Case Study: ADHD & Dyslexia

Ms. Olsen, Classroom student with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia

Ms. Olsen attends middle school, and particularly likes her literature class. She has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with dyslexia, and the combination leads to substantial difficulty reading. However, with recent accommodations to the curriculum she has become enthusiastic about this class.

Her school recently started to use more online curricula to supplement class textbooks. She was initially worried about the reading load, since she reads slowly. She experimented with text-to-speech software that highlighted the text on the screen and read it aloud at the same time, and found that she was able to read much more easily when she could hear certain sections of it read to her, instead of struggling over every word.

When she goes onto the Web, she finds that some websites are much easier for her to use than others. Some of the web pages have a lot of graphics and illustrations that help her focus in quickly on sections she wants to read. In some cases, though, where the graphics are animated, it is very hard for her to focus and she is constantly distracted by the movement. She set her web browser to freeze or hide animated graphics so that she can focus on the relevant information but that does not always work on every website.

One of the most important things for her has been the level of accessibility of the web based online library catalogues and the general search functions on the Web. Until recently, Ms. Olsen often needed to visit the library and to seek assistance to find the information that she needs. Today, the accessible online library catalogue of the school enables her to find the right information without any assistance.

Her teacher taught a number of different search strategies but sometimes the search options are still quite confusing for her. She finds that websites that provide error corrections and suggest alternative spellings assist her significantly. Also websites that provide multiple navigation mechanisms such as a navigation bar, a search box, a sitemap, or bread-crumb trails, are easier for her to use.

Our question to you is:

  • If Ms. Olsen visits your website, would she be able to use the following: a navigation bar, a search box, a sitemap, or bread-crumb trails?
  • Would she book mark you, for future reference and purchases?
  • Does your website use a navigation bar, a search box, a sitemap, or bread-crumb trails?

Case Study from: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Our Questions from: IceWeb Solutions’ Staff