Many people do not read easily. This might be because of:
- an impairment or disability,
- poor access to literacy
- because English is not their first language
- stressful or distracting circumstances
- an unfamiliar topic.
That’s a lot of varied reasons.
Perhaps surprisingly, the things we need to do as designers to help are much less varied. Even expert readers prefer to read familiar words, short sentences, and text that is to the point. For an expert reader, easier text is simply quicker. For someone who has difficulty with reading, easier text may be the difference between successful reading or giving up and failing at their task.
More alike than we think
Whitney Quesenbery and I became convinced that we could design websites for different audiences when we researched the topic for the Open University: article: More Alike Than We Think (March, 2006)
This work led on to a project “Design to Read”. A group of us met, discovered that we had a lot in common, and some of us went on to write more about it. Some of the links that follow are to historic posts and articles.
Guidelines for designing for people who don’t read easily
- Design to read: guidelines for people who do not read easily (July, 2010)
- Workshop: Designing for people who do not read easily (October, 2008)
- Framework: a Design to Read framework – audiences and advice (Sept, 2008)
“Design to read” means “design for everyone”
- Government services are for people, not for the government (October, 2016)
- Discussion: design for everyone at the Service Design in Government Conference (May, 2014)
Designing for people with learning disabilities
Usability testing with people who have disabilities
- We need to include people with disabilities in our designs (January 2005)
Using plain language
- We’ll never get this past legal (July, 2003)
- Creating forms that help voters take action (October, 2015)
- Making presentations accessible (October, 2015)