Web Accessibility and Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language processing disorder or a learning difficulty. It is rather a processing and learning difficulty than a disability. Dyslexia can hinder reading, writing, spelling and sometimes even speaking. There are many forms of dyslexia. The only common trait among people with dyslexia is that they read at levels significantly lower than people of their age. A higher number of children with dyslexia also have ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), compared to the rest of the population.

People with dyslexia find difficulty in understanding similar elements such as ‘b’ and ‘d’, ‘was’ and ‘saw’ etc. They will be confused with orientations such as left and right, linearised elements such as alphabet; sequential list. They often have short term memory. They also may have eye-hand coordination difficulties.

Some characteristics of dyslexia are

  • Skill levels lower than individual’s intellect.
  • Inconsistent IQ tests.
  • Language processing difficulties
  • Poor oral reading skills.
  • Poor reading comprehension.
  • Inconsistent listening comprehension.
  • Literal interpretation of language.
  • Auditory perceptual differences
  • Difficulty remembering directions.
  • Poor spelling skills
  • Visual perception differences
  • Poor copying, handwriting.
  • Poor eye-hand co-ordination.
  • Attention/concentration deficits

Famous personalities with dyslexia

Dyslexia is not linked to intelligence. Below are the names of few famous people who have dyslexia.

  • Albert Einstein, Physicist, Scientist
  • Steve Jobs, Founder Apple Inc
  • Steven Spielberg, director
  • Richard Branson, Billionaire and founder of the Virgin Group.
  • Harry Belafonte, Singer
  • Anderson Cooper, Newscaster
  • Stan Wattles, Racecar driver

Accessible Web for Dyslexic:

Here are few tips that make the web content friendly for people with dyslexia.

  • Use a san serif font such as Arial, Comic Sans, Verdana or Sassoon.
  • Use a minimum of 12pt or 14pt font size.
  • Use lower case letters. Avoid unnecessary use of capitals.
  • Avoid using italic, use bold instead.
  • Maintain at least 1.5 line spaces between lines.
  • Avoid using high contrast colors such as light content on black background.
  • Use simple sentences and paragraphs.
  • Do not use complex terms.
  • Avoid using text on images or images as background.
  • Use images to explain certain information wherever possible.
  • Provide simple navigation mechanisms such as sitemap.
  • Use consistent layout throughout the website.

8 Comments to "Web Accessibility and Dyslexia"

  1. November 24, 2014 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this article, Rakesh. Good stuff!

    Anyone wanting reinforcement of your points with some visuals might like to browse my SlideShare deck ‘Barriers to the use of the web by people with dyslexia’ at: http://www.slideshare.net/jonathanhassell/2008-barriers-to-use-of-the-web-by-people-with-dyslexia

  2. Mary Penny's Gravatar Mary Penny
    November 24, 2014 - 2:32 pm | Permalink

    In order to make the above article more accessible could I kindly suggest that you use a san serif font.

  3. Allan Martin's Gravatar Allan Martin
    November 24, 2014 - 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this article. As a Grandfather of a Dyslexic child and a person who can influence some website development, I am glad to get this information. It is one thing to be ADA compliant, but some of your tips go beyond that. Getting the word out is important.

  4. Mister Cane's Gravatar Mister Cane
    December 17, 2014 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    OK how do we address captcha’s on webforms for such a condition? Does the Google checkbox theory help address accessibility for such individuals?

Comments are closed.