This is our next installment on our posts about ways to improve your DIY web design and web development project.

This post focuses on web users with dyslexia and ways that you can make their visiting experience to your site more enjoyable (and memorable).

 

This week, we’re going to chat about something that most web designers will never even think of – building websites that are accessible to everyone. Very little, if any, thought is given to those with visual and hearing impairment. Visual impairment includes things like low vision, colour blindness, and even blindness.

Luckily technology has come a long way in the last few years and blind people can now also surf the web thanks to technology such as screen readers. Mac has a built-in screen reader called VoiceOver, that provides audible assistance to blind and visually impaired users.

Specifically for browsing on the web, users can turn to Google Talkback and Windows Narrator which can be found on Windows 10.

Today however, we specifically focus on web design and website development for people suffering from dyslexia.

USE IMAGES AND DIAGRAMS

Try and use images and diagrams to support text you’re displaying, rather than using blocks of heavy text. Not only does
it look more appealing to engage with, but it makes it more manageable to those with dyslexia.

DON’T EXPECT ACCURATE SPELLING

You shouldn’t demand accurate spellings for certain data, such as when users fill in a form. Components such as autocorrects allow for spelling errors and offer suggestions based on the text that the user
has used in their browser history.

PROVIDE REMINDERS

Rather than forcing users to remember things from previous pages, you can provide reminders or suggestions to alleviate the need to use short-term memory.

CONSIDER OTHER FORMATS

People with dyslexia often find information easier to learn or digest when it is provided in different ways – consider producing materials in other formats such as audio or video to add variety.

ALLOW FOR A CONTRAST CHANGE

Some dyslexic users have trouble reading on certain foreground/ background colour combinations (such as white text on a black background) even though it has a high contrast ratio. Consider offering the ability to change it. This however, will need some coding. The other alternative is to ask people with dyslexia to proof your pages in order to identify problem areas. You can then easily change the contrast ratios – sometimes it is as easy as choosing a different font colour.

Quick facts:

%

The percentage of the population in any given country with some form of dyslexia. According to the University of Michigan (USA), this can be as much as 17%.

“Dyslexia occurs in at least one in 10 people, putting more than 700 million children and adults worldwide at risk of life-long illiteracy and social exclusion.”

Dyslexia International