06 March 2019

Neurodiversity and the Digital Divide: how our neurological differences shape the way we experience the web

Because neurodiversity can cover such a wide range of individual differences, it’s not easy to specify what that translates to in terms of design standards, for example. If we got ten autistic people in a room and asked them about what makes for a good user experience, we’d probably get ten very different perspectives, just like you would if you asked ten non-autistic people.

But to provide an example: if you’re looking at an ecommerce site where the goal is to make a purchase, there is a lot of whizzbangery going on. There are various banners, links, and buttons moving around. We probably all get a bit irritated by it, but when someone with, say, some cognitive load issues is trying to navigate that experience they may get easily sidetracked. So if the point of a site is to encourage completing a transaction, there may be self-defeating aspects in the design, because the person ends up being too distracted to buy anything.

There is a lot of potential for essential services – such as banking or grocery shopping for example – to provide easier, more accessible and inclusive experiences online.Neurodiversity and the Digital Divide: how our neurological differences shape the way we experience the web