Cognitive Web Accessibility Assessment: First Attempt, Part 2 of 3

This post is the second part of my first structured attempt to evaluate cognitive Web accessibility.  I am using WebAIM’s Cognitive Web Accessibility Checklist and its WAVE accessibility evaluation toolbar to assess the Web site of Down’s Syndrome Scotland.  For details, see Part 1.

This post covers the checklist sections of:

  • Multi-Modality;
  • Focus and Structure;
  • Readability and Language.


  • Checklist Section: Multi-Modality
    • Guideline: Provide content in multiple mediums
      • I could find no instances of video- or audio alternatives to textual content.
    • Guideline: Use contextually-relevant images to enhance content
      • Many, particularly the header images, are not contextually relevant to pages’ textual content.  There is some contextually-relevant imagery.  Examples: Meet Keith, Titan Abseil.
    • Guideline: Pair icons or graphics with text to provide contextual cues and help with content comprehension
  • Checklist Section: Focus and Structure
    • Guideline: Use white space and visual design elements to focus user attention
      • Picture of Resources Page. Shows disproportionately-large header image.The header images focus user attention to themselves, not to the content of page bodies.  An example (pictured), is the Resources Information page.
    • Guideline: Avoid distractions
      • On assessed pages, the header images pull attention away from page-body content.  The home page has an element of text that is animated in the site’s default / standard view and in its optional views.
    • Guideline: Use stylistic differences to highlight important content, but do so conservatively
      • Important textual content is bold.  It is frequently large and red in color.  One point is recorded.
    • Guideline: Organize content into well-defined groups or chunks, using headings, lists, and other visual mechanisms
      • Pages have short paragraphs.  Headings are used, but incorrectly on some pages.
    • Guideline: Use white space for separation
      • White space is used to separate page elements.
    • Guideline: Avoid background sounds
      • There are no background sounds.
  • Checklist Section: Readability and Language
    • Guideline: Use language that is as simple as is appropriate for the content
      • I am ignoring this guideline. I do not understand how it is different from the one (below): “Maintain a reading level that is adequate for the audience”.
    • Guideline: Avoid tangential, extraneous, or non-relevant information
      • This guideline is met throughout the site.  One point is recorded.
    • Guideline: Use correct grammar and spelling
    • Guideline: Maintain a reading level that is adequate for the audience
    • Guideline: Be careful with colloquialisms, non-literal text, and jargon
      • This guideline is met throughout the site.
    • Guideline: Expand abbreviations and acronyms
    • Guideline: Provide summaries, introductions, or a table of contents for complex or lengthy content
      • This guideline is not applicable.
    • Guideline: Be succinct
      • This guideline is met throughout the site.
    • Guideline: Ensure text readability
      • These criteria meet this guideline: line height; text spacing and justification; sans-serif fonts; adequate text size; content-appropriate fonts; paragraph length; and adequate color contrast.
      • These criteria do not meet this guideline: Line length (exceeds 80 characters); and horizontal scrolling (necessary if text size is increased by 200% to 300%).


Two of three possible points are recorded.  Combined with the points from Part 1, the subtotal is 4 of 5 points.


  • A point is recorded only if a site or a significant part of it consistently follows a guideline.  The Down’s Syndrome Scotland site did not meet this criterion for any of the Multi-Modality guidelines, so no related point is recorded.
  • I assessed Web pages only, not the many linked PDFs.