Following on from this question I asked a while ago:

What is the most dyslexia friendly font?

I'd like now to know whether there are any colour combinations (or sets of colour combinations from which users could choose) for text and background that help people with dyslexia to read more easily.

Again, easily would be defined as quick to interpret, as in fast to read and understand and real evidence is prefered.

Dyslexia: colour and contrast

The most important factor affecting people who suffer from dyslexia when it comes to colour is contrast: People who suffer from dyslexia find it difficult to read with high contrast levels, So

While contrast can be provided by black text on a white background this is not so beneficial when considering Dyslexia. Research suggests that pastel backgrounds, increased line-spacing, font choice and paragraph justification all have an effect.

Source: NGfL Accessibility Workshop 2004

The choice of Pastel backgrounds as a mean to accomodate users suffering from Dyslexia is also confirmed by a number of other sources amongst which The British Dyslexia association

Below is an example : Dark blue text on pale cream

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Optimal colors to improve readability for people with dyslexia

A study contributed to the W3C looked specifically at text and background colour combinations with the aim of improving readability for people who suffer from dyslexia. the study focused on:

performance and preferences, among the different color values across people with and without dyslexia

source: Optimal colors to improve readability for people with dyslexia

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In terms of outcome, the study suggests that dyslexic users read faster and more easily when colour pairs have lower contrast levels.

There is also this piece entitled "Designing for Dyslexics" which could prove useful.The soultion discussed also evolves around creating a lower contrast scheme to cater for users suffering from dyslexia.

It would appear that there have been a number of studies done on this topic. Like this one that shows courier had the lowest amount of fixed duration. Meaning it took the test caused test subjects the least amount of difficulty. The article does go on to say that Arial and Veranda will work as well. The article also notes that when using type for a dyslexic reader italics are a no-no.

There is also this site that breaks down the challenges dyslexic users face and step one can take to select a font that compensates. The site is also kind enough to share both free and paid fonts that are designed with dyslexic reader in mind.

There are quite a few other sites that mention a study of dyslexia and type faces, however, they all refer back to the Spanish study of 2013 previously referred to in this answer. This leads me to believe that this study is probably the foremost resource on the matter.

  • good answer, wrong question, I'm asking about font and background colours rather than actual fonts :-) – Toni Leigh Feb 20 '15 at 21:48
  • 1
    Did I mention I was dyslexic? ;) – Johnny UX Feb 20 '15 at 21:59

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