Around 10% of the worldwide population has dyslexia, a reading disability that negatively affects a person’s ability to read and comprehend texts. The symptoms are well known, the way to alleviate them are not.
In this talk we first speculate that part of the problem might be caused by a different representation of words or that due to this disability the representation of words becomes different. Second, we show how the presentation of a text impacts people with dyslexia, based on several eye-tracking studies. As a result of them, we propose a set of guidelines that help people with dyslexia to read better. Third, we show that text simplification also helps, but not by simplifying the text, rather by presenting alternative synonyms to complex words if the person demands them. Finally, we present how these research results are used in reading tools.
As there is evidence that dyslexic-related difficulties do not only overlap with the ones of other groups with special needs but also appear among most people with varying degrees, these results improve may text accessibility in general. This is joint work mainly done with Luz Rello as part of her PhD thesis.