W3C Releases Draft “Cognitive Accessibility Roadmap and Gap Analysis”

The World Wide Web Consortium’s Accessible Platform Architectures and Accessibility Guidelines Working Groups have released a First Public Working draft of their Cognitive Accessibility Roadmap and Gap Analysis.” Building upon information presented in the Cognitive Accessibility User Research and Cognitive Accessibility Issue Papers, the draft technical report “explores user needs for people with cognitive or learning disabilities and identifies where additional web content authoring guidance is needed to help authors meet these needs.” Input will inform guidance being added to W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.

The user population discussed in the draft include those with impaired short-term memory, language-related and communication disabilities, dyscalculia, and those who struggle with keeping and regaining focus. The issues and techniques covered in regard to helping these populations to gain better access to the Web and information technologies include flat design (“a popular UI design pattern characterized by clean flat areas of color, clear typography and simply iconography”), web security and privacy, math, distractions, and personalization (“current preferences tend to focus on physical needs […] and not on cognitive needs and preferences that help the user understand the content”).

W3C seeks input on the draft, particularly with regard to the following questions:

  • Are any use cases or user needs missing?
  • Do the gaps identified describe current needs for improvement in guidelines and technologies?
  • Is there a need for further approaches to meet the needs of users with cognitive or learning disabilities?

To comment, file an issue in the W3C WCAG 2.1 GitHub repository or email public-agwg-comments@w3.org before 12 January 2018.