The term "learning disability" encompasses several disorders with a diverse array of signs and symptoms. Because of this, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to make the digital space more inclusive for those with learning disabilities. Luckily, many of the same accessible design principles that benefit individuals with other impairments may also be beneficial for the learning disabled.
The web content Accessible Guidelines (WCAG) outline eight objectives critical to consider when designing for individuals with learning or cognitive disabilities.
Help Users understand what things are and how to use them.
Those who struggle to learn new information often prefer familiar design elements
and terms. Using controls that visually represent their function along with standard terms, symbols, and element locations can make the interface easier for users to learn. Individuals with learning disabilities may also benefit from easy access to help and personalization options.
Help users find what they need.
Sites should make the most important features clear, possess a logical hierarchical menu structure, use an easy to understand page structure, make the important things easy to find, break media into chunks, and offer a search function. These design elements make it easier for users to find things without as much effort.
Use clear and understandable content.
The same writing techniques that make content easier for the general population to understand are also beneficial for those with learning disabilities. Text should use clear words, clear formatting and punctuation, simple tenses, and literal language. Content should also avoid double negatives and nested clauses, remain succinct, use white space effectively, other alternatives for numbers, explain implied information, separate instructions, and include necessary numbers and symbols for word deciphering. Long documents should include summarise and foreground written text should not be observed by the background.
Help users avoid mistakes or correct them.
Mistakes are often unavoidable when using ICTs, but designers should work to minimize the mistakes leaving disabled users are likely to make and provide easy ways to correct them.
To help limit mistakes: Ensure controls and content remain stationary, design forms carefully, use flexible form inputs, notify users of fees upfront, use clear labels and safe. You can also help individuals with learning disabilities recover more quickly from mistakes by enabling users to go back, crafting forms to prevent mistakes, letting users undo form errors without much effort, and eliminating data loss and so-called "time outs."
Help users to maintain focus.
Distractions can be especially problematic for individuals with learning disabilities, so designs should aim to promote focus by limiting interruptions, making critical paths short, avoiding excessive content, and providing information to help users prepare for a task, such as what resources they'll need and how long it will take.
Ensure Processes do not rely on memory.
Processes that require memorization limit for individuals with learning disabilities or cognitive impairments. This is particularly important to keep in mind when designing logins. Those that do not rely on memory, single-step logins, login alternatives with fewer words, and other steps to limit the need for retaining information may provide greater accessibility. Similarly, voice menus should have a clear option to speak to a human, since remembering which numbers to input may be challenging.
Provide help and support
Users both with and without learning disabilities may get stuck and need help. Convenient access to assistance can get them back on track. Effective measures may include offering human guidance, providing alternative content for complex information. Noting the advantages and disadvantages of each of each option, including help or examples for forms and non-standard controls, Making it easy to ask questions or share feedback, assisting with directions, and sending remainders.