Designing an inclusive website is crucial to ensure equal access for all users, including more than 780 million people with dyslexia worldwide. Dyslexia is a common learning difference that affects reading, writing, and information processing. Fortunately, there are several ways to make your website more dyslexia-friendly, helping users with dyslexia navigate and comprehend content more effectively. In this article, we will explore five strategies for creating a dyslexia-friendly website.
1. Choose a dyslexia-friendly font
The choice of font can significantly impact readability for individuals with dyslexia. Choosing a dyslexia-friendly font can enhance the overall user experience on your website. These fonts are specifically designed to improve letter recognition and readability for dyslexic readers. They typically feature distinct letterforms with enhanced spacing between characters. For example, dyslexia-friendly fonts make it easier for the reader to tell between the lowercase “b” and “d” and the lowercase “q” and “p”.
Some popular dyslexia-friendly fonts include OpenDyslexic, Dyslexie, and Lexie Readable. Comic Sans is also an excellent option as it has high legibility. Using these fonts for your content can significantly reduce reading difficulties and provide a more comfortable experience for dyslexic users.
2. Stick to clear and consistent typography
Apart from choosing a dyslexia-friendly font, maintaining clear and consistent typography throughout your website is essential. Ensuring an appropriate font size and line spacing is crucial to improve readability. Avoid using small or overly condensed fonts, as they can cause strain and difficulty in reading. Use larger font sizes and increase your content’s line spacing to allow for better visual clarity and ease of reading. Additionally, it’s important to avoid using text that is entirely uppercase, as dyslexic individuals may find it more challenging to distinguish between letters in uppercase format. Stick to sentence case or title case to aid readability.
3. Use a high-contrast color scheme
High contrast between text and background is essential for dyslexic users to discern letters and words effectively. Experts recommend dark text on a light background or vice versa, such as black text on an off-white background. At the same time, be careful not to use a very bright background (such as bright white) as it could cause eye strain. You also need to consider the needs of people with color blindness, which means you have to avoid using red text on a green background.
4. Simplify your website’s content structure
Organizing content in a logical and structured manner is beneficial for all users, including those with dyslexia. A cluttered layout or complex navigation can be overwhelming and disorienting for dyslexic individuals. Streamline your website’s structure by using clear headings, subheadings, and bullet points to break down information into easily digestible chunks. You may also provide a table of contents for dyslexic users. This approach not only enhances comprehension but also allows users to navigate the website with ease. It also has the added benefit of allowing web crawlers to index your website more efficiently, making your content more visible on Google searches.
5. Add multimedia and alternative formats
Incorporating multimedia elements, such as images, videos, and audio, can be highly beneficial for dyslexic users. Visual elements and audio cues provide additional context to your content and improve comprehension. You will also need to include descriptive alt text for images and captions for videos to be inclusive to users who have visual impairments. Offering alternative formats, such as downloadable PDFs or audio transcripts for written content, allows users with dyslexia to access information in a manner that accommodates their preferred content consumption style.
Making your website more accessible to users with dyslexia
Designing a dyslexia-friendly website goes beyond making your text more readable. By selecting dyslexia-friendly fonts, maintaining clear typography, ensuring sufficient contrast, simplifying content structure, and incorporating multimedia and alternative formats – you can create an inclusive online experience for users with dyslexia. This helps improve readability, increases your website traffic, and contributes to a better overall user experience for an expanded audience.