Usability & users with mental health issues and disorders

1 Dec 2009 - 2:19pm
6 years ago
3 replies
1025 reads

I'm in the definition phase of a site redesign for a mental health
and addiction association and rehab center. Besides following the W3C
standards in accessibility are there any guidelines or best practices
I should consider for users that suffer from more emotionally charged
or cognitive issues than physical limitations. Maybe there are
considerations for colour, layout, presentation of content etc.


2 Dec 2009 - 6:59pm
Caroline Jarrett


> I don't agree with the sweeping statement that by making it usable
> for people with disabilities you are making it usable for everyone,
> however when it comes to language, perhaps this adage is true.

Why not? What examples do you have where making something more usable for
people with disabilities made it less usable for other people? And which
type of disabilities?

Caroline Jarrett

3 Dec 2009 - 11:28am
Andrew Travers


Although I would suggest that accessibility guidelines have in
practice had a tendency to emphasise visual impairment at the expense
of consideration of cognitive and motor impairments, WCAG does still
remain the best starting point.

William's advice on content is really sensible - what I'd add to
this is that how the design supports the content really matters in
this context too. There are a few resources around on Easy Read
content that are worth getting familiar with, and in particular the
use of simple iconography or photography to help illustrate concepts
discussed in the content, and the importance of front-loading content
(although that's sound advice regardless of ability).

Here's a couple of UK-related links that are decent starting points
on Easy Read:

Ultimately though, allowing for significantly more time than you
might typically do for usability testing, and talking direct to your
target audience as much as possible is probably the most important
thing you can do here.

Hope that helps

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