This website shows you what it’s like to read as a dyslexic

By Kitty Knowles 8 March 2016

This website with jumbled moving words shows you what life can be like for people with dyslexia.

Right now, you might be reading this on your phone waiting in a lunch queue, maybe you’re on your laptop on a tea break. Maybe you’re reading this when you ought to be working… But however and wherever you’re reading this, you probably didn’t give a second thought about how great it was you could take in each and every word with total ease.

One developer has created a code to give you an insight into just how difficult reading can be, in an experience you can try out yourself on Github.

Victor Widell created this website to help non-dyslexic people understand what it’s like to live with dyslexia after a friend told him about her experiences.

You’ll see that the letters of the text appear to swap around on the page, increasing the time it takes to read.

Dyslexia website: An example of how the text moves.
Dyslexia website: An example of how the text moves.

It’s worth noting however, that while Dyslexia is known to affect reading, writing, spelling and speaking, it is a scale and can affect people differently. Not every dyslexic person will experience reading in a way akin to Widell’s code.

Some people commented that the text made it too easy: “Leaving the first and last letter of a word stable makes it too easy. Being dyslexic is hard. Really hard.”

Others were simply grateful to Widell for shining a light on their struggles:

“Thank you for sharing I hope others will see how it feels for us.”

The full unscrambled text on Widell’s website reads: “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.

“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.”

Read more: Children with dyslexia given electric shocks to read faster