So as I mention in my post today about silent meetings, I suffer from dyslexia. I thought it might be helpful to share a few things that help me in my day to day life.
My mind isn’t fantastic at identifying specific letters in a word, it reverts to a kind of pattern matching process. It identifies the shape of the word quicker than it identifies the actual word. This process means fonts that look pretty and have consistencies between letter shapes make life a lot harder for me.
Comic sans makes designers cry themselves to sleep. This is due to the inconsistent letter shapes. These letter shapes help a person with dyslexia identify patterns within words.
I actually don’t use comic sans. However, I recently switched to Comic Code as the font for my IDE and terminal, it’s made a massive difference.
A recent godsend for me was discovering Grammarly, an advanced spell checker that integrates as a plugin for your browser. It has a better understanding of the context and grammar, so it can pick up when I use completely inappropriate words in sentences.
I can only assume that other spell checkers think that I’m attempting some Avant-garde alternative to English grammar when I type. Grammarly typically picks up what I was intending.
Station is a fantastic productivity tool that I use. It’s a wrapper for all your web applications, keeping them all in one place.
However, the significant benefit for me is that it then also allows me to integrate Grammarly to all my applications, so I get that support in Slack, Gmail, Github and other web applications
The Up Key in Slack.
Not be a surprise to most of you, but if you focus on the typing area in Slack and click the up key, you are immediately taken to the edit function for your last message. This allows you to update typos in words after you posted them quickly.
Light Colour Schemes.
Dark mode is the newest trend with user interface design, with even iOS adding dark mode in the most recent version. And I was all for it until someone mentioned to me that they had heard dark mode was more of a challenge for people who have dyslexia.
The British Dyslexic Association also recommends an off-white background with dark text. Therefore, I have recently switched all my applications back to light mode with an off-white background. It’s made a massive difference to me in terms of readability.
A Good Proof Reader!
One thing that took me a long time to realise would help me as a dyslexic was the simple act of just getting someone to read what I had written before it was shared with others.
This has helped me significantly. You can see the difference between the first couple of posts in the blogs, which I bullheadedly refused to get proofread, and the later posts. The later posts are proofed by my fantastic partner, Elena.
Sadly she’s not available for hire. But I would recommend getting someone to check your content before you hit the post button.
If you want a great example of WHY you should get some proofreading help, check my personal twitter feed!