Cognitive accessibility of higher education websites

Organizers: Terhi Kärpänen ( & Pia Karasjärvi (

Digital services provide users with opportunities to use various services regardless of place and time. Unfortunately, cognitive accessibility elements such as user-centered design and understandable content, are often either forgotten or neglected, and the growing number of service users with various disabilities may face challenges in either accessing or using digital services. Cognitive challenges can be related to the perception of the purpose of the space, concentration, and orientation difficulties with speech ability and the production of spoken and written language (Leskelä, 2019).

We arrange a workshop on the cognitive accessibility of institutional websites. Co-creation is suggested as one approach to capturing a deeper understanding of user behavior and needs. A co-creation workshop is a collaborative event or process in which diverse stakeholders come together to generate ideas, solve problems, or create solutions collectively (Stickdorn et al. 2018). The workshop will look at the website of the University of Vaasa.  The workshop will center around identifying both the factors that support and hinder cognitively accessible features from the perspectives of users and organizations. The ultimate goal of this workshop is to compile a set of guidelines, or heuristics, for organizational content providers on how to incorporate cognitive accessibility considerations into their design processes.

The workshop organizers are Terhi Kärpänen, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, and Pia Karasjärvi, University of Vaasa. The workshop will take place on site only and it is scheduled to last 3 hours. The workshop will be held in Finnish/English based on the participant’s background.

The workshop organizers invite participants from the University of Vaasa, including content creators and students who are interested in developing the cognitive accessibility of their institution’s website. We also invite cognitive accessibility experts to participate in the workshop. Additionally, any VAKKI Symposium participant who is interested in cognitive accessibility is welcome to take part in the workshop. Please contact Terhi or Pia if you are interested in participating.


Leskelä, L. (2019). Selkokieli. Saavutettavan kielen opas. Kehitysvammaliitto ry. Helsinki

Stickdorn M., Hormess M., Lawrence A. & Schneider J. 2018. This is service design doing. Sebastopol: O’Reilly