Anne uses her computer almost solely for e-mail and finding information. This is typical of many people, even those without intellectual disabilities. Perhaps unlike them, Anne has significant difficulty with content she receives and finds.
Anne understands e-mail messages from people who know her. She has been using basic functions of e-mail for years, but still gets confused with them because she is distracted by spam. It is especially difficult for her to differentiate it from legitimate messages and to determine its intent.
Anne has been using Google to learn about medications, and to look up definitions of words within their descriptions. This indicates finding such information is simple enough for her, but the content she finds is not.
It is bad enough that Web content is not written in plain language. Worse is e-mail content designed to deceive. Content comprehension problems put Anne at a significant disadvantage despite her facility with e-mail and Google.
I do not know how anti-spam efforts could be particularly helpful for people with cognitive disabilities. I do know that designing simple Web content is a much easier proposition.
- Readers may be interested in “The Challenges of People with Cognitive Disabilities Using the Internet“, a recent article by Even Grounds. (No endorsement of Even Grounds is intended or implied.)
- Anne is a person about whom I have previously written.