Establishing design best practices for users with cognitive and learning difficulties
In many respects, cognitive difficulties and learning impairments are the poor relation of Universal Access (UA) research. Research into emotional impairments is even less common. A simple review of almost any general UA or Assistive Technology conference proceedings will typically show a strong bias towards sensory (vision and hearing) impairment, with a strong minority addressing motor impairment issues. This is an improvement on the situation a few years ago where the vast majority of the papers would be based solely on blindness, despite that particularly impairment constituting only 14% of people with a vision impairment and 2% of the overall prevalence of functional impairment in the general population . This paper discusses the reasons why such a disparity exists and summarises the outcome of an International Symposium, hosted by the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center, to establish the state-of-the-art in research and best practices for supporting access for users with cognitive difficulties and learning impairments.