DEV Community

Chase Reynolds
Chase Reynolds

Posted on • Updated on

Autism and UI/UX

When most people think about accessibility in product design, web design, and other fields, they might think about those with visual disabilities, or those in a wheelchair. However there are many other disabilities and divergencies that might need accommodating. This month, April, is National Autism Awareness Month in the United States. I was interested to learn what autistic people had to say about their accessibility needs.

One main symptom of autism is sensory processing difficulties or differences. This means that autistic people interpret sensory input such as sounds, textures, or visual data differently. In some cases, this sensory input can become overwhelming, leading to fatigue, anxiety, meltdowns or shutdowns. Autistic people and their advocates have written about ways to prevent this reaction through UI/UX design., a British site, wrote that people on the autism spectrum "have difficulty interacting with text-heavy or cluttered web pages, so clearly delineated text areas, simple page design and clear images go a long way. Pop up elements and complicated image overlays are best avoided, while simple navigation and clear page identifiers will help the user feel more comfortable and in control of their web experience." Although these tips are designed to help those with autism, they are also good advice for more general audiences.

One thing I saw repeated in several articles and blog posts about this subject was the important of customization. With accessibility, it is probably impossible to accommodate everyone with one design. That is why responsive design, breakpoints, and buttons to adjust things like text size are so useful.

Top comments (1)

milhod profile image

Thank you for your post ! I am autistic and I agree with all of this. I hate so much pop up windows >o< It creates so much anxiety for nothing. I would add that when animations are everywhere in a page, it's really hard to focus on the content.