Accessibility Vocabulary

This list includes key vocabulary related to accessibility.

Accessibility: Accessibility can be defined as the quality of being easily understood or appreciated for a product or a service. In other terms, The measure of a web page’s usability by persons with one or more disabilities.

Disability: A physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities.

Usability: Usability is a measure of how well a specific user in a specific context can use a product/design to achieve a defined goal effectively, efficiently and satisfactorily.

Cognitive Impairment: Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life.

Linguistic Impairment: Linguistic impairment is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic learning processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language.

Sensory Impairment: Sensory Impairment means when our body doesn’t properly sense things and pass this information on to our brain, as it normally should. This can lead to a loss of sensation, which includes our five primary senses – sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing.

Intellectual Disability: Intellectual disabilities means difficulties with learning and understanding new things.

Cognitive Accessibility: Cognitive accessibility means making contents easier to understand. It concerns about making sure every content reaches all types of users including people with disabilities.

Assistive Technology: Assistive technology is any device, software, or equipment that helps people work around challenges so they can learn, communicate, and function better. any device or system that enables a person to perform a task that would otherwise be too difficult to execute, and which facilitates a task being performed.

Modality: Modality is a way of representing information in some physical medium. Thus, a modality is defined by its physical medium and its ways of representation such as vision, speech etc.

Multimodal Interaction: Multimodal interaction makes use of several input and output modalities in interaction with technology. For example, an application might provide both visual (text and graphics) and auditory (speech and audio) output.

Easy Language: A simple, adapted form of language, for those who are not fluent readers.

Accessible Communication: Accessible communication benefits all audiences by making information clear, direct and easy to understand. It takes into consideration the various barriers to accessing information and provides opportunities for feedback.

Intermodal Translation: Translation from one mode of interaction to another. Such as speech to text.

Human-computer Interaction: Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a multidisciplinary field of study focusing on the design of computer technology and, in particular, the interaction between humans (the users) and computers.

User Experience: User experience (UX) design is the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users.

Human-centered Design: Human-centered design (HCD) [also Human-centered design, as used in ISO standards] is an approach to problem solving, commonly used in design and management frameworks that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.

Accessibility Evaluation: Usually associated with web accessibility. Referred to the process of evaluating the accessibility factors of web content. Evaluation helps to ensure that your websites and applications meet accessibility requirements.

Web Accessibility: Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is developed through the W3C process, with a goal of providing a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI): The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) develops standards and support materials to help you understand and implement accessibility.




  1. World Health Organization (WHO)
  2. Interaction Design Foundation
  3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  4. Ontario Council of University Libraries