Monday, December 15, 2008

Easy on the Eye Webpages

My youngest son was recently diagnosed with dyslexia so I’ve been trying to learn more about it in order to better help him. When I ran across an article about Designing Web Pages for Dyslexic Readers I found that the information was great for everybody. Who wouldn’t want their web site to be less tiring on the eyes and so easy to navigate that potential readers would want to spend time there instead of moving on somewhere else in frustration?

To keep this short, I’m just going to sport the highlights here and of course give full credit and the link to the original article at the bottom.

Column width. Use narrow columns, similar to what is here in the blog or in newspapers. If your website has a nice big space, please don’t stretch the text across it. That is very hard on the eyes. Keep the paragraphs and sentences short.

Font. The less loopy scrolls or decorations on the font the better. You’d assume that Times New Roman is great since it is usually the computer’s 'default' font, however it has very little spacing between the letters with decorative serifs. Arial is much more clear and easy to read.

Unjustified text. Though justified text makes nice straight lines on both sides of the column, for the dyslexic reader the odd spaces in between makes it more difficult to follow the text. Also leave a line between paragraphs to break them up.

What? No Italics? I know, I know, writers use italics a lot, however for an easy readable web page, if you want emphasis, go bold instead.

Pictures, pictures, pictures. (See how I stuck the picture in there to break up the text?) Images, charts, cartoons provide immediate information of what a column of text is about so that a reader doesn’t have to scan through all of our writing again to get right back to what he first found interesting.

Navigation. The same principle applies to navigational links. Rather than hide the link within a text column that a reader has to search through to find again, like this link here, make the link stand out and also make sure there is a link back to your home page so a reader won’t feel trapped and simply exit out. LINK HERE

Background color. Text on a white background is very difficult to read for most readers. For a dyslexic reader, the brightness makes the words blur or even seem to move around. If you have to go white, use an off-white version. Better yet, is taking advantage of a background color changer, which allows the reader to change the background to the color they prefer by rolling their mouse over it. The one below isn’t set up to work here, but if you follow the link below, you can play around with theirs (which is offered and encouraged to be freely copied)

All credit goes to the writer of the original article John Bradford with


















joviangeldeb said...

Thanks for the helpful hints. They make alot of sense.

Viola Estrella said...

Thanks for sharing that, Clover. I design my own website (with the help of so this is very useful.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I agree with you totally. On another aspect, my take is that child development during the early stages is extremely important and no parent should ever forget that.

Historical Writer/Editor said...

This is good information. :)