When Trustworthy Information Becomes Inaccessible: The Search Behaviour of Users with Dyslexia in an Online Encyclopedia


Publication date



IOS Press

Document type


The ability to search for trustworthy information has become increasingly important. Access to information is key for a democratic, inclusive society. However, poorly designed search user interfaces exclude certain user groups. For instance, search systems with high demands for correctly spelled queries have been reported to be challenging for people with reading and spelling difficulties, such as dyslexia. In a qualitative pre-study, four adults with dyslexia were interviewed about their search experiences in an encyclopedia with low tolerance for spelling errors. The participants regarded the encyclopedia as highly credible and preferred using this source for factual queries. Nevertheless, the users with dyslexia were highly dependent on Google due to high spelling demands in the encyclopedia search interface. Although the participants found relevant information on Google, they reported the search process as tiresome, since the result list assessment required a significant amount of reading. In contrast, searching the encyclopedia provided direct access to neutral, evaluated information, thus removing the evaluation phase. Moreover, searching was frequently associated with feelings such as fatigue, frustrations and failure. Results from this study imply that search user interface design affects the information searching behavior of people with dyslexia.




Permanent URL (for citation purposes)

  • https://hdl.handle.net/10642/6880