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Cognitive Accessibility Design Pattern: Make it Easy to Find the Most Important Tasks and Features

User Need

I need to find it easy to identify the content that I need, and do not need. Information I need to know and important information stands out, or is the first thing I read and does not get lost in the noise of less important information.

What to Do

Make important tasks and features on the site stand out and easy to find.

This includes:

  • On the home page, calling out key tasks for the web site.
  • Using call out boxes or sections of the home page for these tasks and features.
  • Giving the most important tasks/features visual weight.
  • Placing the tasks/features towards the top of the page so the user does not have to scroll to see them.
  • Placing the tasks/features toward the top of the content so assistive technology finds them quickly.
  • Providing useful headings for each key task or feature.
  • Including key tasks at a top level of the main navigation.

How it Helps

People with impaired executive function, impaired memory, and other cognitive and learning disabilities may have difficulty determining what they can do on a site. By calling out important tasks and features, people can more quickly determine whether the site will meet their needs.

For example, a user goes to a web site to buy tickets. He sees many reviews and other information but cannot see how to buy the tickets. The user leaves the site.

More Details

Make important features and tasks both visually and programmatically prominent. See The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG [[WCAG22]].

Getting started

Start by thinking about what are the key tasks for the user.


  • The most common tasks users want to perform.
  • Tasks that may affect users’ health or well-being.

Usage data can normally identify the most common tasks. Focus groups and surveys are also useful for identifying what users want.



  1. The most important tasks are directly on the main page and in visually distinct boxes. For example, important tasks on a library site might be: searching, signing up for a library card, locating a branch, and reserving a conference room.
  2. The most used features are near the top of the page.


  1. Items that the team wish to promote more prominently placed than the main reason for users coming to the site. For example: A library web site only includes upcoming events on the main page. Users have to click through non obvious links to search for books, signing up for a library card, locating a branch, or reserving a conference room.
  2. Positioning information users are likely to want so they have to scroll, or page down, to find it.

User Stories and Personas

User Story



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