Who? - eLaHub

Who is digital accessibility important for?

A common misconception about accessibility is that it primarily caters for people with visual impairments. Yet there are whole range of disabilities and impairments to be aware of. This page gives some examples of the four different categories of disability which are generally used for digital accessibility. As well as permanent disabilities we also include some examples of temporary and situational impairments which also benefit from accessibility.

Two young men in an office communicating using sign language.

“Disability is the only minority any of us can find ourselves part of, at any point in our lives.”
Janet Riccio

1. Permanent impairments

Visual impairment examples

  • Blindness
  • Colour blindness
  • Glaucoma
  • Albinism

Hearing impairment examples

  • Deafness
  • Hearing loss
  • Acoustic trauma
  • Auditory processing disorder

Motor impairment examples

  • Loss or damage of limbs
  • Arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Tremors
  • Repetitive Strain Injury
  • Parkinson’s

Cognitive difference examples

  • Dyslexia
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Seizures
  • Vestibular disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Bi-polar disorder

2. Temporary impairments

Temporary impairments are any impairments which last for less than 12 months. They are circumstances or situations which could happen to any one of us, at any time. e.g.

  • Visual impairment due to eye surgery
  • Hearing impairment due to a head cold
  • Motor impairment due to an injured hand or wrist
  • Cognitive impairment due to long COVID

3. Situational impairments

Situational impairments are also known as environmental impairments because they happen as the result of the situation we are in. Just like temporary impairments, they could happen to any one of us, at any time. e.g.


  • Visual impairment due to using a tablet or laptop in bright sunshine
  • Hearing impairment due to watching a training video on public transport without headphones
  • Motor impairment due to using a laptop or mobile device and holding a takeaway coffee
  • Cognitive impairment due to trying to concentrate on an eLearning module in a noisy and stressful home working environment
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