Kiandra Insights

Designing for users with dyslexia

Cassie Wallace - Kiandra Head of Software Development
Cassie Wallace
Head of Software Development
November 2, 2022
Cassie Wallace
Head of Software Development
November 2, 2022
Designing for users with dyslexia - a Kiandra series on how develop software with accessible design

Dyslexia is estimated to affect some 10% of the Australian population. Although this may be a conservative estimate as many people are left undiagnosed.

People with dyslexia have trouble matching the letters they see on the page with the sounds those letters and combinations of letters make. And when they have trouble with that step, all the other steps are harder.

Therefore, people with dyslexia typically have trouble reading fluently and often read slowly and make mistakes. This can have an impact on how well they comprehend what they read.

Accessibility for dyslexia

According to the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI): "Cognitive and learning disabilities impact how people process information. For example, they can affect people’s perception, memory, language, attention, problem-solving, and comprehension."

In digital accessibility, dyslexia is often overlooked as the focus tends to be on vision- and hearing-related disabilities. However, learning disorders can also affect online experiences and certainly deserve consideration. We’ve put together a list of what to be aware of when designing for users with dyslexia.

Designing for those with dyslexia:

  • Allow the user to customise their view for their preferences e.g., colours, fonts and text size.
  • Use a sans-serif font as these are easier to read for individuals with dyslexia.
  • Use a larger font size, a minimum of 16 pixels.
  • Reinforce text with icons or visual cues so a reader can scan a page without reading all the text.
  • User dark grey instead of black on a white background as this is easier on the eye.
  • Left justify your text.
  • Have multiple navigation options so there are a variety of ways to get to the same place.
  • Provide a site map (predictably at the bottom of the page) to give all users the chance to see all options and to choose where they want to go next.
  • Make your content clear, and concise and use short sentences and text areas.
  • Provide information in numbered or bulleted lists as these are predictable and easily digestible.
  • Maximum line length should be 80 characters.
  • Avoid italics and underlines and use bold text for emphasis instead.
  • Avoid carousels and rotating text and give users an opportunity to read and digest information at their own pace.
  • If you provide a search bar, ensure that it is equipped to handle misspellings.

We have created an infographic to help illustrate what to be aware of when designing and developing for people with dyslexia: Designing for users with dyslexia

If you are keen to reach more people by making your digital assets more accessible, Contact Us today and we can help you make this happen.

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