In my previous post about those who suffer with Dyslexia, I briefly covered those things that can render some design work impossible for sufferers to read. I’m going to delve a little deeper into the topic in the hope that I can enlighten you further.
To design for Dyslexia is to optimise readability.
To optimise readability there are several steps to take.
Choose your fonts wisely!
The most important part of any written content is the font you choose to write it in. Your headline should be easy to scan, so keep it short and to the point. A clear Sans Serif font will enable the characters to be easily read by all that come across it.
Think about the size too
It’s not only the font type, it’s the sizing you apply to the font too. Make your type too large and it takes over the screen and almost starts to look more like a background. Go to small and it gets lost and is unreadable.
What about colours and images?
To enable good readability a lot of thought should be paid to the colours and contrast created in both headers and designs. The better the contrast you can create between your text and background the better. Bad colour combinations such as blue on red or white on yellow should definitely be avoided. Also, going the opposite way, having too little contrast makes things very difficult to read.
If you’re placing text on top of an image, think carefully about your choice of image. A busy background image with text placed on top would create a noisy blur to a dyslexic! Keep it simple with a calm background image and, if you really have to overlay text on it, ensure you place it in a plain part of the image.
To a dyslexic, backgrounds aren’t static anyway; they can often seem to be shaking or blurring in and out, so the calmer the better when making image choices.
By increasing the readability level for all, it will in turn, ease reading effort and speed for every reader, not just dyslexics.
When it comes to the actual layout of the design, try not to over complicate things. Keeping layouts simple but eye-catching and not too busy are all simple factors to aid readability. Try and avoid using a background image behind text, as this can clash with the text, especially if this text contains the most important information.
To ensure the essential information isn’t lost or misunderstood, design a layout that houses all of it together, in one section; for example, put things like product details, pricing etc. all together.
But does taking away all the fancy detail mean we all have to design plain boring layouts from now on?
Well no, interest can be created in other ways. Plus, you can’t always please everyone!
The most important thing to remember is to keep it simple and well laid out.
And don’t forget that it’s not just dyslexia sufferers who will benefit. Many people have dyslexia traits or other learning difficulties which cause a number of minor but irritating barriers to reading fluently. You’ll be helping those people too!
Have you any tips on designing for good readabilty? Or have you seen some pretty awful examples that were difficult to read? Send them in, we’d love to see them.