Disablity Type

Under the Equality Act 2010, which replaces the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), a disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a long-term or substantial adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out day to day tasks.

This ranges from people with physical and sensory impairments to people with diabetes, disfigurements, heart disease and epilepsy. Not all of these affect how an individual may access the internet however.

The term "disability" broadly describes impairment in a person's ability to function, caused by changes in various subsystems of the body, or to mental health. The degree of disability may range from mild to moderate, severe, or profound. A person may also have multiple disabilities.

"Types of disability may also be categorized in the following way:"


This includes people with no vision, or some functional vision. For example, screen readers are used by blind people to read web pages, and someone with poor vision may use screen magnification or adjust their browser settings to make reading more comfortable. This group also includes people with colour blindness and those with eyesight problems related to ageing.


This includes people who are completely deaf or have partial hearing in one or both ears and need to use a hearing aid.


This refers to a wide range of people with varying types of physical disabilities. With regards to the web it refers largely to people with upper limb mobility, manual dexterity and co-ordination problems. This can be caused through a disability that an individual is born with or one that develops due to illness such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's or a stroke. People with a broken bone would also temporarily fall into this category.

Nonvisible disabilities

Several chronic disorders, such as diabetes, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease or epilepsy, would be counted as nonvisible disabilities, as opposed to disabilities which are clearly visible, such as those requiring the use of a wheelchair.

Mental health and emotional disabilities

A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological or behavioural pattern generally associated with subjective distress or disability that occurs in an individual, and perceived by the majority of society as being outside of normal development or cultural expectations. The recognition and understanding of mental health conditions has changed over time and across cultures, and there are still variations in the definition, assessment, and classification of mental disorders, although standard guideline criteria are widely accepted.