Multi-Modal Content Delivery

Description of the Technologies

Textual content can be delivered in different modes to help people with cognitive disabilities comprehend it. These modes can include:

Challenges for People with Cognitive Disabilities

Difficulty of text comprehension by people with cognitive disabilities ranges from minimal to significant. They may comprehend most of a web page's textual content, or none of it at all.

Effect of memory impairments

People with cognitive disabilities:

Effect of impaired executive function

People with cognitive disabilities may not:

Some people with cognitive disabilities may not be able to:

Effect of attention-related limitations

People with cognitive disabilities may not focus due to:

Effect of impaired language-related functions

People with cognitive disabilities:

Effect of impaired literacy-related functions

Some people with cognitive disabilities:

Effect of perception-processing limitations

Many people with cognitive disabilities may not:

Effect of reduced knowledge

Some people with cognitive disabilities may not:

Proposed Solutions

Textual content can be provided in a variety of modes / formats. Ideally, people with cognitive disabilities should be able to choose that content is delivered in the mode they comprehend best. (This is an important component of the proposed Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure.)

Text To Speech

Many people with cognitive disabilities, such as Dyslexia, may have the capacity to use a screen reader for text to speech (TTS). However, people with severe cognitive disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, may require simpler TTS delivery. A common one is a TTS widget embedded in a website. Advantages include that there is nothing to download and install; and learning how to use the widget is dramatically simpler than learning how to use a screen reader.


Video should be captioned to aid comprehension, and to aid accessibility for people with hearing issues. It is common for people with cognitive disabilities to have physical disabilities.

Text With Contextually-Relevant Images

User research has shown that text comprehension is significantly enhanced where accompanied by contextually-relevant images. A picture of an object may be easier to recognize than a textual description of it.

Text With Consistent Icons And Graphics

Text accompanied by consistent iconography helps convey meaning, such as by associating discrete textual passages with each other. Similarly, a pie-chart graphic may help convey meaning easier to comprehend than a table of statistics.

Text Replaced Or Augmented By Symbol Sets

Symbol sets are the basis for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), which is effective for many people with cognitive disabilities. Examples include people who are non-verbal and/or have Autism. Ideally, interoperable symbol sets would be used to replace or augment web-based text.

Ease-of-Use Ideas

Text should be written using the following attributes:

The first 2 attributes, especially the clear structures, will help comprehension via text-to-speech.