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Cognitive Accessibility Design Pattern: Break Media into Chunks

User Need

I need to easily navigate to what I want, take breaks and easily jump back a step if I do not follow or get distracted.

What to Do

Provide a logical organization and structure that is easy to navigate.

Divide long pieces of media into segments that are:

  • logical,
  • short,
  • labeled,
  • easy to identify, and
  • easy to reach or jump to.

How it Helps

Using a clear, logical structure, with headings allows users to orient and navigate through the content easily even if they get distracted or lose focus. This is particularly important for people with an attention impairment.

Providing short logical segments help users find and focus on a specific topic. If the user loses concentration they can find their place in the material and start again from the last point that they remember. This is especially important for educational content or instructions.

Chunking media also allows for each segment to be given a unique URI. It can then be easily referenced and shared.

For example:

  • Some videos can be naturally organized into chapters or segments.
  • A podcast can be split into segments rather than a single one-hour recording.

More Details

  • Six minutes or less: Media should typically be divided into segments that are 6 minutes or less in duration.
  • Navigable: Provide navigation to each media segment, and a unique, descriptive label.
  • Logical order: Present the links to media segments in a logical order.
  • Exception: Media that has no logical breaking points, do not need to be subdivided.
Note that if a transcript is available, it should be easy to find and navigate.



  1. Media that is divided into short logical segments. Each section is labeled and easy to get to. For example: A 30-minute video is divided into 5 sections, each with a descriptive link to play from that point onwards.


  1. Media that is not divided into segments. For example: A 30-minute video contains no subdivisions or descriptions of sections. A user has to play it from the beginning or guess starting locations within the video.
  2. Media sections that are not labeled.
  3. Media sections that are not linked to in the summary or table of contents.

User Stories and Personas

User Story



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