Inclusive Design and Web Accessibility for Autism and Cognitive Disabilities

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Makenzie Ashley, Class of 2021


There are 23.2 million individuals in the United States with a Cognitive Disability. Morespecifically, an estimated 5.5 million individuals in the United States are diagnosed with AutismSpectrum Disorder. Current web accessibility standards enforced assist in creating equalopportunities for individuals with most disabilities. However, a large population of individuals with cognitive disabilities are not considered within these guidelines. Technologyisincreasinglyrelied on within the workplace and school environments creating a barrier for individuals withcognition deficits. Web accessibility cannot be accurately described as inclusive unless it isuniversally inclusive of all disabilities, including neurodevelopmental disabilities. Inclusive Design for Autism and Cognition (IDAC), aims to close this gap and create a web experiencethat is accessible to everyone allowing for equal opportunities regardless of cognitive level.This project’s objective was to create web accessibility standards to be adopted andenforced alongside current ADA Section 508 requirements. This was accomplished throughextensive research and identification of common symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Related Cognitive Disorders, and current web accessibility guidelines. The final deliverablesincluded the branding and creation of IDAC. The IDAC Standards for Accessible Designcovered over thirteen topics of User Interface Design which can act as visual stimulants toindividuals with ASD or Related Cognitive Disabilities. Further, a digital and print referenceguidewascreatedalongside promotionalcollateraltoraiseawareness of IDAC’s cause.

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College of Fine Arts