Dyslexia is a spectrum of differences in the way the brain and visual receptors work and not a disability. It has long been known that a non-white background helps prevent a fuzziness leading to confusion with letters (such as b & d and p & q.) But actually, the wrong background can lead to large amounts of text not being absorbed correctly. A large part of Dyslexia is limited working memory, spoken and written text just becomes blah blah blah after a while and not committed to short or long term memory. This is not a binary condition, it varies but with 10% of the population being on the spectrum then it is 10% of the potential website visitors that should be given consideration to. What can we do to help?
- Choose a good background colour, consider a non-white but light background. A cream or light pastel is recommended.
- Choose a larger font and font style as the default. The good news is that it is the same advice as for the visually impaired. And is crucial if you decide to leave your background white.
- Use bold text instead of underlining or italics to help highlight points within the text.
- Do not use block capitals.
- Make sure headings are in a large font, are bold and in lowercase.
- The text should be left justified within columns that are not narrow.
- Space out the content of your pages
- Keep sentences short and punchy within small paragraphs, make them direct and active and not passive.
- Avoid starting sentences at the end of a line.
- Have a good line spacing.
- Use numbering and bullet points instead of long continuous
- Avoid abbreviations
- Add in flow charts, pictograms and other graphics to help emphasise
Seems a lot, but consider this: What works for dyslexic visitors also works for non-dyslexic visitors, but not the other way around. A lot of the above should have already been considered in your design, SEO and accessibility practice. But overall you need to make sure that the information is “absorbed” as this makes your website effective and results in business. The opposite could result in your website being discarded as useful and even negative reviews.