Huh, I always thought people saw letters in wrong places never that they would be moving around…
I think this isn’t the best simulation – at least not for my experience w/ dyslexia. It’s not so much that letters jump around (especially not that fast. I’ve seen them flip/slide around in words, but usually less noticably, which is part of what makes it so frustrating). For me, it’s that I’ll glance at a word like ‘dope’ and see ‘pope’ or ‘pode’. I also tend to see ‘chunks’ of letters – especially ligatures – move and ‘slide’ around a word, occasionally making for unpronouncable mess that makes me do a double-take.
So “unpronouncable” might look like “unropnoucanbel” The first time, and then “unpronuncoable” the second take, and so on until my brain figures out what it ‘should’ be.
This site is interesting, and perhaps I’m not ‘mainstream’ in my experience w/ dyslexia, but I think it’s overselling exactly what it feels like. It’s less that the page is ‘active’, more that everything I read I can’t trust. I have to make sure that I read everything a couple times, especially texts or emails, to ensure that I am receiving the communication as intended. I find also that I’m generally better at reading on screens then on paper; I hypothesize it might be related to the fact that one is actively lit (screens) and the other passive; but it’s just conjecture. Still, the site is worthwhile because it helps represent a version of the frustration one feels when what you read isn’t reliable. Slogging through books and trying to comprehend them and internalize what they say is very hard, when you feel like letters are constantly lying to you.
Thanks for this. I was really hoping somebody would chime in with a firsthand description.
I remember hearing somewhere that the widely hated Comic Sans can actually be easier to read for some people with dyslexia. Do you have that experience?
I’ve not found font to be too much of a readability gain/loss unless the font is deliberately designed for one or the other. But then again, YMMV – I know my Uncle (who is somewhat more severely dyslexic than me) prefers certain fonts, but that may be for any number of reasons.
I can say that low-contrast layouts tend to be ‘worse’, Fully-justified-and-full-width-all-caps is nightmarish (it’s basically just a wordsearch for me at that point), and that bigger text is better than smaller (though I suspect it’s just less-information-on-screen that helps). One thing this site doesn’t capture well is inter-word swaps and slides. For instance, re-reading this post, I have to double-take on the last sentence of the previous paragraph. “severely dyslexic” in particular is kind’ve being a persistent jumbled mess. I actually cut-pasted it to my wife to make sure it sounded right just a moment ago.
Again, we’re sample-size of 1 here, but I think my case is relatively typical for the ‘mild dyslexia’ cadre. I definitely know some folks who may benefit from tailored fonts, I’ve read using the ‘dyslexie’ font before and thought it was maybe marginally better? It’s hard to science yourself, basically.
I will say – one font I do have trouble with regularly is road signs (specifically highway signs), GPS is a godsend, I don’t think I could get anywhere without it. I think it’s the all-caps that does it. It feels like many more capital letters are symmetrical, and I think that might have something that tweaks my brain the wrong way. It’s a little tough because I can’t get an objective sense of how it ‘should’ look, so I have no good point of reference for what is driving my dyslexia to go nuts on some words and leave me alone on others.
The evidence to support this always seems thin on the ground, but Urban Myths & Comic Sans give a good overview.