Web Accessibility Issues For Cognitive Disability Computer Science Essay

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THE COGNITIVE disability is a disability in which person has difficulty in one or more mental tasks. It is a learning disability . A person with Cognitive disability having a problems like short term memory loss, dyslexia. A person with this disability need a assistance in everything. The person with minor Cognitive Disabilty can work like other normal people despite his disability. The Cognition refers to the process of knowing. It includes the discrimination between and selection of relevant information, understanding and retention in the appropriate information .Cognitive Disability may be seen as reduced in efficiency in daily living. http://memophon.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Rehacom/CICERONE_2000.PDF

The concept of cognitive disability is extremely broad and cannot defined properly .Many people don't consider Cognitive disability as a disability. A person with cognitive disability need assistance for almost everything. Some people combine mental retardness with cognitive disability.

According to American Association for Mental Retardness, an adult is considerd to have a cognitive disability based on three criteria. One criteria is intelacual functioning(iq) that test at 70-75 or below. However it alone does not determine the level at which some one functions. Two other factors must be present before a person is considered to have cognitive disability.

There are many types of cognitive disability . There is not a single definition of cognilty disability many organization use different definitions to describe cognility definitions.

A person with a cognitive disability is said to have greater difficulty in one or more mental tasks than a "normal" or "average" person.

Individuals that exhibit significant delays in measured intelligence, adaptive functioning, and academic functioning.

A cognitive disability is any disability that affects

Cognility Disability can be divide in two types which Functional vs. Clinical Cognitive Disabilities. Clinical Cognilty disability include Autism, Down syndrome, Dementia. But for the web Accessibility the cognitive Disabilty can be describe as Functional Disability which is more appropriate.

It's not easy to describe cognitive disability but still some of the disabilities can be under as

Genetic disorders

Neurological impairments

Traumatic brain injury

The main purpose of this report to consider web accesibilty issues related to people with cognitive disability and their possible solutions and challenges ahead in this area.People with cognitive or learning disability such as dyslexia and short term memory defict need more general solutions whiuch include a consistant design and using simplified language. Graphic may assist their understand.

The vast majority of algorithms and tools is developed to help only one type of disability which is Blindness. The cognitive disability is the most neglected category of disabilty

Types of Cognitive Disability

Learning disability


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Brain Injury

Genetic Diseases

Learning disability- According to Teens Health disability doesn't have anything to do with a person's intelligence after all, such successful people as Walt Disney, Alexander Graham Bell, and Winston Churchill all had learning disabilities. People with Learning Disabilty does not have problem only in their job or School but it also ha huge impact on their personnel life as well. Children with learning disability often has problem with understanding language ,math and also has problem with identifying the words which look similar to each other like E or f and b or p are two examples of similar words. Some times parents can't accept that their children has Learning disability they put pressure on their children which leads to depression. Its sometimes becomes a struggle for a person with learning disability Earning disabilities can be detect when children struggle to learn in their school years.

Dyslexia- The British dyslexia association refer dyslexia as a learning disability which mainly affect y the literacy and language related skills. The dyslexia person has difficulity in reading because they find difficult to focus on a text. Sometimes they can,t remember what they already read .

Washington University report of research showing that dyslexic children's brains have to work five times as hard as non-dyslexic children when working at rhyming puzzles. However, there is no difference when they are working at musical puzzles.

Where as dyslexia Research Trust suggest that There is a clear biological basis to dyslexia. Genetic studies suggest around 50% is inherited, prevalence across cultures is similar (and independent of socio-economic status and IQ), and more males than females are affected. Differences in brain structure in dyslexia include an unusual symmetry of language areas and microscopic differences in the arrangement and connection of neurons.

The dyslexia people often unable to distinguish BETWEEN THE WEB PAGE MATERIALS .In particularly with the sites having similar images or graphics often lead to confusion for person who is affected with Dyslexia.



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) : It is the most common mental disorder which developed in children. If this not treated it have an long term adverse effect on child.ADHD also known as Hyper Kinetiuc disorder It is affected 3-5 percent children globally. This is disorder more common in boys as compared to girls. Studies in United States indicates approximately 8 to 10 percent of satisfy diagnostic criteria for ADHD. ADHD person may have trouble in organizing things or may even interrupt other people. Person with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity may have difficulty in finishing assignment or tasks from home switching from one activity to another.

Brain Injury:- There are number of reasons for brain injury including stroke ,illness, traumatic injury and brain tumors . Every brain injury is different from other. This cannot be predict how particular thing affect the brain of the person. The extent injury of brain determine the outcome of person abilty to process information.

Genetic Disability :- The Genetic Disability such as Down Syndrome, Autism and Demnetia affect individually. Some person with these disabilities are able to function at higher level than others.Down syndrome person can may function at high enough level who live independently while others with down syndrome need help for every task.




Solutions to web accessibility issues for cognitive disability

There are not any solutions which are full proof still we can do something tpo help the people with cognitive disability. Many of the web sites does not consider people with disability as their target audiences. But the sites like educational or technical cannot exclude the people with disability as their target audiences. To help people with cognitive disability to access the web one has to think carefully before designing a website .The following things prove to be helpul for people with cognilty disability.

Simplify Language- To make web accessible for the people with cognility disability the web designer need to think for them and they should avoid the use of slang and complex languages .The design of website should define the meaning the meaning clearly . Another approach would be to provide a glossary of specialized terms and link the terms directly to the glossary using HTML anchors.

Graphics- Use of Graphics in the Web Site make more accessible and user friendly. It helps in describing the information more than text. The users with Cognitive disability has difficulty in reading and understanding words. So with use of graphic images it leads to reduce the reading Effort and increase the understanding by the use of graphics. Graphics should be used appropriate where they convey meaningful information.But one have to be clear that not to overuse graphics and avoid fast moving images or graphics which make the people with cognitive disability confuseand often lead to disturbance.

Navigation-The navigation of website must be prepare before the designing of web site that will prevent from some unmanaged mistakes. A good navigation is must for make it accessible to more people.One need to use navigation space efficiently in the linkls so that user know what the corresponding page will contain. The colors of web pages must be use in that way that everyone can read it and not distract the user.Keep menus short and easy to understand one has to make sure to use clear labels which define the content of the menu.A bad naqvigated site often leads to problems for people with cognilty disability. There must be a site map and also the option of feedback so the user who found difficulity in using the web site can able to give the feedback.

The WAI is involved in creating guidelines for browsers, authoring tools, and content creation (WCAGWeb Accessibility guidelines contain general principals on how to make web content accessible to people with disabilities. Each guideline is supported by multiple checkpoints that specify what steps need be done to fulfill a guideline. Each checkpoint is associated with multiple technology specific techniques that illustrate how the checkpoint can be met.

Enable the enlargement and reading of textual content

Use a clear and correct document structure

Provide well illustrated text

Use consistent navigational techniques

Keep to commonly used conventions

All these guidelines are useful for a wide range of disabilities. There is a lack, however, of specific checkpoints or techniques that could increase accessibility for specific cognitive impairments. WCAG 1 already promotes the following checkpoints that benefit the Cognitively Disabled. They include:

Use simple language to form a high interest/low vocabulary semantic content

The Late Ron Mace developed the concept of universal

Design, who was an architect and engineer with disability has completely changed the way we think about the accessibility

Screenshot of the ADA Insights Web Site Home Page

NIYA, a non-profit with a Web accessibility practice, was contracted to undertake a redesign of the ADA Insights Web site: http://www.adainsights.org/ with a focus on making the Web site more usable. This was a wonderful opportunity to break new ground in the area of Web accessibility, as ADA Insights is committed to supporting the civil rights of people with disabilities. This article highlights the newly-developed cognitive disability features of the ADA Insights project Web site

Designing of Web Pages for people with disability

There are three rules to help the people to access the web with cognitive disabilty

Keep the content and design of your Web site simple.

Ensure that all Web site navigation is in one location.

Use illustrations, icons, and other visual tools to communicate key ideas

1.Keeping the content and design of your web site simple- It is really important to keep ther design of the website simple because if its complicated then it becomes impossible for people with disability to access the web site and difficult for normal people too..Because not every person can understand English or complx language. The people whose first language is not English also face thye difficulties while accessing the website. The complex design also create confusions for the people with cognitive disability and visual disability like pop-up,blinking images like blinking images and unnecessary ads.

Ensure that all Web site navigation is in one location- The navigation of webpage must be consistant throughout the website which maAt the sametime it should not be full of menus which makes complicated for the peo[ple with disability.

Screen shot of the ADA Insites Key Ideas Web PageD

Is an image equal to a thousand words? Indeed, if you are someone who doesn't readily understand words and sentences but processes images with ease. This is an area that has not received much attention in the sphere of Web accessibility. We know we should make images accessible to screen readers (used by people with vision impairments) by using "Alt-text" image descriptions. But how often do you hear about providing functional and descriptive images to help people who process information visually?


Web Designers needs to evaluate the needs for the people with cognitive disabled and not treat them as handicapped but the people with special needs which require special attention . We understand the problems for cognitive disabled is hard to understand because they face the problems in their daily which other people don,t think of. For example they face difficulity in distinguish between right and left which makes them mouse using confusing. And they can't read text easily as other people . They can't even distinguish between some letters on keyboard. Web designers need to desigtn a website to kept the people with Cognitive Disability as their audience also because these are the persons for internet and computers prove to be a boon. This is necessary to design the web sites which minimize the skills required to navigate them.

Universal Design : The Universal Design is a design which is accessible for every person including the person with disabilities. Universal Design means giving attention to old people , young people , woman at same time. It is very difficult to accommodate the idea of universal design but still it is a wonderful idea of universal design. It is impossible to create the design which is fully accessible but some steps can be taken to come near this concept. In contrast Universal Design according to the Centre of Universal Design "is the Design of Universal Products and environment which is usable for all people without the need of special design.The products which is designed for disabled people often benefits others also. Like when display of the television in railwaystations and airports are installed to help the people who cannot hear the audio because of noisy sound and as well as who is deaf and at the same time it serve as a sorce of entertainment. http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Universal/

Websites which Accommodate the Users with disabilities

http://www.netreach.net/ :  This site design for the person with disabilities. It has full information for the people with disability including their health , education , jobs etc. This site has a different page for different kind of disability. This site designed by disabled who puts his efforts to make this website accessible for all. It also include the large text for the people who need large text for comfortable reading .

Other website is http://www.iser.com/: This site is a directory of special education directory. It also gives the ideas on various disabilities to help the person with certain kind of disability This site is the independent site which is not affiliated with any learning disabilities professional or resource center listed. It serve as a directory like yellow pages focused specially on education and learning resources for disabled persons.


National Centre to Improve Practice in Special Education Technology, Media and Materials


NCIP has attempted to make this web site accessible for all the people with following wide range of guidelines and recommendation for accessibility. It also has option for just text or with images. This site avoid the use columns , tables. It maintains the consistent layout through the website.


Limitations for people with cognitive disability



To design a web page or make accessibility for cognitive disable person is far greater challenge than person with other disabilities.Web accessibility for visually disabled or with mobility disability is quite straitforward. the product which is easy to use does not give the answer to cognitive disability it must be easy for the other user end also.


Web Designers need to evaluate the needs of cognitively disabled people not viewing them as handicapped or plain retarded, but as special people with special needs .Sometimes they found the difficulty with audio sounds which are played in the background of a website and and this noise make them confuse. They also have a problem to enter any information or multiple slides in the main page of the website. A wide variety of assistive technology available for cognitive people.It would be a good idea to navigating the website with the help of assistive technology. Web designers need to design the product which is useful for the people with cognitive disability.For a person with disability internet and computer can prove to be a boon.

Issues for Web Accessibilty for Disabled

Technological Issues : There is a lot of improvement in technology but there is a still need to develop the technology which makes the web accessible for everyone. There a certain limited evidence that the audio description of a cd-rom help children with dyslexia to concentrate Long

Description help the blind people to access but there is no further research on that topic

There are several tools available but they are not fully comprehensive. There are few software's which are designed in order to help the disabled are as follow:-

Accesss Gateway is a software which consist of browser within browser providing more control over websites are displayed. The main purpose of this software to make web easier for the people with print disability such as users with print disability and dyslexia. It also translate web pages to other languages and displayed as image if no encoding supported by the user browser

Another Lens is a software which displays the area of a mouse cursor

Black window enhanced visibility and reduce distractibility of other programs.

Bobby :- It is an accessibility validation tool design to help web page designers to identify and repair errors through which help the person with disabilities.

Click -N-type is a software which turns number pad into a keyboard like cell phone keypad which is really helpful for the people who cannot use keyboard.


These are the few software's which design to help the people with disability which makes somewhat easy for the people but these software's are also not full proof. Solutions to disability. Most of these software's are focused on the people with physical disability and not much have for a people with Cognitive Disability.

Economic Issues and social issues :- The cost of developing these software's is very high. Most of the software developer does not think about the people with disability as their target audience. There is a lack of research going for the people with cognitive disabled. Most of the websites are not designed according to the guidlines . Now its not easy to build that site all again which is already exists make disabled people access. Most of the software developers spending money in new technologies but pay very little attention to people with Disabilty.



Conclusion: Web Accessibility for people with Cognitive Disabilities has generate a huge interest in the web development although there is a lack of research implement on how to proceed. This report has been taken into consideration for the people with cognitive disability to make Web Accessible for them and they can also get the benefit of this technology .

Many people does not consider Cognitive disability as a disability. There are not many efforts done to accommodate this disability. Most of the efforts done to accommodate the visual impairment and colour blindness. People with cognitive disability needs help for almost everything. The web Designers should try to make a design universal which is accessible for everyone and they must think of the people with disabilities .