptic and critical thinker<br />
  3. What are cognitive disabilities?<br />...any sort of cognitive disorder that impairs understanding and functioning. <br />Australian Human Rights Commission<br />
  4. Not binary<br />Cognitive disabilities range greatly in severity<br />Dad: bad with numbers<br />Richard Branson: dyslexia<br />profound<br />mild impairment<br />Grandma: bad memory<br />
  5. There is no one-size-fits-allrule<br />
  6. Proloquo2Go™<br />
  7. Functional groupings<br />Memory<br />Problem solving<br />Math comprehension<br />Attention<br />Reading, linguistic and verbal comprehension<br />Visual comprehension<br />From Bohman & Anderson’s functional cognitive disabilities model, 2005 and<br />
  8. Tips For an inclusive user experience<br />
  9. Tip #1: Indicate progress<br />Memory<br />Provide simple reminders such as a progress bar <br />Consider labelling each step<br />Source of images:<br />
  10. Tip #2:help recover from errors<br />Error messages should be as explanatory as possible<br />Tell users what they did wrong and how to fix the problem<br />Problem solving<br />
  11. Tip #3: be predictable<br />Ensure that navigation is consistent throughout the siteSimilar interface elements and similar interactions should produce predictably similar results<br />Memory<br />Source:<br />
  12. Tip #4: avoid distractions<br />Avoid distracting background images, noises or moving elements<br />Attention<br />Source:<br />
  13. Tip #5: allow user to control movement and timing<br />Allow users to control content updates or changes.<br />Attention<br />
  14. Tip #6: calculate it automatically<br />Math comprehension<br />
  15. Tip #7: be multi-modal<br />The more ways to convey your content, the easier it becomes to communicate to others. <br />Pair icons or graphics with text to provide contextual cues and help with content comprehension<br />Basic Tango Steps for Men<br />Step forward with your left foot<br />Step forward with your right foot passing the left foot<br />Step forward again with your left foot, this time passing the right foot<br />Step forward and to the right with your right foot<br />Left foot close to right foot<br />Visual comprehension<br />Reading, linguistic and verbal comprehension<br />Source:<br />Source:<br />
  16. Tip #8: plain language<br />Reading, linguistic and verbal comprehension<br /><br />
  17. Tip #9: left align<br />Reading, linguistic and verbal comprehension<br />Source: (text),<br />
  18. In many cases, the techniques for making web content more accessible to people with cognitive disabilities are nothing more than techniques for effective communication.<br />WebAIM<br />
  19. Useful resources<br />Clear Helper: Web Accessibility for People with Intellectual / Cognitive Disabilities<br />Cognitive Disabilities Part 1: We Still Know Too Little, and We Do Even Less, Bohman, Paul. 2004. from<br />Cognitive Disabilities and the Web: Where Accessibility and Usability Meet? By Mariger, Heather. from<br />What Problems Do People with Disabilities Have? and Why?, from<br />How People with Disabilities Use the Web by W3C, from<br />The Forgotten People: Designing for Cognitive Disability, from<br />An Accessibility Frontier: Cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties, Hudson, Roger., Weakley, R. And Firminger, P. from<br />Evaluating Cognitive Web Accessibility, from<br />Ruth Ellison’s cognitive disabilities bookmarks:<br />
  20. Ruth Ellison<br />Email:<br />Web:<br /> @RuthEllison<br /> @StamfordUX<br />Find this presentation at<br />