This glossary is a quick guide to terms that may be less familiar, and what each term means in the context of the guidelines.

Descriptions of the four types of impairment are also included below.

  • Assistive technology - a term for a range of equipment, devices, and software and that is used to increase, maintain or improve someone's functional capability. This includes screen readers, braille displays, switch devices, joy-sticks, eye-tracking, scanners, magnifiers and voice control.
  • Cue - an indicator or affordance that informs the user that they can and should interact in a particular way.
  • Dynamic content - content that changes and updates based on user interactions, timing, or other parameters.
  • Embedded media - self-contained external content that is embedded and included within a page or screen, such as a video player or game.
  • Focus - indicates the component of a user interface (UI) currently selected to receive input.
  • Interactive media - content that requires and responds to active participation, such as a game, quiz or widget.
  • Narrative - the editorial story within interactive content, such as games, which does not include incidental noises or control buttons.
  • Platform - the combination of hardware device, operating system and software being used to view content.
  • Screen reader - software, sometimes native to a device, that interprets what is displayed on a screen and re-presents it to the user via text-to-speech, sound icons, or a Braille device; helpful for vision impaired or cognitively impaired users.
  • Switch device - custom control hardware combined with software that interprets input as either keyboard or mouse controls; necessary for users with complex motor impairments.

Cognitive impairment

Any situation that affects how a person mentally perceives, understands or processes information. This could be due to:

  • intoxication or tiredness,
  • headache, migraine, sleep disorder or other illness,
  • injury, substance abuse, concussion, amnesia or other brain damage,
  • neurodiverse conditions such as autism, ADHD and dyslexia,
  • mental health and memory conditions such as anxiety, PTSD or dementia,
  • or learning and developmental delays.

Motor impairment

Any situation that prevents a person from physically interacting freely. This could be due to:

  • holding or carrying something,
  • hands that are too large or small for the input control,
  • illness or injury that restricts movement or reduces muscle control,
  • conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson's, hemiplegia, or cerebral palsy that can affect movement or muscle control,
  • paralysis of limbs or body,
  • or full or partial absence of limbs.

Hearing impairment

Any situation that prevents a person from fully perceiving something audible. This could be due to:

  • other noise or a need to mute the volume,
  • illness or injury that affects hearing,
  • partial hearing loss that requires a hearing aid,
  • reduced or restricted hearing that may be muffled or miss certain frequencies,
  • conditions such as tinnitus where noise is heard though absent from external sound,
  • or deafness where little or nothing is perceived.

Vision impairment

Any situation that prevents a person from fully perceiving something visual. This could be due to:

  • bright light creating glare or reflections on a screen,
  • illness or injury that affects vision,
  • short/long sightedness or other conditions that require spectacles,
  • colour blindness where one or more colours are perceived less or not at all,
  • low vision that cannot be corrected only with spectacles,
  • conditions such as macular degeneration or cataracts where some areas of vision are obscured or blurred,
  • or blindness where little or nothing is perceived.