Web accessibility for dyslexia is still ambiguous in the W3C guidelines. The characteristics of high-quality solutions as well. One of the main reasons is that dyslexia is still quite unknown. The other important factor is the large spectrum of dyslexia manifestations. Most often one solution doesn’t fit all. So it is quite important to enable users to adjust the text appearance to their own needs.
One of the main W3C guidelines is to simplify content, have highly readable fonts and content formatting. The ability to manipulate that content is highly important. Current solutions designed to cover these guidelines can be quite improved.
Readable Font That Works for Dyslexics
Usually, the most often used font is Open Dyslexic. It does sound quite right, doesn’t it? But once we look a bit beneath the obvious we can find research that questions its effectiveness. It even shows that fonts like Arial or Verdana have a better effect on readability.
Research done during the development of the OmoType font system shows that it has better performance than both Open Dyslexic and Arial. In two separate research kids with dyslexia have read faster, made fewer mistakes, and had to invest less effort to read with it.
ICT-AAC Lab from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing recommended the OmoType as well. The font received several awards for innovation. Research and practice confirm its effectiveness on readability and legibility.
Specifics of Web Accessibility for Dyslexia
Individual adaptation of the text appearance
To start with text should be rather simple and aligned to the left. It should also be in shorter lines as the research shows it can improve reading speed. And the ability for each individual to adjust certain text features is quite important as well.
Avoid Crowded Letters
Good design of the website should take care of this as it helps everyone read easier. But avoiding crowded letters is especially important for people with reading difficulties. Line height and letter spacing manipulation reduce the number of mistakes and improve comprehension.
Web accessibility guidelines give focus to the appropriate contrast of the text and the background. Also, they advise having the ability to adjust the contrast level. Warm shades of background (like peach, orange and yellow) have a positive effect on text readability. This is on screens for dyslexics as well as for everyone else.
Work With Field Experts and Look Into the Latest Research
UX or web designers and developers aren’t dyslexia experts but speech therapists. As web accessibility is not nice to have but means to include everyone in digital life working with experts will contribute to this goal.
During the development of each solution, we have included experts who have specific knowledge in that area. Each solution is carefully tested, in different age groups, and feedback is used to improve them and create better ones. Web accessibility is a sensitive area as it touches a wider audience. It does not help only people with difficulties but improves the experience for everyone.
For Web Accessible To Everyone!