Internet access should be available to everyone, including people with disabilities, who comprise the world’s largest minority group.¹ A staggering 15% of the world’s population has a disability, including learning disabilities, which are invisible and hard to detect.² One in five children in the United States alone has a learning impairment, and they don’t go away with age.³
Numerous groups have proclaimed that digital accessibility is a human right, and it’s the law according to the ADA. But only 3% of the web⁴ is up to par, which is hard to believe considering how many assistive tech tools are available to developers. Below, you’ll see the main examples of learning disabilities. Then, we move on to some great tools and best practices to make your site accessible for people with learning difficulties.
Main Types of Learning Disorders
People with learning disabilities find it challenging to receive, arrange, retain, comprehend, or apply verbal and nonverbal information. Hopefully, a better understanding of these challenges motivates more website owners to increase accessibility.
See the list of learning disabilities below:
- Dyslexia: people with this dyslexia struggle to read because it’s hard to identify speech sounds and their connection to language.
- Dyscalculia: Dyscalculia is also referred to as number dyslexia. People with this condition struggle to understand all math, including the most simple forms.
- Auditory processing disorder: This auditory learning disability makes it challenging to compute sounds and detect the slightest variance between words.
- Dysgraphia: This language based learning disability impacts the ability to write. Symptoms include spelling deficiency, handwriting challenges, and difficulty expressing written ideas.
- Nonverbal learning disorder: Those affected find it hard to comprehend unspoken social actions like body movements and ideas expressed with the face.
- Language processing disorder: Hinders the ability to comprehend anything spoken and communicate ideas.
- Visual perceptual and visual motor deficit: It disrupts the ability to comprehend anything viewable and makes people see their surroundings differently than non-sufferers.
6 Design Tips for People with Common Learning Disabilities
1. Give it The Human Touch
Accessibility is the right thing to do for our fellow humans. Make it part of your entire web development process, from ideation to execution. This helps ensure that your business and website provide an equal playing field for all end users. It’s an intelligent legal decision, a wise business decision, and it’s better for society.
2. Make Your Site Easy to Comprehend and Use
It’s harder for those with learning disabilities to comprehend anything new. So, it’s best to stick with commonly used written terminology and design elements. Case and point: make non-clicked hyperlinks underlined in blue. Make clicked-on hyperlinks purple.
3. Make Your Content Precise and Simple
Try to keep sentences to 20 words and paragraphs to no more than five sentences. Plus, use bold, highly visible images and create videos that are simple to comprehend.
4. Use Effective Information Architecture
Your website’s “look and feel” should be simple for everyone to navigate. Delineate your content with directional imagery, bold headlines to break up the text, and clear design boundaries for each webpage.
5. Be Reachable to People with Disabilities
Let end users know they can contact your staff if they have trouble using or accessing certain website areas. Don’t bury your contact information in your website footer. Instead, make it a bold, visible statement that’s easy for everyone to find.
6. Provide Customization
Many third-party providers offer AI technology for people with disabilities. Partner with the one you trust, and once you integrate this technology, make sure the add-ons and extensions are never disabled. This ensures end users can select the best UX choices for them.
UserWay: How to Accommodate People with Learning Disabilities
UserWay believes the Internet should work for everyone the same way. Learn about specific UserWay tools that accommodate learning disability behavior and all other disabilities. These solutions include AI tools that make it easier for users to read and recognize critical online content.
Common FAQs About Digital Accessibility
Answers to the FAQs below will help you achieve accessibility and compliance for people with learning disabilities and all other disabilities.
What’s The Main Objective of Digital Accessibility?
All people, including those with disabilities, have a right to use the Internet and digital devices the same way everyone else does. Digital accessibility helps everyone obtain and understand online information the same way, whether they have a disability or not.
What Are The Best Guidelines to Follow for Accessibility?
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an excellent place to start. It provides guidance on digitally accommodating people with learning disabilities. Unfortunately, it’s still not included in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), but it offers a solid roadmap for developers.
What’s The Best Way to Test a Site for Digital Accessibility?
Have people with learning disabilities provide you with feedback. There’s no better source to see if your website measures up, from concept to implementation.
³ National Center for Learning Disabilities