Designing user experiences for dyslexia

Torresburriel Estudio
4 min readJun 19, 2024


One of the main focuses a UX designer should keep in mind is creating digital experiences that are understandable, comprehensible, and effective for the user’s goals; in short, they should be accessible.

There is a wide range of considerations regarding the types and varieties of user situations that shape how interfaces should be adapted.

Photo by Aliis Sinisalu on Unsplash.

Against visual fatigue or functional visual diversity, for example, interfaces should include functionalities that help users understand the included texts by incorporating different text sizes or color themes.

Today, we consider what considerations we must have regarding one of the most widespread neurodivergences: dyslexia.

Dyslexia is understood as a neurological condition that affects the decoding of language, specifically the identification of speech sounds and their relationship with spelling and word construction (decoding and application). While this produces a series of difficulties when reading, there are certain common symptoms that we must take into account: problems concentrating or maintaining attention, poor short-term memory, slow and difficult reading, complications in understanding text, common spelling mistakes… A common condition in people with dyslexia is dyscalculia, a divergence that causes difficulties in understanding, learning, and performing numerical or mathematical operations.

According to the WHO, the total index of people with dyslexia is between 10 and 20% globally: around 700 million children and adults worldwide are at risk of social and literacy exclusion due to this condition.

Therefore, in the creation of digital interfaces, we must follow a careful, clean, and comprehensible design. While each user has different preferences and experiences regarding how to counteract or cope with dyslexia, there are certain general considerations that tend to aid and facilitate reading.

Design tips for people with dyslexia

Text comprises 80% of a digital interface, as it indicates content, calls to action, and the context behind a specific purpose.

The selection of typography is therefore vital for accessibility focused on dyslexia: fonts with thick lines in parts of the letters or partial slanting of the texts are generally more suitable for accessibility than fonts without these features. While serif fonts exist in digital formats, they are not considered optimal for screens or interfaces (as they are for physical formats), since the characteristics of serifs can distract or cause users to lose focus.

Many fonts are recommended for their better readability and accessibility, such as Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma, and Roboto, among others. Additionally, there are various custom fonts optimized for reading by people with dyslexia, such as OpenDyslexic and Atkinson Hyperlegible.

Typography is not the only consideration when creating text: the text size must be large enough to be readable and adapt to the different resolutions users may have. Regardless, the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) indicates that for optimal reading, the text should be at least 16 px or 12 points in size.

Whenever possible, complex and technical language should be avoided; opting for simple and familiar language helps it to be understood by more people.

This also affects the contrast of the text with the background. Depending on the amount of text and content, it is preferable to use dark text on a light background, always standing out from the background.

Furthermore, structuring and organizing text through paragraphs, lists, titles, and subtitles helps make content more understandable by being more orderly.

Finally, text justification should be avoided, as it can create the phenomenon known as “rivers of text,” which makes focusing and reading difficult. Left-aligned paragraphs, with sentences no longer than 12 to 15 words per line, are ideal for accessible reading, and with sufficient line spacing. This should always be 14 points, or 1.5 times the font size, to avoid crowding by providing more white space to separate rows and better differentiate them.

Additionally, incorporating visual resources or combining text and images is prevalent in many aspects and corners of our interfaces: a visual aid accompanying a message helps in understanding what is being read and provides more information in less time, making the use of icons or images accompanying texts or actions users can take crucial.

It’s important to remember that, as mentioned earlier, dyslexia affects a large part of the world in an increasingly digital environment, but one that also risks exclusion.

By following these guidelines, as well as promoting a clean and simple design without unnecessary cognitive loads and using familiar language, we will gradually reduce this social threat affecting so many neurodivergent people.



Torresburriel Estudio

User Experience & User Research agency focused on services and digital products. Proud member of @UXalliance