April 2nd is designated as World Autism Day, which is a day to increase awareness and celebrate the acceptance of those with autism. Did you know that the latest figures indicate that 1 in 50 children in the United States are now on the autism spectrum? With more and more children receiving a diagnosis, ensuring access becomes increasingly important.
Designing for Cognitive Abilities
Most people often think of physical disabilities when considering web accessibility. But websites also need to be accessible for people of various cognitive abilities as well. We decided to compile some handy resources and tips to help make your digital content more user-friendly for people on the spectrum.
- Designing 'Autism-friendly' websites; principles and guidelines - This is a great post from a few years ago which discusses the needs of those with ASD and contains great tips about content, navigation, and design.
- An interview with Jamie Knight: autism and accessible web design - This is an interview with a young web designer who also has autism. He has some insightful first-person experience about accessible web design.
- Clearhelper.org - Clearhelper.org is a great resource for information about accessibility for those with cognitive disabilities. http://www.clearhelper.org/resources/CWA/Evals/ offers excellent heuristic guidelines for making sure your content is accessible.
- Cognitive/Perceptual Difference And Good Web Design - The LeftBrainRight autism blog offers some good tips for accessible web design. This related post (Accessibility for All) also discusses some of the limitations of current accessibility standards that do not address cognitive abilities.
As you have seen, designing an accessible website goes beyond making sure a site is keyboard navigable, or that videos are captioned. There are other content and design considerations to take into account when creating an accessible website. Share this post with someone who may benefit from this information. Spread the knowledge!