Links in the presentation.
Designing for dyscalculia poster hosted on the DWP accessibility manual in HTML and PDF
Read the research on the dyscalculia poster
Dyscalculia is underdiagnosed
Plain Numbers report
Use professor Tom Hunt’s maths anxiety opening discussion questions
The dyscalculia network
“I have dyscalculia so I need to check
the numbers I enter at least twice. This
makes me feel nervous on your
“I am dyscalculic, so figures and
number calculations are challenging. I
have just about come to terms with
dealing with HMRC through the internet
and have all my codes filed carefully
and readily to hand. I dread yet another
layer of 'security' being added.”
Living with dyscalculia
Low confidence with numbers gets in the way
What is dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia (dis - cal - coo - lia) is a specific and persistent difficulty in
understanding numbers. People with dyscalculia have:
• poor sense of numbers, number estimation and telling the time
• low mental arithmetic skills
• high level of maths anxiety
• difficulties with working memory (remembering items on a shopping list, phone
numbers, game scores)
Many adults are unaware they have dyscalculia, but know that they ‘struggle with
Dyscalculia is under diagnosed
About 1 in 20 people have dyscalculia in the UK. As a comparison, about 1 in 10 to
20 people have dyslexia.
Low numeracy affects half of the working-age adults in the UK. That’s nearly 17
1 in 5 people say they would avoid jobs that involve frequent use of numbers.
A Financial Conduct Authority 2020 survey found that people who had fallen into
debt felt it might have been avoided if they had understood their options better.
Living with dyscalculia
● Barrier for accessing further education, jobs
● Overpaying for shopping and not spotting mistakes
● Being late and missing appointments
● Missing trains, busses and even flights
● Confusing units of measurement
● Avoiding using cash at all costs
● Keeping count
● Accessing online service
● Embarrassment, anxiousness about numbers, getting ‘found out’
Designing for users with dyscalculia or low
● Raise awareness of dyscalculia
● Make services accessible to people with
● Provide general guidance rather than being
● Provide evidence for people who want to
make design changes
● Hosted on the DWP accessibility manual in
HTML and PDF
I'm working on digital
accessibility at an
accountancy firm and
needed exactly this!
Love this. I'm one of the
one in twenty. I struggle
with all the do not's.
Brilliant to see this. I
think it's the first
guidance I've seen,
which is helpful to
dyscalculia. Great to
raise awareness about
I have dyscalculia and
this is the first design
advice I have ever
seen on it. And I'd say
it's bang on.
I have always struggled
with numbers. Most of
the time, I just can’t get
my head around them
and manual calculations
are a massive struggle.
There is a financial crisis.
People with dyscalculia are disproportionately
Are we doing enough to present
numbers clearly for everyone?
Providing a service
Ways to improve your service for people who
struggle with numbers
Round numbers to the
nearest whole number
Simplifying the numbers by rounding them to
the nearest whole number, helps reduce the
effort it takes for someone to understand your
If your content displays numbers as an exact
amount in money, then using decimals to
show pounds and pence is OK.
Example from a utility bill from the Plain
Leave space around numbers
Research shows that it’s easier for people to
understand content when there are fewer
digits on the page.
Fill in the information you
Do not expect people to remember or repeat
Many people with dyscalculia have issues with
working memory, so remembering numbers is
difficult. Let technology work for users,
especially if you keep information in a system
Use sentences to add
context about numbers
Only use tables or grids if you explain
what the numbers mean.
When numbers are presented in
sentences, people find it easier to
understand utility bills and payment
plans. Adding context helps to make
the meaning clearer.
Example from Plain Numbers report.
Do not rush people to enter
Forcing people to do sums to verify identity is
likely to exclude them. Instead, tell people
about a different way to complete the task
which doesn’t involve entering numbers, like
using face recognition.
Avoid setting time limits because people might
make more attempts to enter numbers
Research with people who
struggle with numbers
Include people with dyscalculia when
researching and testing your product or
service but don’t ask for their help for free.
Some people know they struggle with
numbers but don’t know they have
Use professor Tom Hunt’s maths anxiety
opening discussion questions.
Check out these links
● What is dyscalculia?
● Dyscalculia poster
● Plain Numbers report
● The difference between dyslexia and dyscalculia
● The Dyscalculia Network
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