Frequent Words Improve Readability and Short Words Improve Understandability for People with Dyslexia

Abstract : Around 10% of the population has dyslexia, a reading disability that negatively affects a person’s ability to read and comprehend texts. Previous work has studied how to optimize the text layout, but adapting the text content has not received that much attention. In this paper, we present an eye-tracking study that investigates if people with dyslexia would benefit from content simplification. In an experiment with 46 people, 23 with dyslexia and 23 as a control group, we compare texts where words were substituted by shorter/longer and more/less frequent synonyms. Using more frequent words caused the participants with dyslexia to read significantly faster, while the use of shorter words caused them to understand the text better. Amongst the control group, no significant effects were found. These results provide evidence that people with dyslexia may benefit from interactive tools that perform lexical simplification.
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Luz Rello, Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Laura Dempere-Marco, Horacio Saggion. Frequent Words Improve Readability and Short Words Improve Understandability for People with Dyslexia. 14th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (INTERACT), Sep 2013, Cape Town, South Africa. pp.203-219, ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-40498-6_15⟩. ⟨hal-01510517⟩

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