Dyslexia is a Specific Learning Difficulty of neurobiological origin that affects those linguistic skills associated with writing, reading, short-term memory, perception of order and sequencing.
Dyslexia affects 15% of children and is responsible for 40% of school failure leading to a series of emotional disorders.
Dyslexic children learn differently but are forced to follow an educational system that does not enhance their strengths or motivate them by calling them “dumb or lazy”.
But what about adults?
It is estimated that 5% of the adult population has undiagnosed dyslexia. More than 30 symptoms have been identified in dyslexic adults, but the most common are:
- Difficulty organizing and managing time.
- Poor short-term memory.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Spelling mistakes.
- Slow and not very fluent reading.
- Little comprehension when reading and receiving instructions.
- Problems with mental calculus
How’s their day?
Adults with dyslexia have to deal with daily difficulties assumed as part of their lives that can negatively affect their work and personal lives.
Continuous absent-mindedness, poor memory, difficulty in understanding what they read, order ideas and concepts and the mental chaos in which they are involved, often leads them to suffer anxiety, sleep disorders and low self-esteem among many other symptoms.
Finally your day to day results: STRESSFUL
My goal is to relieve stress and facilitate the tasks of adults with dyslexia through a functional and intuitive app.
With this I do not pretend that my product acts as a “method against dyslexia” since it does not solve the understanding, but it can improve it, therefore I speak of “tool”.
I do a Benchmarking of products related to dyslexia and what I find are mainly detectors through tests and games for children. The only thing I find for adults are exercises to improve cognitive agility which makes me see more open my field of action.
Through a Customer Journey I frame as a journey, a thing as simple as reading a book.
The mood of my user is positive the moment he finds an interesting book to read. The fluctuations start when he reads, jumps from line to line and gets lost. He has just read the first page and realizes that he has understood almost nothing of what he has read and is frustrated. With a positive attitude he tries again and the same thing happens again, increasing his level of frustration. He decides to stop reading and ends up feeling frustrated and powerless.
Many of the dyslexic adults have learned strategies for dealing with the difficulties of dyslexia, but they still have difficulty doing many day-to-day tasks fluently.
My goal now is to look for compensation strategies and for that I have to study my users in depth.
KNOWING MY USERS
The bulk of this project is clearly in the investigation of the users. Empathizing with them, knowing what sensations they have, what emotions they contain, how their path has been and what their relationship with dyslexia is, is what worries me to find the essence of their pain points.
For the surveys I contact a facebook group of adults with dyslexia where I ensure a feedback and along with two personal interviews, I get interesting data:
- 88.5% organize their tasks and 65.5% do it on their own mobile.
- 61.5% use digital clocks although they confuse a.m with p.m.
- 46.2% use alarms to remember tasks
- 50% make a shopping list
- 50% read on their cell phones
But the most important finding is that 76% of users suffer anxiety or stress throughout the day due to the organization of tasks.
In order to get closer to what the user feels and needs, I make three user persons and their corresponding empathy maps. Ivan, Marta and Alejandra. All three have been diagnosed late and have a series of common difficulties and others more individualized and personal. I am interested in knowing what compensation strategies each one develops and how they feel according to what situations.
Empathy maps lead me to notice not only the difficulties, but also a series of virtues that we can find in a generalized way in adults with dyslexia. They are people motivated by curiosity, persevering, reluctant, with a very visual and creative way of thinking. He also emphasizes his empathic capacity and his analysis of people without hardly knowing them. Let’s call it “intuition or sensitivity”.
Thinking about the tools to assess in the MPV, I also stop to analyze the needs of users that I have been able to capture in the empathy maps as they are:
- Help in reading
- Writing Help
- Order in things
- Mind maps
- Visual Elements
- Ease of use
To design the MPV I have to develop functionalities that meet the needs of my users and alleviate their pain points. To do this I develop a value proposition that makes me analyze what values the product will bring to these users.
Once indicated all the possible solutions for these frustrations, using the MOsCoW method I prioritize the options to include in the app. Many of them seem important to me but the selection is necessary because one of the value points of this app is ease of use, good structure and low cognitive load. I decide to put fewer options but that are more resolving.
I analyze the viability of each of them, especially in the economic issue and the difficulty of development. This helps me to discard the options that are more dispensable by staying with me:
- Voice reading
- Reading with Phrase Tagging
- Voice recorder and text converter
- Visual calendar
Apart from these tools I determine that the app must respond to Jacob Nielsen’s 10 laws of usability heuristics, especially the low cognitive load, the minimalist design and a language suitable for the user. Specifically a very simple language and always with visual support.
In this case it is essential that these laws are complied with because precisely these types of users are more vulnerable to designs with bad usability and their frustration can increase rather than reduce it.
I make a site map to represent the final product options that will then help me to see more clearly the structure of the prototype.
It’s time to talk about business and I make a business model based on Lean methodology. My execution strategy is more similar to that of a start up so this type of business model takes me not only to represent the market, but also the product.
- TYPE: The business model I intend to develop for this app is Freemium type, making duality between a free system for one month and another premium with more services at the end of that month.
- SEGMENT: The product is a very clear segment, adults with dyslexia and professionals such as psychologists and pedagogues.
- GOALS: The goal of this product is to help in the organization, reading and writing of people with dyslexia.
- COSTS: The costs generated come mostly from development and integrated APIs.
- REVENUE: The main revenue would come from the price per download at the end of the trial month.
The naming must make clear the objective of this tool and not make reference to the word “dyslexia” so as not to generate negative connotations. DAYtools is the name chosen.
The design moves between a range of blue, green and yellow colors in light tones trying to get a sense of tranquility and friendliness in the user… The basic and predominant colour is white so that the information is not lost and is as visible as possible.
The typography chosen is the Sans-serif Robot in its versions Light, Medium and Bold that is characterized by modernity and accessibility in all types of devices.
Once the design is marked with the style guide, I make a wireflow through Balsamiq to at the same time design and think about the interaction of the screens. I describe the flow where you can appreciate the different paths that the user can take when using the app.
After the wireframes I developed the prototype in Sketch and the interaction in Marvel app. The result is very similar to wireframes although I had to iterate in two screens because the path I had proposed could be reduced in steps.
For more support, I show a series of details of the app that describe more my project through features that give added value to this app.
Functionalities and design that meet my goal of making the app visual, intuitive and usable.
It has been a personal challenge and a very rewarding job to develop this project. I wanted to solve a real user problem through a digital tool.
A subject as delicate as dyslexia made me do a deep study of users and made me empathize with their more personal frustrations.
One of the things that was more complicated for me was prioritizing the options I wanted to include in the app. Analyzing the feasibility of these options has cost me in some cases because I did not have information about all of them and I had to base myself on hypotheses.
Again, I realize that erring and iterating has helped me to end up with a more consistent MVP.
These types of projects show the deep reach that digital products can have.