Who? - ELA Hub

Who is digital accessibility important for?

Two young men in an office communicating using sign language.

We think it’s difficult to create accessible eLearning resources if you don’t know which impairments you need to cater for. On this page we give you some examples of the four different types of permanent impairments. We also cover temporary and situational impairments. This is because it’s fundamental to understanding why accessible eLearning really is better for all of your learners.

“Diversity is our world’s greatest asset, and inclusion is our biggest challenge.”
Jutta Trevirarnus

eLaHub video explainer

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
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Asperger’s
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Bi-polar disorder
  • (Second language learners)*

*We’ve included second language learners in this list. This is not in any way meant to undermine these learners, some of whom will be fluent in English. It’s just a reminder that some of our learners will have accessibility requirements because English is not their first language.

2. Temporary impairments

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

As Janet Riccio supporter of #Valuable500 says:

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


  • Visual impairment due to eye laser surgery.
  • Hearing impairment due to a head cold.
  • Motor impairment due to an injured hand or wrist.
  • Cognitive impairment due to flu.

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.


  • Visual impairment – trying to use a tablet or laptop in bright sunshine.
  • Hearing impairment – trying to listen to audio on public transport without headphones.
  • Motor impairment – trying to use a laptop or mobile device while holding a baby.
  • Cognitive impairment – trying to concentrate on an eLearning module in a noisy open plan office.

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