Post 80 – How to Make Your Website Dyslexic Friendly

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Did you know that from now until 10th October is Dyslexia Awareness Week? I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia when I was 23 years old and finding this out in my adult life wasn’t a pleasant experience. I felt disheartened and angry at first, I believe an earlier diagnosis would have enabled me to implement and harness my coping strategies in a more effective manner. Unfortunately we can’t dwell on the past and have to look towards a future, so here I am looking towards the future!

Since January 2015, I have been on the Dyslexia Entrepreneurial Business Scheme which is being run by the British Dyslexia Association and Good Story. Working with my awesome Mentor, I am in the process of creating a Marketing and Events business which will enable me to work as a sole trader and I cannot wait to get my business up and running.

I am in the process of building a website, however I want to make it dyslexic-friendly as possible and have been researching this for a couple of months. So let me share with you how to make a website dyslexic friendly:

Don’t use white backgrounds

One thing I have always struggled with as I am sure many dyslexics reading this post will agree with me with is reading text on a white background. I dislike it very much and the words jump around, therefore creating a lack of concentration. When writing I tend to use a dull white background, so that it isn’t too harsh on the eye.

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Bolded text  

It’s always better to use bold text to make something stand out. I am not saying bold all of your text, but just highlighting the key phrases can really help those with dyslexia. I wouldn’t recommend italicising or underlining words and sometimes the words merge together making it more difficult to read.

Capital letters are a big no-no

Capital letters can be very difficult for a dyslexic, when I proofread work it will always take me that bit more time to read it if it is in capitals. My brain doesn’t seem to like the shouty words… so if you didn’t understand this point: DON’T USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!

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Too much text on a line

Reading for long periods of time can affect dyslexic readers, so use good sized fonts and lovely spacing.

We like bullet points

I love nothing more than bullet points, as it helps to understand the key information, but don’t go overboard on bullet points the more you put down the more difficult it can become to read… probably no more than 5 bullet points.

Pretty pictures

I am a visual learner, I learn better through visuals and physically being shown something, often they can help get a point across or provide a memory hook.

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Font size

Small font sizes don’t help, in fact it can make it incredibly difficult to read. Make sure your regular font is no smaller than 12. If you need small print or text then use a smaller font, but at least 12 as a minimum.

Line spacing

I am terrible for confusing, skipping or returning to a previous line. By providing a great line space it will help the dyslexic reader to distinguish which line they should be reading, therefore allowing them to read with ease.

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I’m sure the above points are not just true for dyslexic readers, but for everyone. By making dyslexic friendly materials it will ultimately help you work well with non-dyslexics too!

Want to know how to create a dyslexic friendly website? Click here to view BDA’s Dyslexic Style Guide.

DO YOU think i have missed any points above or have you found this blog post useful? what is your reason for stopping by, i would love to hear from you. tweet me at @MISSELLENJANE OR COMMENT BELOW.

Ellen x

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2 thoughts on “Post 80 – How to Make Your Website Dyslexic Friendly

  1. Tania Jayne says:

    Great post! I was diagnosed when I was 23 too. Your point about not having text on a white background isn’t always the case. I wear precision tinted lenses for my dyslexia (amongst other things). I can’t read anything unless it’s black text on a white background as anything else interferes with the very precise tinting of my glasses. For example, I can barely make out black text on a red background – let alone read it! Thank you for raising awareness of dyslexia, I’m sure it’s going to help a number of people. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

    • Ellenisms says:

      Hi Tania,

      Thanks for getting in touch and telling me your story.

      I was recommended to wear tinted glasses but I couldn’t get use to it, so instead have a coloured sheet placed over the top of my work to read. Cream and peach colours do the trick for me.

      I am going to be doing more dyslexia blog posts over the next coming week, so please do pop back again soon!

      Ellen 🙂 xx

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