This website shows what it's like trying to read when you have dyslexia

The condition can make it difficult to interpret words and letters, often leaving text looking like a jumbled mess

Charles Clark
Monday 07 March 2016 16:24 GMT
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It's difficult for those without dyslexia to imagine what having it must be like
It's difficult for those without dyslexia to imagine what having it must be like (Getty Images)

Dyslexia affects about one in 10 people in the UK, or 10% of the population.

The condition can make it very difficult to properly interpret words, letters, and symbols, and it often leaves text looking like a jumbled mess.

Even though some of the greatest business leaders have the condition — including Richard Branson, who says having dyslexia is his biggest business advantage — it can have a profound effect on the professional and academic performance of those living with it.

It's difficult for those without dyslexia to imagine what having it must be like, but one man has created an animated JavaScript to try to shed some light.

Victor Widell decided to make the simulator after one of his friends who had dyslexia said words appeared to jump around the page.

While the simulation doesn't accurately represent what all of those with the condition see when they try to interpret text, "this is damn close," as one commenter said.

Seeing letters in an incorrect order and letters like p, b, q, and d flipped or reversed is common among people who have the condition. The speed at which the letters jump around can also vary from person to person.

People who commented on the page brought home how difficult life could be for those with dyslexia but also highlighted how levels of severity could vary greatly.

"I think leaving the first and last letter of a word stable makes it too easy. Being dyslexic is hard. Really hard," one person said, while another said: "I have dyslexia and although this is accurate, this is a more extreme case!"


Richard Branson says having dyslexia is his biggest business advantage (Getty)

 Richard Branson says having dyslexia is his biggest business advantage (Getty)
 (Getty Images)

For those of you who struggled to read the jumbled text, here's what it actually said:

A friend who has dyslexia described to me how she experiences reading. She can read, but it takes a lot of concentration, and the letters seem to 'jump around.'

I remembered reading about typoglycemia. Wouldn't it be possible to do it interactively on a website with JavaScript? Sure it would.

Dyslexia is characterized by difficulty with learning to read fluently and with accurate comprehension despite normal intelligence. This includes difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, language skills/verbal comprehension, and/or rapid naming.

Developmental reading disorder (DRD) is the most common learning disability. Dyslexia is the most recognized of reading disorders, however not all reading disorders are linked to dyslexia.

Some see dyslexia as distinct from reading difficulties resulting from other causes, such as a non-neurological deficiency with vision or hearing, or poor or inadequate reading instruction.

There are three proposed cognitive subtypes of dyslexia (auditory, visual and attentional), although individual cases of dyslexia are better explained by specific underlying neuropsychological deficits and co-occurring learning disabilities (e.g. attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, math disability, etc.).

Although it is considered to be a receptive language-based learning disability in the research literature, dyslexia also affects one's expressive language skills. Researchers at MIT found that people with dyslexia exhibited impaired voice-recognition abilities.


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