Criteria for cognitive accessibility

This spring, step two in a project that could well be one of the most important things we do will start: to develop testable criteria for cognitive accessibility that can play a role in legislation.

Today's standards for web accessibility, which the European legislation points to, largely cover the needs of people with physical impairments, which means that large target groups are left outside the regulatory framework.

There are recommendations on how to design interfaces so that they work better for people with cognitive impairments, but they have so far not had any real impact.

Since we now have minimum requirements for accessibility in the law, it is unfortunately precisely that level most people are aiming for, says Susanna Laurin, Chhief Research and Innovation Officer at Funka. Therefore, it is particularly important to ensure that the needs of all target groups are covered by the requirements in the legislation.

Together with the National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools, the Swedish Institute for Standards and Stockholm University, Funka completed a pre-study in 2018, which has now resulted in the oportunity to implement the project itself, with funding from the Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova.

Education in focus

Requirements for accessibility from a cognitive perspective are needed in all interfaces, but in this project we will start our efforts focusing on the educational environment. It is natural because the education is digitized and lack of accessibility affects children and young people in particular. In addition, there is great saving potential for society if the tools used in the teaching work for more pupils and students.

In the implementation phase, we will select and test criteria from several aspects. On the one hand, they really need to benefit the target groups, and secondly, they must be testable and reliable enough to be accepted in legislation. Therefore, user testing and technical tests are important components of the project. We have partners from the commercial, public and non-profit sectors to ensure that we get with all relevant perspectives.

When we have developed criteria that meet the requirements we set, we aim to bring them into international standardization. There is currently a great need for criteria for cognitive accessibility so it should not be too difficult to achieve. However, standardization always takes time, because new requirements need to be checked and approved by several agencies before they become reality.

Cognitive criteria and prototypes, opens in new window

Challenge-driven innovation, Swedish Innovation Agency VINNOVA
Consortium: Funka (project manager), Swedish Institute for Standards, National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools, Eskilstuna Skoldatatek, Lingio, Studentlitteratur, Gleerups, Försäkringskassan and IAAP Nordic.
Period: May 2019 - April 2021
Budget: SEK 2.2 million (step 2)

Criteria for cognitive accessibility of digital interfaces (step 1)