Cognitive disabilities are the most common type of disability.
They can arise as a result of:
- Congenital conditions that a person is born with
- Conditions that develop as we age
- Traumatic brain injury, infection or chemical imbalances
Cognitive disabilities can impact people in a variety of ways:
|Limited comprehension||Autism, Down syndrome|
|Low tolerance for information overload||Anxiety disorder|
|Limited problem-solving and trouble with math||Dyscalculia|
|Short- or long-term memory loss||Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease|
|Difficulty focusing||Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder|
|Inability to speak||Brain damage|
|Seizures||Photosensitivity, motion sensitivity|
Motor or physical
Motor or physical disabilities include the temporary inability to use a body part due to injury or having little or no control of your limbs.
Motor disabilities can impact people in various ways:
|Tremors or limited or no body control||Parkinson’s disease, paralysis, missing limb|
|Muscle weakness or atrophy||Multiple sclerosis|
|Injury||Broken, strained or sprained body part|
|Inability to speak||Accident, birth defect|
Most web content is in a visual or text format, so people with hearing disabilities can access it.
When creating multimedia content, content creators need to consider alternatives such as:
- Transcripts that include audio descriptions (for example, sounds such as applause and music)
Vision disabilities include impairments ranging from mild to full blindness.
These conditions might:
- Affect people from birth
- Develop over time
- Be the result of an accident
People who experience vision impairment may use one or more assistive technologies, including:
- Screen readers
- Voice assistants
Visual disabilities can impact people in a variety of ways:
|Inability to see at all||Blindness|
|Inability to see small text or content that animates||Low vision|
|Inability to see certain colors or distinguish between them||Color blindness|
Content accessibility guidelines
Always include alternative text descriptions and captions for images.
Descriptions and captions:
- Serve as an image replacement for people who cannot see an image
- Help people who use assistive technology access web content
- Help with search engine optimization
Audio and video
For audio and video content, include one or more of these alternatives:
- Optional audio play
Also, give users the ability to pause, stop or hide motion and sound.
When we follow these guidelines, we:
- Improve the user experience for people with visual, hearing or cognitive disabilities
- Follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines with our multimedia
When writing copy:
- Break up text into shorter paragraphs instead of writing a big block of text.
- Use headline styles to help readers understand how we've organized the content.
|H1 page title||
Content accessibility guidelines
Avoid embedding text into a static image.
Embedded text can cause a variety of problems:
|People cannot read the text.||Color contrast between the text and the image can cause problems.|
|Assistive technologies cannot read it.||People who use assistive technologies cannot access the content.|
|We do not meet accessibility requirements.||Type resizing and wrapping cause problems.|
If you must put text over an image
Save the text as a separate item over the image so accessibility devices can access it.
Expandable, or accordion, content is great for screen readers. It gives website visitors clear direction.
When creating a heading:
- Keep the text clear, descriptive and as concise as possible. A page title should be 70 characters or less.
- Write in sentence case.
- Write short lines of copy rather than complete sentences.
- Avoid punctuation.
- Use just one H1 heading on each page, for the title.
- Nest H2 and H3 headings in numerical order.
Images, maps and data visualization
|Use images and icons that enhance the meaning of the content around it.||Unneeded images can confuse website visitors. This is especially true for people who who have a cognitive disability.|
|Make content interactive where possible.||Tableau and ArcGIS are two interactive tools.|
|Choose photographs that include many kinds of people.||
|Avoid using infographics.||
Infographics are challenging for people with
If you must include an infographic, follow these guidelines:
|Make links easy to identify||Make hyperlinked content easy to see. This helps people with who have color blindness or color contrast challenges. Also make sure that regular text does not look like a link.|
|Use clear wording for links||
Use clear, strong terms when you write wording for a link. Website visitors want to know what will happen when they click a certain link.
When pointing a visitor to more information, use the wording "About [topic]."
|Put links below a paragraph||Do not embed important links in paragraphs. This makes the click target smaller and harder to click or tap. Text wrapping can also be a problem on mobile devices.|
|Warn users before linking off site||
Never link visitors off our site without warning, especially in the site navigation. Always link to a page to introduce the off-site content first.
For example, create a page to give a brief overview about utility billing and link from there.
When listing three or more items:
- Use bullet points instead of a long sentence to make content easier to scan.
- Use a numbered list to communicate step-by-step instructions.
- Begin with the most important information and follow with supporting details. List the details in order of importance to the website visitor.
Use a gateway page to preface a PDF or other document content.
This gives site visitors:
- A clear understanding of what the document contains before they open it.
- The option to read the document summary instead of the full version.
- A better user experience by getting rid of broken links to documents.
Use either a hyphen (-) or a pipe (|) in page title tags to separate keywords and phrases. These characters increase usability by making the title more readable. Avoid using commas or underscores in title tags.