Cognitive and learning

in How People with Disabilities Use the Web


Cognitive and learning disabilities is an umbrella term for a large spectrum of differences and disabilities. They may affect the ability to:

Often, only some functions are impaired while other cognitive functions are unaffected. For example, someone with dyslexia may be a fantastic engineer. Sometimes, cognitive and learning disabilities may include intellectual impairments that affect comprehension, alongside written and spoken expression. People may also experience more than one type of cognitive and learning disability. Note that the terminology and definitions used for cognitive and learning disabilities varies between countries.

Computer technologies and the Web provide many opportunities for people with cognitive and learning disabilities to interact with content and to process information in ways that are more usable to them. For example, people can navigate web content using different strategies, access information in text, audio, or other formats, and change the presentation of the content according to their individual needs or preferences.

To use the Web effectively, people with cognitive and learning disabilities often rely on:

People with cognitive and learning disabilities may use different types of web browsing methods or tools to support their particular needs. For example, spell checkers to help when filling in forms, passwords management tools, and text-to-speech with synchronized highlighting of the phrase being read. Some people use tools that resize text and spacing or customize colors to assist reading. Others may require alternative presentation of content, such as additional symbols or simplification. For these methods to work, developers need to make products that support adaptation and personalization.

Examples of cognitive and learning disabilities

Examples of barriers for people with cognitive and learning disabilities

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