“Once freed from archaic schooling practices and preconceptions, my mind opened up. Out in the real world, my dyslexia became my massive advantage: it helped me to think creatively and laterally, and see solutions where others saw problems.” - Richard Branson
Between 5-10% of the global population experience dyslexia. That's approximately 700 million people. According to the NHS, dyslexia can be described as a learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading and writing. Unlike a learning disability, intelligence isn't affected by dyslexia. It is a lifelong problem that may present some day-to-day challenges.
There is one surprising point to consider when ensuring your website is accessible for dyslexic people. If you follow the A11Y Project checklist to the letter you'll miss it – I did. If you use the standard axe accessibility testing tools or the WAVE web content accessibility checker they won't alert you to it either. Even if you've ensured your web content is well structured, using readable fonts, ensuring lines of text aren't over 70 characters long, with sufficient colour contrast levels, avoiding green and red/pink colours, you still won't have met this need.
Where your site includes long blocks of text, consider using an alternative to a white (#FFFFFF) background. If possible, use cream or a soft pastel. Where dyslexia is concerned, white can be too dazzling. It can cause words to blur or swirl together.
When checking your site for accessibility, consider the following 2 points:
- Can you use an off-white colour for the background of text blocks?
- Can you use dark grey text in place of black?