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Dsxyliea (geon.github.io)
1356 points by geon on Mar 3, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 200 comments



This reminds me of the meme that went around a few years ago (dear god, 2003!?), claiming that Cambridge researchers showed that you had no trouble reading scrambled word text:

  "Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe."
Of course, it later circulated that you could absolutely make hard-to-read scrambled text, it really depended what words and how scrambled.

Anyhow, because the Internet is magic, an actual researcher from Cambridge has since posted a more thorough examination of the phenomenon, with counter-examples and proper citation:

http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/people/matt.davis/cmabridge/


I would guess part of the reason why native speakers (and probably fluent speakers) can read that text is because of linguistics probability (Bayesian probability). Humans seem to use probability of phrases to fill in blanks in speech/reading.

For example, if you see/hear the phrase "I am" there is a pretty high chance that the next word is one of the following: an adjective, the person's name, a/an or here because of syntax. Or if someone says "would you like a cup of", you can guess that the next word is likely some sort of liquid because that is what goes in a cup. Similarly, you can sometimes finish other people's sentences because of probability.

The word scrambling breaks down, as mentioned in the link, with ambiguous words where changing the order makes it look like another word and unfamiliar words.


I don't know why most people can read scrambled words. I have no proof to what I am going to propose.

I had a horrid time learning how to read. I had a worse time learning how to spell.

It all changed around the end of 3rd grade. What changed! I just memorized what the words looked like visually. You could misspell a word/words, and it didn't matter. I was looking at what a word looked like visually. Even now, I have no problem understands typos/misspelling, and never see the need to correct someone.

I have a feeling there are many people out there who are reading like myself. I don't know, just have a feeling. I do transpose letters in in writing, but I don't think I'm I have dyslexia.

Once I realized my process of reading, I caught up to the other kids. I say my process. It's probably everyone's process. I really don't know. All I know is the way I was taught to read was useless. I was never taught how to memorize, other than route repetition. Route repetition didn't work for myself. Even today I know what 8 X 8 is by visualizing the 64.

It looks like most of you breezed through high school, and college. So you don't need to know what helped me.

What helped me in learning was visualizing. In college, I took notes once. I tried to make each page look visually different. I usually drew doodles, or detailed drawings all over the pages. For instance, when I needed to memoririze all the parts of the Femur bone, I drew the bone on the page and labeled all the areas I needed to know. Even years later, I can bring up that page in my head. And no, I don't have a idetic memory. It's just the way I got through school.

I definetly had a learning problem. The specialists at the time offered no help.

I got off topic, but if you have, or know of a kid who's not keeping up in school, pass on this visualization method. It's simple. You don't need to pay for a course. It's easy concept.

(By the way, I'm still not a natural reader. I'm not the guy who can just pick up a book(fiction), and zip through it. I find myself losing my place on the page. I sometimes need to put my finger on the line I'm reading. My mind starts to wander. Although, if the author is a skilled writer, like Nabrakov; I have no problem getting through the book?

I don't have this problem when reading most non-fiction? It could be I just don't like a lot of fiction?)


°°°[ This sounds much like an ancient method for politicians and other public speakers to remember their speeches in the days before paper and literacy were so common - they would visualize their speech as a house, and every topic is another room. Giving their speech was as simple as waking thru all the rooms in the house they imagined. ]°°°

>>>[ Do words of different colors help you visualize the differences? Like how some IDEs highlight a languages keywords or italicize comments? ]<<<

===[ Also, have a visual reminder of this comment. ]===


Actually, this has a name in neuro-psychology: Method of loci https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci

It's actually fairly ancient, and unfortunately not studied enough.


Except.. it is! By a fairly 'ancient' group of men: "I want to make clear to you is that such memory training techniques are not new. Whether used by actors, students, public speakers or Freemasons, some techniques go back to antiquity. Before the invention of printing, when manuscripts had to be copied by hand, writing materials were scarce and expensive, and many could not read and write, a trained memory was a valuable asset. Thus, ancient orators, aided by teachers of rhetoric, taught techniques enabling orators, politicians, priests, and others to memorize large amounts of material in great detail."

http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/memory-freemasonry.htm...


It is in fact studied, and I admit my "not studied enough" remark is indeed, wrong. There were about 150 papers citing method of loci since 2015: https://scholar.google.fr/scholar?as_ylo=2015&q=%22method+of...


Interesting. AFAIK, your self-discovered process of memorizing "word images" is exactly what is recommended as a help for teaching dyslexics. Eg: I've heard it described as holding up a word at a time, and asking the learner to mentally "take a picture" by blinking their eyes, or looking off the page.

On the other side, AFAIK, most "normal" readers also read "word images" (once one is beyond the point of spelling out words as one reads) -- which is why most can read words that are partially misspelled (up to a point).


Weird. If you natively visualize things, I natively reduce them to text. It's damn hard for me to remember the fine details of an image, but I can remember a description. And I zip through most reading material really quickly, unless it's really verbose or overly purpled.


I think words as images is also a common strategy for reading. That's why designers say signs in all capital letters take longer to read than signs with lowercase or standard capitalization practices because we remember the shape of the words in more common form (Turn Left or turn left vs. TURN LEFT).


If you think that's weird, I find that I fill in missing words.


I am pretty sure I am dyslexic. My favour slogan is "Dyslexic of the World Untie!"


Just don't send your Christmas wishlist to Satan...


It may remind you, because the original page links to the Wikipedia page for that phenomenon. [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typoglycemia


I think it works best with words you recognize, I'm reading this article and I can't figure out the words I don't recognize, it also is a bit slower to read when all the letters are jumping around every other second. If that sentence had any words I had never seen or heard of before I probably couldn't tell you what the word is supposed to be.


> I think it works best with words you recognize, I'm reading this article and I can't figure out the words I don't recognize

"typoglycemia", for instance?


Indeed, was wondering what that word was, there was a few others, which kind of deterred me continuing reading the article sadly.


I read this without a problem as I scrolled to the right... when I was done, all the text was still moving. Great eye/mind trick!


We can only read them because we know what the original spelling is. A dyslexic kid just starting out to read and write, would have no prior knowledge of words to refer to. If we don't know what the correct pronunciation for a word is, or its spelling to start with. All the best trying to read or write with such a condition.


It's testimony to the power of the effect, though, that the two times Matt uses (sic) [when decoding "rscheearch" as "research" and "researcher"] he uses it incorrectly. Possibly some copy-editor has fixed both inconsistently or something, but I think he just didn't unscramble the word manually.

The proper misspelling is probably "researchch".


I know that an anecdote is not data, etc, etc, but I can't read that garbage. I may as well be trying to decrypt it.


This actually seems like a problem with the implementation linked here: it seems to avoid scrambling the beginning or end of the word, and as a result you can mostly read the text without too much difficulty. To more accurately convey the problems faced by someone with dyslexia, the words should be scrambled in a way that doesn't leave them easy to make out.


That is entirely intentional. It is still possible to read. At least short wods, and the longer ones you recognize, and can infer from context. The jumping text is mostly distracting.


I'm dyslexic but I have no trouble reading, I just flip letters and numbers around while they are stored in my head primarily. I dont look at individual letters as much the shape of words and context clues so changing a letter or two doesn't matter. If this effect was about half the speed I might get though the article without noticing.


I'd love to know how people try and mitigate thier LD. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11224017


I think one of the factors you are missing is that we haven't had dyslexia all our lives. We have read the unscrambled version so much that the scrambled versions rarely deter us from reading at normal speed. But a real dyslexic never had that chance so their struggle is far greater. It's like when you come across words you don't know or can't guess. Even when you stare at the word for quite some time, you can't make sense of what it is.


it seems probable that phenomenon may be related to what's going on in the brains of people with dyslexia


This is uncannily similar to my own personal experience with ADHD. Instead of words appearing scrambled, though, my focus during reading is drawn to random words within a text. I might skip to a new sentence or jump down a few paragraphs; it's entirely arbitrary. This process usually continues forward and back, resetting every few seconds. The longer I read something, the worse the effect becomes. It takes a lot of effort to get through things sometimes.

Whatever this effect is, it is somewhat lessened by adequate sleep, a low-sugar diet, and prescribed medication. It never completely goes away, though. I have good days and bad days; even at my best, though, working through long texts, papers, or technical literature will eventually cause my mind to wander. Whatever this is (I blame ADHD), it's prevented me from ever being able to enjoy reading literature or long-form journalism. It's a pity, too, because I enjoy the content. The task itself is just too mentally stressful. Reading is, sadly, a form of labor.

It's weird, because skimming comes easily. Visual forms of information are also incredibly easy to digest.

Do others with ADHD have a similar problem with this?


Wow, that sounds very familiar. I find that when I try to dive into long texts, even (especially?) those that I find very interesting and which I'm intent on finishing, my mind wanders off onto wild tangents within a few paragraphs. When I find something interesting that sparks another thought, I'll trail off on that thought instead of filing it away for later. I'll continue to read the words without even realizing that I'm not absorbing any of the content, which means that I'll sometimes need to re-read a passage three or four times. It's incredibly frustrating. You're right that skimming is surprisingly easier, though. I find that if I try to blaze through a passage and read only some of the words, my recall is often better than if I'd tried to read at my normal pace. Less chance to focus on something else.

I used to love reading books as a kid, but I started with the above somewhere around high school. I think that the steady stream of novel (and thus exciting) information available on the internet has had an detrimental impact, but of course that can't be all of it. Still, I've lately been trying to limit the quantity of information that I attempt to take in by, say, opening only one or two news articles or HN links (instead of every one that looks interesting), and I've felt more clear-headed since.

May I ask when you put a name to the problem and started with medication?


Exactly the same problem here as both you and GP comment: my eyes jump around paragraphs quickly scanning for keywords/phrases to hook into. And if it's an interesting passage, I can't get very far without my mind drifting off on my own tangent, and I end up having to re-read a few times like you.

I also find reading tiring even though I can read quite fast, because I want to read each sentence properly, so I keep going over the text. It's a little obsessive-compulsive I guess.

Is this common with ADHD?


Wow, my experience exactly matches you and the GP too. I've never been diagnosed with ADHD but I'm pretty sure I have moderate ADHD. The more interesting some text is, the more difficult it is to get through it, because I'm distracted by thinking along those tangents, and then I have to reread the next sentence 5 times to absorb it, and more times I have to reread, the worse the jumping around.


Same here (bugmenot account). I think its the nature of hypertext itself what catalyses an inherent condition. Somehow like the immediate feedback of slot machines contributes to gamble addiction. Has anyone tried nootropics or any other substance, to help keep focused on one thing? At least for as long enough to not be considered "binge learning"...


I can recognize the part about getting lost in reading, but it's mostly under control. And it happens to me when I read stuff I kind of don't give a shit about. It's like I get lost scanning for something to care about, and it can absolutely take forever before I notice that I'm off the rails. Luckily, I mostly get by reading interesting stuff I can hyperfocus on, thanks to my job.

I do have another, comparable problem with getting lost in text. Only it's with writing. I'm should be non-dyslexic because I generally don't recognize any of the symptoms. But I have diagnosis for the uh, lovely mix of ADHD/Aspergers.

I'm in my late twenties, so through my years in school we mostly wrote on paper. I never had any problems with writing - other than getting started with assignments in my own time, which is another story entirely.

It's when I'm typing work stuff in any kind of editor that it gets... interesting.

I have a job in what you'd call content marketing and I'm lucky in that I get to write about a lot of things I care about. I write in English, which is is a second language to me, covering IT, infosec, culture, movies, politics, history... I should be super happy!

But the more interesting something I'm trying to write about is, the more I fail at spelling and grammar. I change the structures of sentences mid way and get lost even more in thoughts that force me to write long rants that I painfully edit down, if it's paid work. This is especially evident when I'm trying to process material from several sources.

I sometimes let my ranting run free in that I allow myself to be something of a village idiot by dropping in to interesting discussions on FB and other forums. I assume no-one reads that crap, but I really like writing it.

It's absolutely more easy for me to write mundane copy on any random things than being focused and concise on the stuff I'm really passionate about.

Combined with my problems getting started, writing can really be a time consuming burden sometimes, which means I sit and stare at a screen too damn much. It's a shame because I really love writing.


I have ADHD PI and I definitely struggle with this. The worst is when I skip to a random word and completely forget what I was doing in the first place.


Out of interest, would using your finger to trace along the line you are reading help you to maintain your reading position? This is a well known speed reading technique, so I imagine many people would have this skipping issue when reading above a certain pace.


I'll occasionally do this with the mouse pointer on a screen.

No diagnoses, but I suffer the same symptoms other posters are talking about.


Yes, I can relate.


Ugh, as someone with dyslexia, it's nothing visual, so trying to visualize being dyslexic is an exercise in futility.

You know those "drunk" googles that distort your view? They certainly make it harder to walk, but they in no way make you feel drunk...

Try explaining someone what it feels like being on LSD... you can't.

Telling people that letters jump around is an easy way to dismiss people whit out having to do a lengthy and tiring explanation that likely wont be understood anyway.

I do appreciate the effort that went into this, and that people try to understand, but I don't think this particular experiment is helpful, because people will get the wrong idea about what dyslexia is.

Edit: Arzh is right in that I'm being a bit harsh/dramatic here, so I made some small changes.


I am dyslexic, and just for some background info I have uncorrected 20/20 vision but my symptoms are exacerbated by comorbid ADHD. I'm sure everyone experiences it differently, but the image on the left is a pretty close approximation of what I often see when trying to read from a page:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9c/Dyslexic...

Say I was reading the line "...as well as other perceptual tasks." I would insert words from inside the "circle" so it would appear to me like "23 other reading tasks" or something (often times it will make no sense, which is my cue that I need to re-read the whole thing).

Other times I might just read a word like "presidental", then look back at it and suddenly it says "prudential" as if it changed when I wasn't looking at it (and I'd swear I knew it said 'presidential' the first time).

Writing and typing are a whole other can of worms that I won't open here, but suffice it to say that I've never experienced the dancing letters like in the OP.


Would it be fair to say that you see text fine and not like that link but you do experience it that way?

I've been thinking about this since I posted my comment. I feel like it may be a reasonable way to say/explain it: we don't see letters/words jump around, but we do experience them jumping around in a non-visual way.

Is that accurate, or do you really mean that you visually see that circle like in that link?


In short, yes, what you said is right. The picture is just a decent approximation.

My vision is fine, so the text I do "see" is perfectly clear. But it's almost like I'm not able to visually follow and parse the text into discrete lines. I just somehow "focus" on this ball in the middle of my field of view, and the text outside the ball is "distorted" because it's not getting the same amount of visual attention (but not because it's literally unfocused in the optic sense).

It's pretty hard to describe, the more I think about it. They aren't just ghosted letters, or blurry, or anything that could be easily replicated with an image editor. It's almost like they aren't words/letters at all, just junk.

So in that vein, I would say it is how I experience it. I imagine that if you could somehow record the input to my visual cortex it wouldn't look anything like the simulation in the image (although it would in fact be upside-down with two big holes in the middle).


uhh... I'm sitting here wondering if I'm mildly dyslexic. I often swap letters around when typing, read words that aren't there, leave words out, etc... I've always had this problem and just assumed I didn't proof-read well enough.

Is there a test for mild dyslexia? How would one know for sure? Should I care? I doesn't bother me much other than people thinking I have terrible grammar and reading comprehension skills.


I'm also interested if there is some sort of test. I find myself doing many of these things when I read long passages.

One other thing that is very common for me, but I'm not sure if it is related to dyslexia or not, is that I will frequently either forget the next word I was about to say or say the wrong word without noticing. An example of the latter would be if I am filling the dishwasher I'll say that I finished the laundry, or I'll refer to shaving in the morning as mowing. These happen to me on an almost daily basis.


This frequently happens to me. A few times a conversation if I'm not focusing solely on the conversation. It's interesting that the words switched are often related: in your example, mowing is another form of cutting protruding fibers aka shaving.


I've seen a handful of psychiatrists and psychologists who were mostly interested in figuring out if I had true ADHD, a true reading disability, some combination of the two, etc.

I was told that there is no diagnostic test for dyslexia. All they can do is survey your symptoms and test your reading speed and comprehension (in addition to executive function, working memory, and verbal IQ for cross-reference).

So if you have those symptoms, you probably are dyslexic. There's no real point in seeking a formal diagnosis unless you feel that it would benefit you to have it documented (e.g. if you're a student and need extra time to finish exams or so).


I had myself be tested by a psychologist when I was around 8 I think, and again when I was 20.

Should you care?

I'm not sure, you can look into tools that are recommended for dyslexic people (a spellings corrector is probably the single biggest thing), but you can try those without actually knowing if you are...

If you are a student then your school may provide special facilities for you. Other then that I can't think of a reason to care, besides satisfying a curiosity.


I do many of these things as well. I've always been curious if it's some mild form of dyslexia or ADHD. It bothers me but I don't think it's been an obstacle.


yeah, that's where I am. It comes up in emails a lot. I find myself saying "I read that 3 times and it made sense when I sent it." Other than that, I can live with it.


> suffice it to say that I've never experienced the dancing letters like in the OP

There's an Indian movie "Taare Zameen Par" (Like Stars on Earth) [1] about a young boy with Dyslexia. He faces the exact problem of "dancing letters" like OP. Maybe Dyslexia has variations?

[1] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0986264/


does things like the open dyslexic[1] font actually help?

1: opendyslexic.org


I bought a kobo ereader over a kindle not too long ago, precisely because it supported this font. I tend to prefer Comic Sans[0] over it a bit though, and use Pointfree[1] on all my code editors. None of those make reading completely smooth experience of course, but they do provide a noticeable improvement over traditional serif text.

I'd say having a large line spacing, an unjustified text layout, and a darker/lower-contrast[2], all help more than the font choice itself, but any tiny optimization is helpful.

[0] as a former graphic designer, it actually took me a while to get comfortable with the idea that I found Comic Sans useful for anything, lol

[1] http://www.dafont.com/pointfree.font

[2] https://www.w3.org/WAI/RD/2012/text-customization/r11


I am amazed about this unexpected compliment to the Comic Sans MS designers. I always thought that this font is, conversely, harder to read than serif fonts. Seemingly this is not always the case in practice.


Not me personally. I actually feel that unambiguous, clear monospace fonts (DejaVu, Fantasque) are easier to read in general, but I can't speak for others.


Yes they do if your dyslexia is also mixed with dysgraphia. Personally I find the very helpful.


The image on the left is pretty much what I see if I was reading "other perceptual tasks".

I just figured that was normal. I have always been a very slow reader though.


Thanks for your comment. I have suspected that I have dyslexia for years, but now I am almost certain that I do.

Interesting article: http://www.iflscience.com/brain/font-simulates-dyslexia-make...

“For most people with dyslexia, the letters and numbers do not jump around on the page and the colours remain the same,” Britton said. “It is simply a breakdown in communication between the eye and the brain. You can see the information, you can see each letter perfectly but there is something in your mind that is stopping or slowing the process of information.”


Yes, it's a subconscious affliction. Reading is slower and more taxing because your conscious brain has to be more involved.

For me the biggest challenge was b and d and p and q. When I was young, I would have to stop and consciously think about which letter was in front of me, when most kids around me immediately knew the right letter without any conscious thought.

The closest thing I've experienced to dyslexia is learning to read a foreign language with different glyphs. You go very slow and you have to really consciously think about what the symbols mean.


I'm not sure of what specific letters caused me issue while reading when I was young. I think it was (and is) more of a general sense, I read pretty damn slow.

What I had huge problems with was writing the letters g, d, y, and u. u's became y's, and d's became g's. This was mostly what I'd call a run on effect, the motion just continues and there is no stop early exit point. It may also be because my I tend to write entire words in one fluid go, instead of letter by letter.

I was diagnosed dyslexic but I'm not really sure I had it after reading all these crazy descriptions of it.

All I do know is getting on a computer changed my life. Typing is 100% different from hand writing for some reason. I guess its because each letter is its own distinct memory reflex/pathway where g,d,y, and u all share a similar motion.

I've recently started doing a lot more writing by hand and its quite a strange experience. I've come to the realisation I have multiple hand writing styles and levels of neatness.

Doing all caps writing usually ends up badly (I'll revert certain characters back to lower case automatically)

Writing super slow I end up with relatively neat / legible writing with very little errors.

Writing as fast as possible is my favorite, I can read it but its almost glyphic squiggles to anyone else. Just reading a couple of my last sentences in my diary, y becomes w with the y's tail, l sometimes become t's, f's are pretty good (I use the s looking math version for function so it doesnt become a t, d can be a g, a really large lower cas a, k looks like well not a k?) N is almost always an M. Bizzare.


I have this as well.

I am handwriting a word and instead of writing a p I write a b. I trend to immateriality notice this mistake, sometimes even when I'm still in the process of writing the wrong letter. And this does not happen when typing.

However this is considered dysgrafie, not dyslexia. That said, it's the brain that has defects, and it's probably more or less all connected and related to each other.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysgraphia#/media/File:Dysgrap...

This example looks chillingly similar to what I was speaking of.

Thanks for the info.


That quote is a great description.

A lot of people think dyslexia is this fixed level of degradation but in reality a lot of things impact how dyslexic the same individual is including: tiredness, stress, fitness, age, concentration, and so on.

Although those things don't impact dyslexia in the obvious way (less stress == less dyslexia, less tiredness = less dyslexia) for example I suffer less from dyslexia when I am tireder/sleepier. Why? Maybe the part of my brain that causes dyslexia is more active when I am not fatigued. I don't really know.

But every time people talk about words literally jumping around on a page or strange colour changing because of dyslexia I honestly wonder if we have the same condition at all...


As someone also with dyslexia, I thought it was pretty good. Yes it is not that extreme but that is the point of the piece I think.


I enjoyed the demonstration because although I could still read it I could notice that I had to spend extra effort to do so.


Exactly. I think most of us see this project as a hyperbole. Dyslexia does not make you literally see scrambled letters, but make it similarly difficult to read. I found the long and uncommon ones like "phonetical" especially difficult.

To people with dyslexia: are shorter and more common words easier to comprehend, just like in this piece?


For me the shorter words are actually harder because they are more similar to other words and they often don't attract focus in a sentence so your mind spends less time on them.


Yes. It's just my interpretation of something I heard.


Well, isn't that just burying the lede? I applaud the application of technology, but sometimes I think the neophyte approach, combined with the amplification of the web, can be more detrimental than helpful as intended.

Sorry to be uncharitable, but here is how you could've written a more honest introduction:

I heard a friend with dyslexia say that letters just jump around for her. Without asking for details, this reminded me that I had a hammer called JavaScript, and this looked like a nail to pound. So I wrote some quick code with made-up parameters and copied info from Wikipedia for cachet. I didn't bother to get any further feedback from dyslexics about this, so it is purely my folk-interpretation of a condition I don't really know about. I then uploaded it to HN to get some feedback, but I still didn't bother explaining what I did or why.


[deleted]


Are you on LSD?


I'm not dyslexic, but the bigger problem I see with this demonstration is that I actually still found it fairly easy to read. There's actually not that much ambiguity for most rearranged words when they're in the context of grammatical sentences. I'm sure that real dyslexia is a much more difficult challenge than this demonstration.


The creator is taking advantage of the fact that most of us read words semi-holistically (if not, it's a hell of a coincidence). Research has demonstrated that as long as the first and last letter remain unchanged, we can read passably well. (Though "bookmarklet" took me some time to decipher.) Difficulty does varies from anagram to anagram, however.

I guess the idea is to mimic the increased cognitive load of dyslexia to give non-dyslexic people a feel for it, without making each word as difficult as deciphering full anagrams.


This is a bit of a myth, but it also has some truth to it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typoglycemia


Interesting. For me (not dyslexic) this demonstration hurts my head so badly that I can't read more than one sentence at a time without looking away.

Some of the words pop out to me immediately, but others I have to stare at for a while before I can figure out what the word is. The way the letters jump around puts an immediate stress on my brain that is really unpleasant.


I have to agree with you, I am dyslexic and found this not much more difficult to read than normal text. I find when reading I will stare at words in sentences knowing what they say and what they mean but not knowing or being able to understand the meaning of the sentence overall. I will often re-read the sentence over and over and end up moving on not understanding what it means, just knowing certain words were mentioned.


Especially when the first and last letters aren't changing as in this example.


It looks like it's just doing random anagrams of all the letters in the word, except the first and last.

From what I know of dyslexia, wouldn't it be more appropriate to replace each letter with a weighted random selection from groupings of similar glyphs?

  a e g 6 9 @
  b d p q P
  c n u C G U ( )
  f t k x H K X +
  h y F T Y
  i ! : ;
  j r J L 7 [ ]
  l I 1 / | \
  m w E 3 { }
  o D O Q 0
  s z S Z 2 5 ? $
  v A V ^ 4 < >
  B R 8 &
  M N W
  . , ' `
  * " ~
  # =
  %
  _ -
There are also Unicode glyphs that resemble English letters turned upside down or sideways.

Some psychology researchers can really mess with your brain by aiming a camera at your eye and changing the letters of a text during a saccade. When your eyes are moving to a new fixation point, you become temporarily blind to changes in what you are looking at for a fraction of a second.

Obviously, that can't be done in a webpage demonstration without some fool giving control of their camera to your javascript. Then you would have to calibrate the gaze detection. And your program would have to run fast enough to update during a saccade.


It seems like only replacing similar glyphs would make it even easier to read.


Yes, but now try passing a spelling test in elementary school when "word" looks like "worb"


Of course. I'm not trying to downplay the challenge of dyslexia. Quite the opposite, in fact. I'm expressing doubt that this demonstration at all depicts the struggle of reading with dyslexia.


Yeah, the first letter is a biggie. I realized that after I left my last comment. I bet if the first letter was able to transpose, things would get way more difficult.


I found it readable, but I am glad I didn't have to learn reading like that. Maybe then I would never have reached a level that allows me to read that.


It came close... For me individual lines do this not the paragraph at large but sometimes I accidentally jump ahead.

There is a font called "Dyslexie" which is the only typeface I would use if I had to read a speech aloud.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyslexie


I am slightly dyslexic but my oldest is severely dyslexic. She could read it (she can read a book a day now after years and years of work) She barely noticed the text changing. Oh....

But the weird thing for her is she works in a library and loves that.


I also am dyslexic. I agree with you mostly. This demonstration is not what it "looks like" to have dyslexia, but I think it might not be a bad approximation for a normal for what it feels like to have it. Explained this way, I think it has value.


The idea of dyslexia that has always resonated with me, is that the brain is thinking in more than one dimension, or direction, at parallel times. Thinking dynamically, when being asked to do a linear task. I don't know where I heard this, but I have taken a little poetic license with the idea.

In the example of mixing letters up,a it would be more about seeing potential possibilities and not just selecting one.

I'm not proposing this as a model for all, but it certainly makes sense with how dyslexia isn't necessarily negative.


> Telling people that letters jump around

I've always heard that description myselt but have never experienced anything like that as a chronic dyslexic. My remedial teacher demonstrated it very well to me when I was a child. She took a square made up of different shapes that she had arranged, jumbled it up and asked me to recreate the square. I couldn't, not after minutes. The shapes were incredibly simple (mostly triangles) and there weren't more than five of them. She then took two of the shapes that I thought identical and stacked them to demonstrate that they weren't the same at all. Apparently people without dyslexia can finish that puzzle in seconds, where stopped me after minutes.

Written as the 10-year old dyslexic me would have written this. I used to transpose similar letters, but otherwise have never had real problems with spelling.

I've always neard tnat description nyselt dut nave never experienced anytning like tnat as a cnronic dyslexic. ny renedial teacner denonstrated it very well to ne wnen I was a cnild. Sne took a spuare nade up ot ditterent snapes tnat sne nad arranged, tundled it up and asked ne to recreate tne spuare. I couldn't, not atter ninutes. Tne snapes were incredidly sinple (nostly triangles) and tnere weren't nore tnan tive ot tnen. Sne tnen took two ot tne snapes tnat I tnougnt identical and stacked tnen to denonstrate tnat tney weren't tne sane at all. Apparently people witnout dyslexia can tinisn tnat pussle in seconds, wnere sne stopped ne atter ninutes.

Not everyone experiences dyslexia in the same way.


There are many people who are simply unaware of the visual elements in a given situation because it's usually handled by the brain at an unconscious level - similar to speech.

It seems to me like you have a heavy feeling-based response to what I must resort to calling 'dyslexic visual input'.

You may want to include some auditory input, by associating the correct sounds with the letters to help you sort through it and perhaps just brush aside any unpleasant feelings that may arise. it gets easier with practice.

A problem with studies like this is that you may learn something of what it's like to be dyslexic, but probably that's all you're gonna get out of it. perhaps there are a few super geniuses out there who will see what it's like to have it and come up with some new way of dealing with it.

A better approach, especially for someone who has struggled with it, is to find people who have overcome many, most or even all of the difficulties associated with this neurological condition and see if you can mimic what they did.

Maybe even put an ad in the paper or online and find out if you can get people to call you and very carefully unpack their experience of having it and what they have done to overcome it. What you want here is a set of instructions that you can follow, and I'd start with the things that are common to the majority of the people you speak with, so be ready to take notes or record it.

Recent studies have revealed that the brain is remarkably adept at rewiring itself, especially if you feed it the right materials to work with. I mean that both literally and figuratively, so a diet rich in omega 3s and 6s as well as any minerals or other chemicals that are precursors to neurotransmitters such as DMAE, Magnesium and so forth.


Unlike inebiration, dyslexia is in fact visual by definition; it has to do with having difficulty reading, even in the absence of other cognitive difficulties. It's just not something that occurs due to some issues in the visual pipeline, which could give it a "pixel level" representation/explanation. However, the entire pipeline from the cornea of your eye and retina, through the optic nerve and back to the visual cortex, is all visual.

It's plausible that we can manipulate the raw input signal in order to recreate a similar semantic handicap later in a normally functioning pipeline, such as slowed reading due to not being able to resolve the order of letters in a word.

The demo was inspired by a particular dyslexic's remark that the letters seem to "jump around" for her.

This could be a "piece of the puzzle"; of course we can't naively believe that this reveals everything that dyslexia is about, in all its manifestations.


To qoute user obeone from this thread:

According to Alice Wellborn, a dyslexia expert of some note: Many years ago, researchers believed that dyslexia was a visual perceptual problem - that it was based in how a person saw letters and words. Now we know for sure, through brain imaging studies, that dyslexia is a problem in the language system of the brain, not the visual system.

Dyslexia is the result of a significant weakness in the phonological processing system, or how a person's brain understands and can use the sound-based reading "code". A dyslexic reader has difficulty cracking that code.


As a dyslexic of some repute, (I'm 60) I can't say both are turn. Both visual (dbpq9) queuing and audible (phonics) apply. I believe the difference in test done by people like Ms Wellborn are because of the changes in the way children are tough. "Hooked on phonics" is now thought as bad.


> Dyslexia is the result of a significant weakness in the phonological processing system

Does that mean that dyslexics have trouble with the spoken word? The Wikipedia page lists such issues as associated conditions:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyslexia#Associated_conditions

``Many people with dyslexia have auditory processing problems ...''


Yes, some dyslexis like myself do. For example Pin and Pen both sound the same to me. I don't care how you try to pronounce them or with different accents. They are always the same.


What if the vowel sounds are isolated and elongated: iiii, eeee. Does that sound the same?

If someone is using the wah-wah pedal with an electric guitar to change the timbre of a note, can you tell?

Is it really about sound? Or is it just that the "phonetic analyzer" isn't distinguishing the phonemes?

If you can consciously hear the acoustic difference in timbre, how can you then not use that to tell the words apart (even if slowly/inefficiently)? As in "I just heard something that may be pin or pen; now I have to concentrate on what I heard. Hmm, the vowel sounded like a band filter tuned toward a higher frequency so it must be pin, rather than pen."


You mean like the letter sounds E and I. They sound different. I checked that with https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SekEr_e3oaM - Yes I can. I think it phonic not sonic. I think it where the brain crosses the sound over the to concept of a letter or word. When I try to reproduce what it sounds like to be it comes out pin and pan or pen and pee-n.


I'm curious to know where you live. In the US—largely due to the impact of Dr. Shaywitz's work at Yale—the dominant thinking is that dyslexia is phonological, not visual. Yet in other parts of the world (including other English-speaking countries) researchers and the general public view dyslexia as something that can be visual or can be non-visual, depending on the person. One MIT professor estimated that roughly 1/3 are visual, 1/3 are non-visual, and 1/3 are a bit of both.

After talking with dozens of researchers, special ed teachers, and disability-rights advocates, I've learned that dyslexia is defined as a residual category. That is, someone is dyslexic if they don't read well, and it's not due to general lack of visual acuity or general lack of intelligence.

Considering that dyslexia is a residual category, it seems unlikely that the entire category would be caused by a single type of deficit. And in light of the fact that some (I have no idea what percentage) dyslexic readers say that their difficulty is visual in nature, this seems even less likely.

I became interested in this question because my startup, whose technology uses a visual trick to improve reading ability, became very popular in the dyslexic community. I was perplexed because much of the US-based literature proclaimed that dyslexia wasn't visual. In talking with folks in the US, I've seen a lot of cognitive dissonance because people find our (purely visual) tech to be very helpful for themselves or for their students, but it's been hammered into their head that dyslexia is not visual in nature. If that were 100% true, then one wouldn't expect a purely visual technology to be so helpful.

At the end of the day, we aren't completely sure why the tech helps dyslexic readers so much—we're just happy that people are using and benefiting from it. Sorry this reply got long and a bit off-topic; hopefully it's relevant to the larger conversation.


I'm in Belgium. I have a feeling that the general public considers it to be something that affects reading ability and leave it at that.

However some of my language teachers (Dutch,English,French) would offer to print reading comprehension tests in a larger font, which does not help at all for me (nor any other dyslexic I know, but apparently some did find it helpful).

The speech therapists I saw after school for extra language lessons to help me with dyslexia seemed to have a lot better understanding. Or at least the never offered advice/help that I know didn't work for me, and I had noticeable improvements with those lessons.

You are correct that poor reading ability is the primary symptom of dyslexia, and that it had nothing to do with eye sight or intelligence.

Left me give you a brief run of what happens to me when reading the following sentence: "Reading this is impossible, but I try anyway." When I read it I may read "impobbible" instead. The thing is (for me) I saw the letters correctly. While reading that sentence and wrongly reading that I word I notice that something is wrong, so I stop to stare at the word and give it another attempt. At that point I see the word very clearly "impossible", but like a illiterate person I couldn't speak what was written down there (notice the phonological aspect?). The only option I have at that point is to look at each letter individually and then I usually get it "AH, It says 'impossible', of course!". I feel that the struggle I have here is really phonological in nature. After that I happily continue reading without to much issue until the next "strange" thing comes up.

So now my question is: Is this a "visual" problem? Did the letters "jump" around? Well... yes ... and ... no. They did. I read "impobbible". It really is what I thought was written down there. It feels like my brain says "yeah impossible means impobbible". As an aside, if you asked me to write down the word that I had misread, with out letting me figure out what it truly was, then I probably wouldn't be able to remember what was written down there, and just go for whatever I pronounced. At least that is what I think would happen.

You don't look at each letter individually when reading, you match patterns of letters, parts of words, whole words, fill things in based on context... I feel like it is this pattern matching that goes completely wrong every now and then.

And that is where the visual aspect comes into play. Despite not being vision related I do find that using the opendyslexic font is a noticeable help, and I'm guessing its because it changes the shape of letter and words, which in turn changes how the pattern matching works. I feel that the claim that it is not a visual problem is very accurate but that certainly doesn't mean there can't be visual based tools to help us. Note that I also have dysgraphia, mgrennan mentioned that font was more of a help when you have both.

Interesting enough I hadn't noticed the incorrect spelling of the title of this post until kator pointed it out in his comment. Anyway I hope this helps.


I was writing a deployment script and had written './setub.sh' instead of './setup.sh'. Of course when testing it on the command line I wrote the latter. It took 3 hours of debugging, for me to finally see the error.


Very curious about it. I recently suffered health issues and I now have 'synchronisation' problems when reading and writing at the same time. I feel protodyslexic. That webpage made my brain happy, probably because being able to read scrambled text made me confident in my brain again.


As a person who doesn't have to suffer with this condition, I found it immediately valuable. Empathy is best practiced through experience, and I learned what that felt like. So, @geon, thank you.


Isn't dyslexia a solvable problem ? My sister is a speech therapist and she told me that she had a lot of dyslexic kids but I never gathered that they would stay dyslexic all their lives. I'll have to ask her.


It isn't. It's a disability. Therapy merely teaches sufferers how to work around it more effectively but it doesn't make the underlying problems go away.


There are a variety of different forms of Dyslexia, so I can't speak for everyone. However, this doesn't resemble my own personal form. I would be curious to hear from other Dyslexics to see if this is anything close to their experience.

The way I usually explain my variety is that my brain is trying to read faster than it can physically. I have no problem reading words (which seems to be what this code is focusing on), the problem is my brain is already moving forward and the word I read is often not the word written on the page. Sometime I can make the contextual correction in my head while other times I have to reread the sentence to make any sense of it. In that instance, I can understand the "jumping around" description as I can read a sentence for a second time and suddenly my brain will see a different word than it saw the first time.


I have a genetic condition which makes my corpus callosum (the part of the brain that connects the two halves) small(er).

This leads (as described by my doctor) both halves processing data and then having trouble syncing. I don't really know if that's true or not. However, it runs in my family (we have taken genetics tests) and it turns out that's why we are neither right or left handed, and we all have various issues related to spelling, geometry, etc. We also have an increased risk of schizophrenia and alzheimer's, but increased IQ according to studies.

For me it manifests itself mostly dyslexia. My brain gumbles words, and I don't realy left to right directly, I pretty much read a sentence and have to put it together in my head. Spelling is awful, and thank god for spellcheck, I can't remember names randomly or other words for things. The weird part is adjectives and pronouns are fine. I just have an issue with nouns if I cannot see an object.

The other day, I had to describe a toaster to my wife because I couldn't remember the word "toaster". Same goes with countless other things.

My grandfather, mother, and brother all have this issue. However, it did manifest differently for each of us. For my brother he can't think in 3 dimensions very easily. My mother has Dyslexia and my grandfather can't spell....


I have a similar thing. When i did the battery of SPED tests in elementary school they mentioned something about the two halves not communicating as well. What you talk about not remembering names really strikes a chord with me. Interesting to know what its called. Not that i'm sure I have the same thing but definitely seems similar.


If I ever found the time, it might be interesting to revisit some of those tests as an adult. I haven't really spoken to a professional expert about my Dyslexia since I was diagnosed at 8. I doubt I could really articulate what I was experiencing at the time and nearly everything that was mentioned to me has long been forgotten. I'm sure going through the same process as an adult would offer some interesting insight.


Our brains are built on pattern recognition and probability, and I definitely notice that through dyslexia.

When I'm reading well written "human language" (novels, magazines, etc), I can read very quickly... over 400 pages on a 3 hour flight with high precision and recall. On the other hand, dense technical documentation is painful because the material is dense with little parsing context shared across sections. Bad grammar makes it worse, sometimes re-reading a sentence and it's neighbors multiple times to get a word to "click"

My natural reading mode is "subconscious". It's fast when all the patterns are known and unambiguous in context, but falls back on a slow conscious process when there are new patterns or insufficient context...


  >  the problem is my brain is already moving forward and 
  >  the word I read is often not the word written on the page.
Either I have dyslexia, or that's how everyone's brain works. Sometimes when I'm reading out loud, I'll completely make up words that are not on the page.


I imagine like most of these things it is a spectrum. Most people probably just ignored unless it happens enough to start causing problems.

EDIT: There is an example right there. "Ignored" instead of "ignore it", smashing two words together that are somewhat phonetically close.


and when I read it, I read "ignored it" instead of "ignored" lol


I'm not dyslexic, but I can relate to this. To me it usually happens when I'm talking, which is why I prefer typing since I can type at the same speed I'm thinking.

Have you tried speed reading techniques? They're designed to get around your urge to "vocalize" words in your mind as you read. This enables you to read at the speed your brain can process at.


I only briefly looked at speed reading stuff. I never got over the internal vocalization. That might be something worth revisiting. It would be great if it could avoid whatever it is in my mind that is getting crossed.


Having dyslexia, I would say this is rather extreme, I can't speak for everyone but reading isn't like this for most dyslexics.

Usually it is a pair of letters being swapped, or numbers order reversed. They don't jump around/change randomly, you just misread it.

http://dyslexia.learninginfo.org/symptoms.htm

The new font for dyslexics also goes into this some more: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-font-helps-dys...


I feel like if you wanted to properly simulate dyslexia, you would need really precise eye tracking, and make changes to the words while you are not looking at them. Then, if you glance back at the word, it is corrected.

I don't have dyslexia (at least not seriously enough that I have ever thought about it) so I was wondering if such a thing would be more accurate to your experiences.


Dysgraphia is a part related to dyslexia.

This can be a problem, b d p q 9, W M N, O 0 o e, E 5 S R B and more.


Did the parent originally talk about dysgraphia? Because while I have pretty serious dysgraphia I'm not really dyslexic. While related they're pretty significantly different. One of my best friends growing up had dyslexia and with my dysgraphia we always joked about being one 'normal' person.


No. At age 60, when I was 12 they really didn't have a name for any of this. For years my school records had be as retarded. It was not until I taught myself calculus and trig in the 8th grade that my parent new something was wrong and sent teaching specialists at OU. They a used the word dyslexia. This was all very new in the 60s.


I was experimenting with character substitution too, but it won't work well with a variable width font, since the words at the end of the page moves a lot.


There are fonts to help with dyslexia. They try to make like letter different. They also remove a lot of the variable spacing. https://www.dyslexiefont.com/en/dyslexie-font/


That was crazy, I was able to read the article in the dyslexic font way faster than before.

I wish I could change all fonts to be this.



> I wish I could change all fonts to be this.

This is one thing I miss of "Web 1.0": the default to providing information and respecting the client's preference for presentation.


Fun fact: Dyslexia in Chinese is anatomically different than Dyslexia in English - so you may be dyslexic in English, but function fine in Chinese: http://www.economist.com/blogs/analects/2014/09/dyslexia-chi...


According to Alice Wellborn, a dyslexia expert of some note: Many years ago, researchers believed that dyslexia was a visual perceptual problem - that it was based in how a person saw letters and words. Now we know for sure, through brain imaging studies, that dyslexia is a problem in the language system of the brain, not the visual system.

Dyslexia is the result of a significant weakness in the phonological processing system, or how a person's brain understands and can use the sound-based reading "code". A dyslexic reader has difficulty cracking that code.

Here are some important facts about dyslexia:

Dyslexia is based in how a person's brain functions. The brain structure is normal - the glitch is in the wiring. Fluent readers use a part of the brain for reading that dyslexic readers do not use. This means that reading remains a slow, laborious process for children and adults with dyslexia.

Dyslexia is not related to a person's level of intelligence. Many children and adults with dyslexia are gifted, highly accomplished, creative people.


However some kinds can be corrected like visual problems. I know a guy with dyslexia who uses very specific, slightly tinted (towards green) lenses in his glasses. I can't remember what else was different about them, but basically they were very personalised and had the effect of slowing down the eye movement over the text. (as in, it forced him to track the lines normally instead of jumping around) Based on chat experience, they made a lot of difference.


Shameless plug: if you know anyone with Dyslexia or other learn & attention issues, send them to https://www.understood.org. It's a non-profit with many free resources for people trying to overcome these challenges.


Thank you for the link. I'm 60 and have suffered with Dyslexia all my life.

I do well today thanks to spelling correction and Audio Books. But it is a struggle. There are "English Nazis" everywhere. I hear thing like "You might get promoted if you would play attention to your spelling."

Most of my special Ed friends flip burgers even with 140+ IQs.


I'm not dyslexic, but I've also experienced a similar attitude towards spelling. It's something I've always struggled with (I tend to think faster than I write, so frequently muddle words together, and words tend to 'look fine' even if I know the correct spelling - writing this I typed 'thinker' instead of 'think faster', and something like 'wierd' wouldn't stand out to me without spell-check). Fortunately it's never held me back, and deson't effect, e.g., reading, but I've definitely encountered people with an attitude along the lines of "You can't spell, therefore are an idiot" which can be fustrating.


I think I have a mild form of dyslexia, and I am the same way. I can type the wrong word correctly, but thought the right word. I can repeatedly swap some words for each other, like it for he, and he for it. Spell checking works very well for me, but if I picked the wrong word it didn't help. I also make many of the classic mistakes like there and their. Also use of apostrophes if I am not careful.

I don't think it has seriously held me back, but I think I have begun to notice a more subtle way it has held be back.

I am mgrennan's son.


My father has trouble reading despite being really smart otherwise, and unfortunately it's gotten him to think he's not smart. I'd love to show this to him, but my only concern is that everything is geared towards parents to help their children, and I don't want to demean him with that. are there any similar resources geared towards adults?


Try the International Dyslexia Association, they have branches all over: http://eida.org/ida-branches/


I've been told, and I've observed it myself, that about 60+% of dyslexics are males with IQs above 120. Having dyslexia lead to being labeled as retarded. It was because of my interests in model rocketry and teaching myself Calc and Trig and my parents not excepting the schools label I did better.

A lot of the students I schooled with in special Ed ended up in jobs or in jail. I'm a database administrator for a weather company.


For extra fun, imagine you're reading in a language where the characters look like 紫 and sometimes the lines decide to wiggle like Medusa's hair.


posted above, but it's different for Chinese speakers than English people with dyslexia: http://www.economist.com/blogs/analects/2014/09/dyslexia-chi...


I actually don't have much difficulty reading this, with the exception of a couple technical terms I wasn't familiar with. There was a similar thread a while back with a couple different fun examples, albeit designed to show how we read based on the shape of words (not spelling) rather than to demonstrate dyslexia:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=222459


You didn't have trouble reading it, because the author deliberately kept the first and last letters the same, and referred to Typoglycemia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typoglycemia, which has shown that you can (often, not always) mix up the internal letters and the works are still very legible.

In doing this, I think the creator was specifically trying to make a Typoglycemia simulator, not a dyslexia simulator, since the original quote said nothing about the first and last letters remaining the same.


You can't really simulate Typoglycemia, since it isn't a condution, but a phenomenon.

But yeah. I wanted the effect to be somewhat distracting while still readable.


Imagine what it would be like if almost all the words were ones you "weren't familiar with," which is how it would seem if you had dyslexia and were learning to read.


This is certainly a cool effect, but as someone with dyslexia I've never experienced text like this.


If you are wondering about the JS code:

https://gist.github.com/alexcasalboni/ba7c99fb3484579c0dad


Maybe this is important, not because it an accurate representation of dyslexia, but because it can simulate the effect of it. I could read everything pretty quickly and accurately except for some of the longest words, but I got this feeling of my brain's CPU overheating. At the end of the article I was frustrated and tired. I wanted to stop reading. This is coming from someone who probably reads tens of thousands (or more) of words per day of articles, emails, comments, and source code.


It would be great to be able to dyslexiafy any page on the internet (both with and without animation) then a lot of folks could use it to explain the various versions/intensities of the condition.

For example, therapists could use the tool to help parents understand what their kids are going through.

Edit: Of course, this assumes that this is a useful tool to really help people understand dyslexia, which I am not able to judge.


I wonder how something like http://spritzinc.com would work for a dyslexic person ?

It basically gives you a single word at a time to read, would that make it easier for a dyslexic person to read bigger text if it was split into smaller one word chunks ?


Good question, makes me curious as well!


Can you understand this? Why do we complain about spelling?

Eye have a spelling chequer, It came with my Pea Sea. It plane lee marks four my revue Miss Steaks I can knot sea.

Eye strike the quays and type a whirred And weight four it two say Weather eye am write oar wrong It tells me straight a weigh.

Eye ran this poem threw it, Your shore real glad two no. Its vary polished in its weigh. My chequer tolled me sew.

A chequer is a bless thing, It freeze yew lodes of thyme. It helps me right all stiles of righting, And aides me when eye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen Eye trussed too bee a joule. The chequer pours o'er every word Two cheque sum spelling rule.


The demo is enlightening, but the text is not telling to more important thing about dyslexia: The main problem is not the difficult to read (that is an issue of course) but the social implications for the people with this, when parents, teachers and pairs believes the kid can't read because is dumb or lazy. Self esteem goes to the floor and also impact in performance even in thing not related with reading. So awareness that this is a real issue (and not that is lazy) and that the kid has to make a lot of effort to catch up is very important to help them have a better future.


Some quick thoughts on the code: http://pastebin.com/hYiB01RH

First, the isLetter function is both wrong and unused.

Second, messUpMessyPart is suboptimal. Rather than using a while loop to generate random numbers until a < b, why not do something like `var nums = [rand, rand].sort(); a = nums[0]; b = nums[1]`. There's still the case where a=b, but maybe you just run the function 2/10 times instead of 1/10 to compensate for that case.


This may help some people who deal with this problem.

http://www.anlp.org/how-could-nlp-help-me.php?cscid=11

http://www.anlp.org/files/dyslexia-strategies_33_153.pdf

for those who are having extreme difficulty, you may want to let your computer read that to you.

best of luck to all, I hope this makes a difference for someone.


If anyone would like to try this on more websites, I wrapped it in a quick Eager app: http://preview.eager.io/dyslexia/

I also modified the source to not use jQuery in the process: https://github.com/zackbloom/dyslexia/blob/master/script.js


What tools do people use to get around dyslexia? I recently realised that most auto-correct and spelling correction tools breakdown for dyslexic people. The challenge for them is that they know how a word sounds but takes more time than usual to recollect the spelling. The recommendations suggested by standard spell checkers are way off the mark in those cases. Any recommendations would be appreciated.


Spellcheck used to be a problem for me, but over time my muscle memory has improved and it has become easier to type words (ask me to spell a word and ill have no idea). Sometimes my spelling is so off spellcheck doesn't give me options, but putting it into google usually helps, googles guessing algorithm is better than most spellchecks it seems.


Check out http://www.atdyslexia.com/web-based-tools/ or Talk Typer (Chrome extension)


Thanks for the link! Seems like a good place to start.


I'm guessing this is supposed to do something? Expecting the letters to jumble themselves or similar.

Doesn't work for me on either Firefox or Chrome desktop.


Do you have dyslexia? Maybe it's just balancing itself out?


Username checks out.


Do you have HTTPS Everywhere enabled? It tries to load jquery over HTTP, which Chrome blocks on the secure version of the page [1]

[1] https://geon.github.io/programming/2016/03/03/dsxyliea

Edit: Console shows: Mixed Content: The page at 'https://geon.github.io/programming/2016/03/03/dsxyliea' was loaded over HTTPS, but requested an insecure script 'http://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.3/jquery.mi.... This request has been blocked; the content must be served over HTTPS.


Data point 2: Works for me.

Do you have any content blockers enabled? Perhaps they're interfering.


Same, works here in latest Chrome. GP is JS running?


It didn't load for me in Firefox. When it didn't load in Chrome either, I noticed that the script was being loaded from an unsafe source, which both Firefox 46 and Chrome seem to block by default.


I like that this post has now become a post where people trying to debug the whole damn link to have more difficulty reading a webpage with letters jumbling around :P.


OK, it's decided to work now.

Very odd. I had first opened it with NoScript; disabled the blocking; nothing. Tried in Chrome (vanilla install); nothing.

Tried a bit later in Chrome: now working.


I used a jQuery from Cloudflare. It might have decided to not load the first time.


Any error messages in your console?


It could be a HTTPS error - jquery is loaded over HTTP, so blocked on the secure page.

Replacing

    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.3/jquery.min.js"></script>
with

    <script type="text/javascript" src="//cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.3/jquery.min.js"></script>
should enable HTTPS as required AFAIK


Thanks. Fixed.


The Disqus.com comments are still blocked on the secure version of the page (disqus.com/embed.js is loaded via HTTP only), but the main functionality works fine now with HTTPS Everywhere enabled.


You are loading things over HTTP instead of HTTPS (Mixed content warning). Change

http://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.3/jquery.mi... => //cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.3/jquery.min.js


Fixed.


That is what's happening for me on Chrome 48 for Mac


The attempt at simulation of dyslexia is thumped by the fact that the brain can read fairly fluently when the letters are mixed up. http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/people/matt.davis/cmabridge/

Still, this is a cool and share-worthy article imo :)


I have a mild suspicion that my 4 year old niece may be dyslexic. She can read and write all the letters and their sounds, but she can't seem to tie the sounds into syllables, not even the simplest ones. She is not being pressured into reading, she just liked it up to this point. Is there any tell-tale sign I should be aware of ?


While I don't know anything scientifically established about childhood development, from my extensive and recent exposure to 4 year olds this sounds 100% normal.


Wow, could you use this plugin to effectively DRM a document?

This may be a stupid question...

Assume you wanted to ensure non plagerism, just use this this to make it such that each visitor is given a random version of the document which the human mind can read but will be tough as hell to copy/paste phrases or paragraphs?


> ensure non plagerism

That would be interesting. You could fairly easily write an automatic spell corrector though. Just replace each word with the most likely anagram as scored by a Markov chain.

I imagine you could do random word substitution with synonyms. By this "watermark" you could identify the source of a leaked document.


Somehow i just don't get why this is so popular? Someone care to elaborate on what i may have missed? As far as i understand, it doesn't even simulate the real life condition very well, as some dyslexia sufferers here have pointed out.


Pretty interesting stuff.

What was strange for me is that I had no problem reading 90% of that at the same pace as I usually read except for word I have never seen before.

I tend to speed read contextually skipping over words entirely. Maybe a bad thing now that i think of it...


That's interesting. I once ask a friend who speed reads to read his book to me. He said no because if he did he wouldn't be able to understand it himself. He said he read in ideas or pictures. He explained speed reading was like watching a movie. If he would have to explain what he was seeing or read every word and that was more work then he could do and follow along.

It was at this point I understood how different people read differently.


I had no problems either, and i don't really speed read... That said it's most likely because my brain has a look forward / glance over paragraph mode which is probably engaged all the time.

To verify this i took a print screen and it was considerably harder to read.

So the ease of readability to me was because the word blinked at least once in the correct order and it registered even if i didn't get to it yet.


Reminds me of a thing I made. Requires a mouse. http://afandian.com/moreover/alide-in-wonnerlanc/


For extra fun, try looking at the JS source in Chrome devtools.


Not sure why, but that 'bothered' me way more than the original article. I could read the text of the Wikipedia article without too much of an issue, but as soon as I saw the code all I could think was "This is wrong, and oddly unsettling".


wild!


I went to this site with NoScript on, and it took me 5 minutes and a trip back to these comments to figure out that something was supposed to be happening.

Is there a name for that?


Funny thing is that the text is still very readable (slower, but still readable) to me. I think it should be much worse for people who have the real problems...


"Frok it on Ghitub"


I think it would be possible to train a model (and present it as an app for people with Dyslexia) that cancels out the jumping letters. It is kind of like superimposing two waves which has a coherent text, that most of us see, as the product.


You're making a lot of absurd assumptions here. You're assuming that this demo is a completely literal representation of what dyslexics experience, which is unlikely, and you're assuming that there is some predictable pattern to the shuffling, which there isn't (check the source, it's just randomly choosing words and then randomly shuffling their internal letters).


It is a thought and has nothing to do with how this particular entity has been implemented. What I got from the post was that dyslexic people see words/letters differently than us. And maybe there is a way to balance that out with deterministic enforced shuffling (edit: don't take shuffling literally). That is why used the word "train". I don't think anyone except a person with dyslexia knows what the "patterns" are, if any. The patterns could be different for every person too.


Great thing about poor vision is I can read this without problem


I wonder if people with dyslexia can read things rendered with the dyslexia app like normal people can read normal text. That would be a trip!


For me it depends on how it is done. If the application just displaces the same letters. No, it's still hard to read. If the app substitues letters that look alike (dpqb) then I can read it just fine.


funny thing, if you will look in the page source, he is changing the google analytics script as well


I don't know about other dyslexics but this not what it feels like to me. For me the words don't move they're just different. The letters are often swapped, I could stare at a word for a long time because I can't quite tell what it is.

I even looked at the title of this and thought it was spelled right but then something inside my head said "look again". When I went to the site the problem is the words move rapidly and the changes are too obvious. The challenge with my dyslexia is that the words have changed before I see them in subtle ways that trip you up when you start reading.

A couple of things I've noticed:

* Handwriting is ok for me if it's printed but cursive is almost impossible for me to read.

* Using light fonts on a dark background really helps a lot, when I switched my ipad kindle to black background and white font my reading speed went up almost 20x. It felt like I was part of the human race finally and understood what people meant by a "quick enjoyable read".

Accidently my work on computers started on old CRT terminals where the fonts where light and the background was dark. Green screens and Orange screens were awesome I was most productive on them. Over time I got sucked into the windows white background and found myself lost again. I literally at one point thought I was loosing my ability to code and that my writing and reading was getting worse. At some point I would ssh into boxes and use vi because I felt more productive, over time I realized the reason was the ssh client I was using was like the old CRT terminals and had black background with colored foreground fonts. Once I figured that out I changed everything I can to this format of dark background and never looked back.

I've also noticed as I get tired my dyslexia really kicks in, I start to ask my wife "Is this word spelled right?" and even with spell check I second guess it's suggestions because the words don't "look right". It's strange I can't tell you the letters are swapped or not, I just feel like cognitive dissonance has kicked in.

Dyslexia is hard to explain, if you've ever had that feeling where you were talking along and all of a sudden couldn't remember the name of an old friend or something and your train of thought just collapses on this one issue, maybe even you find yourself embarrassed or a feeling of tunnel vision falls over you. This is exactly how I feel, stupid, what's wrong why can't I read this word, I must be an idiot. I've struggled with this feeling all my life, it permeates my life and I have to battle it almost daily. I know I'm not stupid, but growing up unable to read like my classmates and having teachers tell me I'm an idiot did not help much on this front. I think the hardest thing about dyslexia is that until you know you have it and until others believe it you end living in this horrible self doubting and self deprecating world convinced there is something wrong with you and that you're an idiot. This is the secret pain of dyslexia...

I was told in High School that I could never be a programmer because my short-term memory and dyslexia would make it impossible for me to be successful. I was devastated because I was already coding in BASIC on a TRS-80 Model I and having so much success, for once I had found a thing I could type wrong things into over and over and not be judged. Then when I got it right it would just "work". No judgement, no "SYNTAX ERROR AGAIN YOU IDIOT". For the first time in my life I felt accepted and smart, I could code for days and build amazing things. But, being told I couldn't do it killed me, I spent days in a haze and then one day it hit me. The person who told me that was the idiot, not me, they weren't programming, I was already doing it, and better than anyone at my entire school. So luckily for me I ignored that and went on to enjoy 35 years of being in technology, writing any language I desire and mastering anything I put my mind to.

In the end dyslexia is just a thing, like all of us we are dealt a hand of cards in this life from random genetic expressions to accidents and horrible people who put us down while we are growing up. It's up to us to overcome, to push through and make the best of all the tools we were given in that random lotto and try very hard to learn along the way and hopefully find some love while doing it all.


My new salt generator.


The disabling aspects of Dyslexia are correctable and can be overcome.


Feel like backing that up with some actual information or resources?


This is not dyslexia. It is both a curse and a gift.

It is extremely misunderstood. This only makes that point more apparent.

Dylexia is a gift, once you understand how to adapt.

This project is quite stupid.


I'd be very interested to hear more about how it is after one has adapted.


I for one tend to flip numbers around in my head so I never rely on them. This turns out is a good way to make sure that any mathematical calculations you do are correct as I am always double and triple checking them. Einstein also had it and it might of aided him in the same way.


I wrote a Chrome extension which demonstrates Typoglycemia by scrambling the words on whatever webpage you are on. It's similar to the OP's webpage but does not produce a constantly changing page of words.

You can find it here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/word-welter/ahmpgo...


(First post so apologies if i've not got the rules right). As a dyslexic myself I'd like to know if any other dylexics speed read and if they do, do they do it by default. I hear myself reading and thus the speed is the speed of someone talking. I found https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11162927 interesting and wondered about the crossover with dyslexia. Personally I suspect there are a few different flavours of dyslexia - I don't have words move about for me. What I would love to see is a spellchecker done correctly - remembering arbitrary spellings is hard because they are arbitrary. I want a spell checker that tells me the word is wrong and shows me which letters I should be adding / subtracting to get the right spelling. Autocorrect just holds me back from being a better speller. I'm also convinced I'm a much better developer for having dyslexia - far more leftfield than most.




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