For Dyslexia Awareness Week, Education Umbrella’s in-house graphic designer explains her process for creating an eBook format that dyslexic readers can use as well as non-dyslexic readers.
After some layout sketching and consideration over the best ways to present text from a book on screen, I felt there needed to be a focus on ease-of-reading, as many eBook experiences across different platforms are just ‘cut and paste’ copies of the physical book. This means the length of lines, fonts and general layout simply aren’t always suitable for reading on a screen. It’s very a different experience from reading physical books, and if done poorly can strain a reader’s eyes and make it difficult to concentrate. With the design of CV Press, our upcoming collection of TECbook-ready classic literature, I knew to avoid these things.
It was also important that people with learning difficulties like dyslexia would be able to read CV Press titles without issue. As a dyslexic person myself, I understand that reading any kind of text can be challenging, so I wanted to ensure the overall design was friendly to dyslexic users in a way that encourages them to keep reading.
After doing some research on fonts to use for the main text, I chose Verdana. I learned that sans serif fonts are better for reading on screens and are also more legible to people with dyslexia. Having the text aligned to the left and justified is also a design choice that dyslexic readers will find helpful. This format means they can focus more on each line and not skip ahead. What’s more, double spacing is beneficial for people with dyslexia, although I have increased the leading to give it more space to comfort non-dyslexic as well.
Extra design elements I added include simple coloured circles to denote the start of chapters, as well as a line across the bottom of each page to help split up the chapters. This is to improve reader engagement by connecting it as a whole and making it less daunting. The orange and blue highlights adds a splash of colour to the core white pages and is more visually appealing as a result. In a similar fashion, the covers for each CV Press title follow the same general style so that each one is recognisable from any size, regardless of the device it is being viewed on.
If you’re a teacher and want tips on how to make reading easier for your dyslexic students, please refer to this list for use in your classroom.