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Cognitive Accessibility Design Pattern: Provide Summary of Long Documents and Media

User Need

I need an easy to understand, short summary for long pieces of content or an option for an Easy to Understand version.

What to Do

Provide a brief summary for a long document and media.

Emphasize any important keywords to help people understand the purpose and content of the document, and determine if it might contain information they need.

Summaries should use common words, short sentences, and be written in an easy to understand style and tense.

How it Helps

Providing an easy to understand summary helps many people to quickly decide if the content is relevant to them and their current goal. A high level outline in a few sentences or bullet points is most effective. Abstracts and executive summaries are usually much longer and more detailed as they are designed to summarize the entire document.

For media, summaries help users with short attention span find the exact file they need and jump to correct content. All media files should have a summary description.

More Details

Provide a text summary that can be understood by people with lower secondary education level reading ability.

In pieces of content with less than 300 words, headings can act as a summary.

Summaries of each segment should include the main points from the content. Users should be able to use the summary to uniquely identify the content and know what it will contain.



  1. Short summaries with bullet points that clearly state the main points.


  1. Long texts, documents, or media without summaries.
  2. Unclear summaries. For example:
    • In multimedia, the segments are summarized as Chapter 1, part 1. Chapter 1, part 2, etc.

User Stories and Personas

User Story



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