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Dyslexia friendly websites, are you thinking of the 10%?

Dyslexia friendly websites, are you thinking of the 10%?

Lately I have been thinking, if 10% (6.68 million) of the UK population are dyslexic why is making a website dyslexia friendly not as important as providing a site in different languages?

Dyslexia awareness has come a long way since I was a child, I remember being told “you’re just a bit stupid” when I struggled in school, as society’s awareness increases,  I can see that those days are far behind us. Dyslexia affects a persons ability to learn, read, and spell, but it’s not related to intelligence, and charities such as http://madebydyslexia.org/, backed by Richard Branson, have done a great job at promoting and changing public perception.

What’s the problem?
One of the most common traits of people with dyslexia is difficulty reading. Dyslexics read at an average of 50 - 150 words per a minute, the average reading speed of a non-dyslexic is 250 words per minute. There are interactive examples, such as Dan Britton’s typeface that let you experience what reading is like for someone with dyslexia. 

Whether you have an Ecommerce site or a wiki, you want everybody to find it easy to read the content you provide.

What can be done? A few simple steps:
 
Fonts
Research from Dyslexia Help has found that there are certain font types that have an impact on reading speeds for people with dyslexia. A font has been specially developed called ‘OpenDyslexic’ to give optimum reading speed. Although this is down to the preference of the user, some of the best fonts for an increase in reading speed are Helvetica, Courier, Arial, Verdana, CMU, Sans Serif, Monospaced, and Roman Font.

Colours
When it comes to colour, contrast is an important factor for a dyslexic. Generally, people with dyslexia find it difficult to read with high contrast levels and read faster when contrast levels are lower. The standard black text on a white background is not beneficial to people with dyslexia as it can appear too dazzling. Off-whites and pastel colours are generally a good alternative to white and offer a lower contrast.

Icons / Pictures
The phrase; ”a picture paints a thousand words” can most definitely be applied to a dyslexia friendly website. Pictures and icons are a dyslexic's best friend, if you can you use an icon in place of text then this can drastically reduce the time that a dyslexic user spends trying to work out what it is on the page.

Time
In school exams dyslexics are given 25% extra time. Therefore it’s good practice to apply the same rule to moving elements on your site, such as carousels, so that they have time to read and process the content.

These are just some small, simple changes - but there is far more that can be done, just check out the British Dyslexia Association for a full style guide.

Resources:
https://cdn.bdadyslexia.org.uk/documents/Advice/style-guide/Dyslexia_Style_Guide_2018-final-1.pdf?mtime=20190409173949

Dan Stephenson
Dan

Created on Thursday July 04 2019 12:05 PM


Tags: website accessibility disability content contentstrategy screenreader webdesign


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