Cognitive Accessibility Guidelines and Standards Research

More than 200 million people around the world, approximately 3% of the global population, has an intellectual disability, according to conservative estimates. That number is projected to increase to around 300 million by 2050, acording to World Health Organization data.

It is essential to the economy and society that people with intellectual, and cognitive, disabilities stay as active as possible, and participate in society for as long as possible.

The current state of standard web-based applications and other digital interfaces means that even people with only a mild cognitive decline may find them impossible to use. That means more and more people are dependent on caregivers for things that they should be able to do themselves, increasing the crippling cost of care and reducing human dignity.

The Internet and the Web have become the main method people use to:

  • stay connected with the world around them;
  • stay informed and current on news and health information;
  • communicate with friends and family;
  • conduct activities of daily living independently, such as shopping, and;
  • increasingly interact with physical environments via the Internet of Things (smart doorbells, TVs, exercise devices, etc.)

People who cannot use these interfaces will have an increased feeling disability and isolation, as being alienated from society.  This societal isolation and loss of abilities can, in turn, contribute to mental health issues.

Cognitive Accessibility User Research is needed to better address the challenges of using web technologies for people with neurological differences including cognitive disabilities. The research challenge areas of particular importance to this Thematic Session are, but are not limited to:

  • Attention
  • Stress
  • Cognitive load
  • Spatial orientation
  • Executive function
  • Comprehension
  • Literacy
  • Memory
  • Perception
  • Reasoning.

User groups of particular interest to this Thematic Session are, but are not limited to, any of the following disability categories:

  • Aging-Related Cognitive Decline
  • Aphasia
  • ADD/ADHD - Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder
  • Any level of Autism / Asperger’s
  • IDD - Intellectual or Developmental Disability;
  • Dyscalculia / Dyslexia / Dysgraphia

Additional user groups may be submitted with appropriate and related reasoning and concerns. This invitation invites submissions to identify gaps in current technologies, suggest strategies to improve accessibility for these user groups, and develop guidance and techniques for web authors. Some of the “user needs” identified by the World Wide Web Consortium’s Cognitive Accessibility Task Force worth exploring are:

  1. Helping users understand what things are and how to use them;
  2. Helping users find what they need;
  3. Using clear and understandable content and text;
  4. Preventing the user from making mistakes and make it easy to correct mistakes when they do occur;
  5. Helping the user focus and restore context if attention is lost;
  6. Processes not relying on memory;
  7. Providing help and support; and
  8. Adapting and Personalizing.

For more background and details, please download and read


This STS is organised by by Helix Opportunity in collaboration with VMWare:

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Contributions to a STS have to be submitted using the standard submission procedures of ICCHP.
When submitting your contribution please make sure to select the right STS under "Special Thematic Session". Contributions to a STS are evaluated by the Programme Committee of ICCHP and by the chair(s) of the STS. Please get in contact with the STS chairs for discussing your involvement and pre-evaluation of your contribution. Submission Deadline for Contributions to STSs: April 15, 2020