The Effect of Dyslexia on Searching Visual and Textual Content: Are Icons Really Useful?
Little is known about how dyslexia affects online information seeking. This study addresses the search performance of 21 users with dyslexia and 21 controls in textual versus visual displays. The aim was to investigate whether visual content enhance search performance. Participants were presented with 24 icons and 24 words and asked to locate a target item. Eye-tracking data revealed no differences in performance in visual or textual content in the dyslexia group. There were no significant differences between the user groups on visual tasks. However, users with dyslexia performed significantly slower on textual tasks than controls, mainly due to longer fixation durations. Users in the control group took much less time solving textual tasks than visual tasks. The results indicate that there may be no advantages in replacing textual content with icons for users with dyslexia. However, replacing text with icons may be counterproductive for users without dyslexia.
KeywordsDyslexia Information search Icons Eye-tracking
This project has been financially supported by the Norwegian ExtraFoundation for Health and Rehabilitation through EXTRA funds grant 2011/12/0258. The authors are grateful to the participants for their helpful cooperation and to Dyslexia Norway for assisting with recruiting students.
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