E-mail List Archives

Re: Functional Cognitive Disabilities (2nd Draft)

for

From: Paul R. Bohman
Date: Oct 31, 2006 12:40PM


Thanks for the feedback so far on my original list of functional cognitive
disabilities <http://webaim.org/discussion/mail_message.php?id=9597>;. I've
made some modifications. I think my second draft is more useful than my
first draft, but I'm interested in more feedback. My commentary is after the
list itself:

- MEMORY
(e.g. short term memory loss, and/or other memory deficits)
- ATTENTION
(e.g. difficulty concentrating, focusing, or paying attention; impulse
control deficits; low threshold for cognitive overload, etc.)
- PROBLEM SOLVING & TOLERANCE FOR CHANGE
(e.g. difficulty recovering from errors; difficulty figuring out new
or unexpected situations)
- ABSTRACTION, INFERENCE, & DEDUCTION LOGIC
(e.g. difficulty with non-literal language and/or concepts, including
metaphors, puns, sarcasm, etc.; difficulty discerning implied meaning;
difficulty comprehending logical reasoning; difficulty identifying the main
point of the content)
- CALCULATION LOGIC
(e.g. difficulty with mathematical procedures, operations, logical
sequences, and/or computations)
- SENSORY PERCEPTION & ENCODING
(e.g. deficiencies in the brain's ability to perceive and/or encode
information received through vision and/or hearing, including difficulties
in assimilating or accommodating the information into a person's knowledge
sets, cognitive schema, mental models, etc.)
- TEXT AND LANGUAGE PROCESSING
(e.g. limited vocabulary; the tendency to confuse words and/or
characters [as in some forms of dyslexia]; difficulties in associating words
with their meanings or to understand sentence construction [as in some forms
of aphasia], etc.)
- TASK SEQUENCING
(e.g. difficulty understanding, initiating and/or following multi-step
procedures)
- CONTEXTUAL AWARENESS
(e.g. narrow focus; difficulty understanding or being aware of the
larger context; not understanding that something may be partially or fully
obscured from view and/or not realizing how to reveal hidden objects or
information)
- CONCEPTUAL ORGANIZATION
(e.g. difficulty in recognizing, forming, or discriminating between
mental groupings of ideas, items, facts, etc.)
- INTELLECTUAL CONFIDENCE
(e.g. lack of faith or trust in one's cognitive abilities)


Other potential candidates for the list:

- Motivation
- Emotion
- Transfer (this was in my original list)

I haven't included motivation in the list because I think motivation may be
a separate line of inquiry--definitely related, but not a core component of
the idea behind the word "disability." However, you'll notice that I
included a new item called "intellectual confidence." I suppose you could
argue that this is not necessarily in line with "disability" either, but I
think I see a more direct relationship between one's cognitive
dis/abilities--or one's perceived cognitive dis/abilities--and the resulting
effect on one's confidence in those abilities.

You'll also notice that I combined a few items, such as "sensory perception"
and "encoding". I did this because even though they are separate cognitive
and neurological phenomena, from a web developer's standpoint, the result is
the same.

In case you're wondering how I'm coming up with these categories, I'm
researching ideas from educational psychology, human computer interaction,
web usability theory, web accessibility, and the cognitive sciences, as
broad categories. I'm trying to reverse engineer that information to come up
with my list.

I'll eventually try to categorize existing web accessibility guidelines and
web usability guidelines according to these cognitive disability categories,
with the intent of finding out 1) how well the guidelines map to cognitive
disabilities, and 2) how well the research supports the guidelines (and my
categories) in terms of providing research-based recommendations to web
developers.

--
Paul R. Bohman
Administrative Faculty, College of Education & Human Development
Lead Architect of Web Services, Office of Technology Support
Technology Coordinator, Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities
George Mason University