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Cognitive Accessibility Design Pattern: Make the Purpose of Your Page Clear

User Need

I need to know the context and purpose of the page.

What to Do

Help the user know the purpose of the content. Use:

  • a clear title or heading that summarizes the purpose of a page, or
  • other clear signposts that have been tested by users with cognitive and learning disabilities.

How it Helps

This helps many people, including those with impaired memory and attention as well as anyone who is easily distracted due to age-related forgetfulness and AD(H)D.

For example, someone with mild dementia is using online shopping. They get distracted and then when they look at the screen again they have forgotten what they were doing. A clear heading at the top of each page shows clearly what the page is about and what they are doing.

In another example, a user with AD(H)D is looking for information in a video. They can tell by the video title that this video has the information they need.

More Details

Headings clarify the purpose of this specific page.

When possible, provide information to help users understand how they got to the page. For example: clearly indicating breadcrumbs on main navigation, highlighting currently selected tab, etc.



  1. Page headings that tell the user where they are.


  1. Pages without clear headings or signposts that tell the user where they are. For example:
    • Page headings that do not tell the user where they are, such as a page heading that reads “Service not available”. The user has to remember what the service relates to.
    • Page headings that do not clarify the steps in a form.

User Stories and Personas

User Story



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