Uses and potential of EPUB ebooks for dyslexic people
In 2017 Luc Maumet, librarian and consultant in assisting technologies, studied for EDRLab what were the practices of French organizations specialized in dyslexia regarding the use of technology for helping dyslexic readers, and if standard usages and recommandations could be expressed in order to guide the work of EDRLab on open-source developments related to this kind of print disability.
This first report was written in French and is freely available as:
This work was extended to Europe at large in 2018 and early 2019, the goal being to find other sources of experience in this filed, and confirm or modify the conclusions drawn from the French experience.
This second report was written in French and English and is freely available in
One the software front, a first step has been already achieved by adding to Readium CSS, Readium Mobile and Readium Desktop the most important functionalities people expect from a reading system:
- Change the font size
- Choose the font (with specific dyslexia font)
- Change the spacing between characters
- Change the spacing between words
- Change the spacing between lines
Then, the Readium Desktop toolkit and the Thorium Reader application will integrate the next batch of functionalities recommended in these report, between Q4 2019 and Q1 2020:
- Change the background/text color (already partially implemented)
- Allow or prohibit hyphenation
- Flag text (iron on the left)
- Change the size of margins
- Change the number of visible lines
- Activate text to speech, i.e. synthesis voice for continuous / on-demand reading (and implement EPUB 3 media overlays)
In 2020, the EDRLab team will implement in Thorium Reader the last set of features recommended for dyslexic people:
- Apply an alternating frame to distinguish lines
- Highlight punctuation by coloration
- Highlight syllables by coloration
- Display a “reading rule” to follow the text line by line.
A user will be able to select a set of features and save them in named “profiles”, easy to reuse at different times.