Dyslexia is something I struggle with myself, from a very young age I realised that I struggled with reading and writing, and Math. With my application being based upon the Battle Of The Atlantic, there is a lot of information to get across because it was the longest lasting battle during WW2. And compressing the story down, and tranforming it into something that is easily accesable and readable for a Dyslexic is something I really care about, and want to accomplish with my application.
In this post I will show case my research into how I can make this app Dyslexic friendly, and how I will create an application that is easy for a dyslexic to navigate and gain information from, here is the information I have found that I think will allow me to acheave this…
One of the main things that causes confusion for a Dyslexic when reading a chunk of text can be the type faces used. I myself when reading a large chunk of text, usualy find myself getting lost amung the text this is mainly down to the differentiation of the lettering. During my reasearch I came across some key points that highlight the different areas of text that make it hard for Dyslexics to read, and this is something I can relate to myself…
Good Acenders And Decenders Of Lower Case Lettering
Acenders and Decenders are the sections of a font that travel passed the mean line of the font, the acsender goes above and the decenders go below. This plays a great part in the differentiation between the lettering, allowing Dyslexics to recognise and determine between the different letters without muddeling them up when reading a sentence.
Acenders: b, d, f, h, k, l, t
Decenders: g, j, p, q, y
Distinguished Lettering, No Mirrored Image Letters
In most fonts some under case letters are mirrored images of each other, such as: “b,d” and “p,q”. The lettering has to be distinuished, there must be some form of individuality added to the letters that will allow a Dyslexic to determine which letter is which when scanning through a sentence.
Different Forms For Capital I, Lowercase i And The Number 1
Sometimes and not always just for Dyslexics, it can be hard to determine between the capital I the lower case i and the Number 1, this can confuse some one who is reading through the text and have a double take.
Kerning is the spacing between letters, this is very important because sometimes to a dyslexic some letters that are close together take for example “modern” the “rn” can some times come across as an “m” making a Dyslexic mistake the word for “modem”, this creates confusion.
Dyslexics often mistake the letter “a” for an “o”, Dyslexics tend to relate what their reading on screen to off screen, so usually dyslexics prefer some words to have a look as though they have been hand written, like the letter “g” which is easily recognisable incomparison to some other letters, this is all down to familiarity.
Thing To Consider When Using Type For A Dyslexic
It is also a rule to use a Sans-Serif font when writing for a Dyslexic it is much prefered incomparrison to a Serif font. Mainly down to Serif fonts have flicks at the end of each letter which obscures the shapes of lettering for a Dyslexic.
Scipt fonts are Dyslexic friendly in some ways because it is very similair to hand writing and Dyslexics find some familiarity allowing them to recognise the lettering alot easier. But script fonts create the same form of problem that bad Kerning creates, its easy to mistake combinations of letters for something else.
Their are some fonts that take these key points into consideration, and are designed for Dyslexic readers, I looked up some of these fonts and tested some of them myself to see which I found easiest to read. Here are my favorites that I came across…
Dyslexic Friendly Type Faces
Here I will talk about two of my favored type faces designed for people suffering with Dyslexia…
This is a Dyslexic friendly type face, created by Natascha Frensch in 2003. This type face is designed with an individual aproach to the shape of each letter. Like I explained earlier the shape of a letter is a very important ascpect when it comes to Dyslexic people, they can often be mistaken for other letters. Each letter is different from the rest, this allows a Dyslexic to determine instantly which letter is which when reading a sentence without getting mixed up with another.
Another thing is that each letter has been stripped down of any form of details and styling that is unecessary. Each letter works on its own and also works with the previous lettering. Another thing is that the letters with acsenders and decenders have been made longer, this allows for each letter to be recognised in an instant. The letters with openings as well such as the “e,y,u,a” have been made bigger this makes them alot more distinctive, and also allows them to be easily recognisable on black and white.
Lexia readable is based upon the famous Comic Sans type face. Lexia has taken the strong and claritable aspects from the Comic Sans type face, and removed any unecessary styling, keeping the strong font weight which for me isnt very good. Comic Sans works best in very short paragraphs of text, but the font weight for me creates the same problem negative kerning creates, it mixes makes it easier to muddle the words up. Lexia readable also includes the none symetrical “d” and “b” and handwritten forms for the “a” and “g”, making it easier for a Dyslexic to decipher between the letters.
I tested these types faces on myself, and had a much smoother read with Read Regular, I lost myself a few times using Lexia Readable, I would put that down to the heavy ness of the font weight, making it easier for myself to get mixed up.
Something I find that helps is the colour of text, preferably vibrant colours such as: Orange, Red, Green, Yellow. Using a dark background this makes the text stand out, it makes it a lot easier to read. It makes the text more promonent over the background, as though it has been cancelled out by the text allowing for the read to be a lot easier. And this isnt just for Dyslexics it works for everyone.
Icons & Infographics
Icons & Infographic are a good way of getting a message across a lot faster, without having to explain something in a paragraph of text. Infographics are a lot easier for a dyslexic to extract information from this is something a Dyslexic like myself would apreciate.
The information on my application will be accompanied by interactive buttons that will be clear as of what their purpose is on the page, and will give the user the option to watch a video or listen to a sound clip that will go into more detail about the certain subject that has been briefly described in the paragraph.
Infographics are a nice way of breaking up content, it gives the user a break from reading and for a Dyslexic its a breath of fresh air. You can create an infographic to explain something a lot faster creating something a lot more visual, and colourfull but informative. Take this for example…