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Cognitive Accessibility Design Pattern: Make It Easy to Find Help and Give Feedback

User Need

I need to get help and give feedback easily from every place where I get stuck.

What to Do

Make it easy for the user to ask for help or report issues at any point in a process. This includes:

  • Easy to Use: Feedback information and forms are simple and clear. (User testing with different user groups is highly recommended.)
  • Easy to Find: Available from any place where the user may get stuck.
  • Using a preferred communication method such as a form, email, chat, or phone support.

The option to provide feedback should never require the user to manage complex menu systems such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) with many different options.

How it Helps

Providing an easy way for users to give feedback will help people be able to share problems, ask for help, make suggestions, and give positive comments. If users cannot give feedback easily, problems will continue to exist without the site owner being aware of the problems. It is essential to allow users to provide feedback from any point in the process so that people do not get lost when trying to explain why they are stuck. Ideas for improvements and positive feedback will also be missed.

For example, a user with a cognitive and learning disability struggles to use an ecommerce site. They have an idea about how to make it much easier to use. They spend an hour trying to give the feedback and then they stop trying. The site continues to lose customers.

More Details

Make sure the feedback option is:

  • simple to use,
  • available in all stages of the process,
  • a process that responds helpfully to any feedback submitted,
  • easy to complete and does not make the user provide unnecessary information, and
  • not reliant on complex menu systems.

Providing multiple methods for gathering feedback is recommended. For example, on a web site, consider providing all 4 options for feedback including live chat, a phone number, a web form, and a feedback email address.

Note that chat bots may not be appropriate for this particular type of feedback other than to start the feedback process. These can be extremely frustrating if you cannot easily get to the area you are trying to reach.



  1. Simple feedback mechanisms that are available on each screen. For example:
    • A banking web site had a major accessibility problem that blocked some customers from paying their bills online. A feedback form was on the page where the customer got stuck. A customer was able to report the problem and a help desk employee reached out to help them complete their bill payment successfully. That help desk employee also reported the accessibility problem to the software team.
  1. Multiple feedback mechanisms such as:
    • Web Chat or Web Call - An option to provide feedback using live chat or a video call. Note: The live chat or video call feature must be fully accessible. Web chat should not be a distraction and easy to close. Check usability with user testing.
    • Phone - A feedback phone number, ideally with a feature to automatically call via Voice user interfaces (VUIs) . Make sure there are no complex voice menus.
    • Web Form - A simple site contact form with no more than 3 required fields.
    • Email - An email link using the “mailto [[mailto]]” protocol with prefilled “to” and “subject” fields. Note that this will not work on all platforms or all mail clients.
    • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) - Provide an automatic option at the end of an IVR to give feedback by pressing a specific digit on the phone.


  1. Complex feedback mechanisms.
  2. A single way to give feedback that not everyone can use.

User Stories and Personas

User Story



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