UI/UX Design for Users with Dyslexia
As of the third quarter of 2018, Google Play had 2,100,000 apps and the Apple App Store reached the milestone of 2,000,000 apps. Windows store and Amazon Appstore together had some more than 1,119,000 apps in the same period.
As the number of apps for every platform is continuously growing, the competition gets more and more fierce. Trying to reach out to every potential user, numerous businesses have learned that they are not accessible enough.
To offer their goods, services, and benefits to the broad audience without any limits, brands work on their accessibility. A recent update of Instagram added automatic alternative text that allows visually impaired users to hear the descriptions of the posts using the screen reader. Instagram also implemented a custom alternative text feature that enables users to add a richer description of their photos when posting them. People who have screen readers enabled can hear this description.
Dyslexia is one of the accessibility issues that isn’t often considered by mobile and web app developers. In this post, you will learn why things need to change and how to do it.
Table of Contents
What is Dyslexia and Why It Matters
Dyslexia is not a disease. It is a language-based learning disability that is very often a cause of writing, reading, and spelling difficulties in children and adults. If you haven’t heard of dyslexia before, you will be even more surprised to learn that this health condition is not that rare.
Around 5-10% of the US population has dyslexia according to the stats provided by DyslexiaHelp. Since not every case of dyslexia is diagnosed, some researchers suggest that as many as 17% of the population in the US alone can have this condition.
Children of all intelligence levels can have dyslexia. This condition does not depend on a person’s ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic circumstances and it’s not something you can cure. It is a life-long condition that requires intervention.
With proper help and accessible materials, a person with this condition can succeed academically and in other aspects of life as well. Nonetheless, one needs to consider it when developing a mobile application for the general audience.
Mobile App Design for Dyslexics
Let’s investigate how to create UI/UX design for users with dyslexia.
The app development cost of an accessible app might be higher, as you will need to find a development team with relevant experience or at least capable of implementing the solution. It’s money well spent since you won’t be using a large percentage of potential users. It’s inspiring to observe how modern businesses embrace diversity and work on the accessibility of their services.
Exclusive for Dyslexia
With the help of technology, people with dyslexia can learn to cope with the condition faster. For this reason, there are already numerous software solutions for dyslexics.
If users with dyslexia are the primary target audience of your mobile app or website, take a look at what is already available out there.
Current Top Solutions for Users With Dyslexia
- Teen and Adults Phonics Library – an iOS-compatible application that has easy-to-read novels for children with learning disabilities, including dyslexia.
- Leo – Recorder & Transcription – an iOS-compatible application that transcribes voice to text.
- Reading Machine – an Apple-featured app for children to learn reading.
- Draw Something – an iOS and Android-compatible game that gives you a word to draw. The other players need to guess the word you are drawing.
- Knoword – an individual word game, available for iOS and Android. In this game, users are expected to guess a word based on its definition and the first letter.
Design for Dyslexia: Get It Right
To make UX/UI design accessible for users with visual impairment, you need to do more than merely adjust colors and contrasts. A convenient interface, created for dyslexic people, should have the following features:
- Avoid using high contrast levels. It is often hard for people with dyslexia to read texts with high contrast levels. According to recent studies, pastel backgrounds are a better choice compared to high-contrast colors.
- Take care of the fonts. Fonts like Sans Serif and Open Dyslexic are good options for people with dyslexia. Increase line-spacing and make the paragraphs clearly justified. Use the recommended fonts. Dyslexie font is a revolutionary font that makes reading fun and easy for people with dyslexia. Avoid italics or underlines, use bold instead. Avoid centering the text, left justification works best.
- Keep lines of text short. Studies show that it is best to stick up to 45 characters in a line.
Make navigation flexible. Give users several ways to get to the same destination.
Allow design customization. Let app users set such visual preferences as colors, text magnification, and fonts.
- Support text with icons whenever possible.
- Add images, pictograms, and videos instead of text to make the design more accessible.
- Don’t forget to add captions on video content for visually impaired users.
- Enable auto-fill where possible. Don’t make users remember everything. Instead, enable a Google-like search field that remembers what the user has previously searched for.
- Convert time zones automatically. Allow users to choose the format of time display.
- Keep it simple. Don’t overload screens with distracting graphics and audio noise.
As you can see, UX/UI design for dyslexia is all about decreasing the cognitive load for the user. Accessible design is clear and does not have any distractions.
The Internet is by definition accessible. Since more and more people use smartphones more often than their computers, making your mobile app with accessibility in mind should become your second nature.
You can make your product empathetic and inclusive by taking care of users with dyslexia. As you could see from this post, there is nothing extremely different in the UX/UI design for dyslexics. You might not even notice the changes.
However, your app users will appreciate the effort a lot, and they will be able to enjoy your product and benefit from it more. Users are more loyal to brands that show personal attitude and care about their issues.
Why not set a good example with your next web or mobile application?
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Author: Maria Redka
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