iPhones Aren't Just for Fun

Dyslexics face a number of reading challenges, but everyone’s favorite Apple gadget offers some surprising solutions. Howard Hill, a longtime dyslexic, recently read The Count of Monte Cristo on his iPhone, and was surprised by how easy it was. The spacing has something to do with it. “Many dyslexics have problems with ‘crowding,’ where they’re distracted by the words surrounding the word they’re trying to read,” John Stein, professor of neuroscience at Oxford University, told Hill. “When reading text on a small phone, you’re reducing the crowding effect.” [%comments]


So the 'feature' that drives most people nuts when trying to read lengthy articles/books is the same 'feature' that is helpful to some dyslexics. Interesting.

A Dyslexic

He's right. This is so much easier than reading on a big screen. I will have to try an iPad and see if the iPad too big for this effect to work. Note that the text has to be formatted for the small screen. For example Stanza and the New York Times iPhone app work well. Good Reader reading pdf documents formated for 8.5x11 paper is poor at best. I think the latter would be no better for dyslexics than others, and is probably worse because you get a compounding of issue related to dyslexia and the problem of scrolling around to see the whole page.


Possibly this could be used as a diagnostic test. Compare people's reading speed for normal text vs 'iPhone' text. Non-dyslexics would read normal text faster, dyslexics would read it slower (assuming this result is general.) Probably you'd use this as just one element in a battery of tests.


"It's reported when dyslexics use a much cheaper smart phone such as Droid to do the reading," Wynn, an electronics engineer, "they feel much easier."


This was noted a year ago for the Kindle, particularly in that the font size can be adjusted as well as the # words per line and is likely true for any such e-reader.


It's truly amazing to know that, I-phone has made lives of dyslexics easy. Great to know that, all-aged fascination has something in store to help dyslexics shed their inferiority complex and improve a sense of self-esteem.


Doesn't this also suggest a way to print dyslexic-friendly books similar to large-print books for the visually impaired?

greg zurbay

this suggests the possibility of a computer program to

1) FIND an optimal size - presentation mode

2) MODIFY the text in the direction to train the ability to read as close to average level as practicable

3) TEST for maintenance - progress


Scrolling text across the screen, such as a tickertape, would be much more helpful.