Write Your Web Content for Lower Literacy Users
Jacob Nielson, the famous usability expert, recently did an experiment that shows web content designed for lower literacy users helps higher literacy users, too. Apparently 30% of web users are “low-literacy” users; these are people who can read, but who have difficulty doing so. This is not a function of intelligence; many people with dyslexia are highly intelligent.
Nielsen says “The most notable difference between lower- and higher-literacy users is that lower-literacy users can’t understand a text by glancing at it. They must read word for word and often spend considerable time trying to understand multi-syllabic words.”
His article covers the characteristics of low-literacy users, how to improve usability for low literacy users, how large the low-literacy population is, and who should care about low-literacy users.
I found fascinating his study that shows improving usability for low-literacy users significantly helps higher-literacy users as well, at the 5% level of significance.
I recommend his article.