20 Sites Assessed For Cognitive Web Accessibility

This post summarizes the results from my assessments of the Web sites of 20 organizations that serve people with cognitive disabilities. It is my plan to perform 100 such cognitive Web accessibility assessments. The Clear Helper site has detailed information and results.

The assessments have 10 criteria. Seven are based upon WebAIM’s latest Cognitive Web Accessibility Checklist. Three are intended to help evaluate general Web site accessibility.

The following are the assessment criteria and the percentages of the sites that met them. The included links go to pages that provide details and results for the guidelines comprising the assessment criteria.

Content Criteria

Design Criteria

Design-Related Criteria


10 Organizations That Promote Cognitive Web Accessibility

I have created a list of ten organizations that promote Web accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities. Of those in the list, the following are a few I believe have recently engaged in related activities (guidelines publication, Web site creation, conference presentations, training provision, etc.).

Organizations Recently Active


  • If you know of an organization not included in the list of ten, please create a comment that includes the organization’s Web address.
  • I plan to expand the list of promoters to include individuals. That will be the subject of a future blog post.

10 Reasons Against Cognitive Web Accessibility

  1. There is no generally-accepted, functional definition of “cognitive disability”.
  2. There has been little definitive research on creating Web sites for people with cognitive disabilities.
  3. The vast majority of related guidelines are not part of national- or world sets of Web accessibility standards.
  4. Making sites meet national- or world Web accessibility standards, by itself, is a lot of work.
  5. Because the scope of cognitive disabilities is so broad, the entire variety of needs can not be met even if all related guidelines are followed.
  6. Making Web site content accessible and providing alternate forms of content, which are necessary for people with cognitive disabilities, are typically outside the responsibility of designers.
  7. People with cognitive disabilities may also have physical- or sensory disabilities, which complicates efforts to make Web sites accessible to them.
  8. Web accessibility features (such as text-size enlargers and text-to-speech), which could benefit people with cognitive disabilities, may be a burden on other people, such as screen-reader users.
  9. It may be that no Web site can be made accessible to people with significant memory- and attention deficits, which are common characteristics of cognitive disabilities.
  10. Many people with cognitive disabilities, especially those with intellectual disabilities or Alzheimer’s Disease, do not have even basic computer skills.

Am I trying to make Web sites accessible to people with cognitive disabilities anyway? Yes, I am.