Designing for Dyslexia (Part 1)

There are fifty-two cards in a standard deck of cards, and we are tasked with putting them in order, whatever that might mean to us. We might choose to simply place the cards into two piles: blacks and reds, and leave it at that. Alternatively, we could separate these two piles into two further piles: hearts and diamonds for the red cards, and spades and clubs for the black cards. Adding another layer of complexity, it is possible to arrange each of these four piles into numerical order from ace to king. If this deck of cards were handed to a random person, the expectation is that the user would be able to find a particular card. If, for example, the person were tasked with finding the ace of spades, he or she would most likely flip through the cards, recognize the pattern, and extract the card with ease. This is an understandable expectation, but it relies on the assumption that the searcher’s cognition is the same as that of the card’s arranger. What might occur if the person were unable to recognize the pattern? What might occur if they were able to recognize the pattern, but it took additional time to find a particular card? Dyslexics worldwide face this very challenge. The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity estimates that 20% of the population is dyslexic, yet designers are generally ill equipped to create designs that are accessible for dyslexic users. In this article, we’ll take a look at the study I created and what I learned about dyslexia. Then, in part two, we’ll review the five universal...

Web 2.0, Web 3.0, and the Internet of Things

The internet has become an integrated, seamless, and often invisible part of our everyday lives. Some see this connection as a way to a brighter future, while others have trepidations. The only thing that seems certain is that the Internet is changing rapidly, the laws surrounding the Internet are changing even faster, and it’s all we can do to try and keep up. Changes in style, design, and interactions across the web have big implications for users, but even bigger implications for us as creators. While we often highlight the importance of connecting our design to the big picture goal, it’s less often that we consider the much bigger picture: the World Wide Web. Knowing where web technology is now and where it might be going informs the quality of our daily work. How can we create optimal user experiences if we don’t at least have a basic knowledge of what the technology is capable of? It’s akin to trying to build a house without knowing what houses looked like in the past, or what materials might exist on a future project. So let’s explore the web—from the 1990s to today, and onward into the future. The world of the web The web was originally a tool used for military, scientific, and academic purposes, but since the early 1990s, it has become a huge part of our everyday lives. As technology has progressed and as more people have begun using the Internet, the web has has gone through (and continues to go through) dominant shifts, specifically Web 2.0, Web 3.0, and the Internet of Things. As the Cretaceous, Jurassic,...

An Interview with the Future

Flying cars, phones that fit in a pocket, robot vacuums… it’s clear we live in the future. Perhaps more futuristic than any other technology is the web, and the many quickly evolving sites and applications that connect us to infinite information and to one another. This is the future that Matt Griffin is exploring in his new documentary, “What Comes Next is the Future.” Peering into the future is a task most often attempted by psychics and fortune tellers. Yet the clues to what comes next are all around us: in the decisions we make, and in the technology we build. This is what Matt Griffin, founder of Bearded, is relying on to tell the story of the web, and the “titanic shift in the web landscape that mobile devices have initiated.” In order to tell this story, Matt’s calling on us — the people who make the web. He’s interviewed designers, strategists and developers who have impacted the creation of the web as we know it over the past 25 years to tell their stories. We recently had the opportunity to ask Matt about his story — why he’s making this documentary, and how it’s going to impact us as user experience professionals. We’re excited to share with you all that he had to say about the past, present, and future of the mobile web. In What Comes Next is the Future, you interview dozens of people who have impacted web design over the years. What attributes did you consider as you selected contributors? We’re in the midst of big, important changes. The explosion of web- and internet-connected...