I'm a Swedish student studying computer science and technology at Lund University. We have recently started a course called Netability. My group has chosen to make a homepage about our education program. The main problem is how should a homepage be created so that people with dyslexia will get the most out of the page?
Sites that are designed to be easy for dyslexics are also easy for others to use and navigate. Market research shows that most people find it harder to read on a computer screen than from printed sources, so many non-dyslexic people will appreciate the dyslexic-friendly format.
You have a lot of great information on this website. Unfortunately, my dyslexic husband has a hard time reading so much. He can better read material that is ALL CAPITALS or in a simple font such as Helvetica and that has more spacing between the lines of text. Perhaps you could develop some basic information that is set in a format better accessible to dyslexics?
Many dyslexics have difficulty with certain fonts or with small print; others would prefer to have a colored background to reduce contrast.
Unfortunately, the preferences of dyslexic people vary considerably. For example, it is unusual for someone to be better at reading all capitals. Generally, this makes text much harder to read, both for non-dyslexics and dyslexics. Also, some dyslexic people are tremendously confused by sans-serif fonts, which make it difficult to distinguish a capital "I" from the lower-case 'l' for example.
If you use Firefox, you can also choose alternate style sheets designed for easy readability. To find these, choose the menu option under "View" for "Page Style".
Another problem is that colors do not render consistently from one computer monitor to the next. Thus, the choice of any color background could cause readability problems to some users. Our default setting on most pages is for the main text to be displayed against a white background. However, you can easily choose another background color, again either by selecting a different color scheme on our customization page or through resetting the preferences on your browser.
We also do not use background images or patterns, flashing text, or animated graphics. All of these can make reading more difficult
We have also tried to make our pages readable in text only format, and compatible with speech-synthesizing software. For that reason, we avoid capitalizing words or phrases. Many speech-syntesizer programs will read a capitalized word letter-by-letter. You will notice that there is a "Text Only" link in the upper left hand corner of each page. The font and color for the text-only display can also be controlled, although the options are somewhat more limited.
There are some areas of our web site that are interactive and driven by specific software programs, such as our FAQs or our on-line shopping area, or results returned from database searches. The pages are not user customizable because the software that drives those sections does not allow those options; however, we have done our best to ensure that those are also readable.