If you have dyslexia, this website can show your friends what reading is actually like.

If you stumbled upon Victor Widell's website, you might think your computer was experiencing some technical difficulties.

GIF via Widell's website.


But you'd be wrong.

The letters within each word on the site are scrambled and moving around erratically, and although you might be able to read each sentence if you slow down and focus, it's no walk in the park.

Widell designed it that way on purpose.

It's a glimpse into what someone who has dyslexia might have to deal with every day.

GIF via Widell's website.

"A friend who has dyslexia described to me how she experiences reading," Widell writes on his site (excerpt above), which has spread across the Internet in recent days. "She can read, but it takes a lot of concentration, and the letters seem to 'jump around.'"

Seeing letters "jump around" is a common experience among (the very large number of) people who have dyslexia.

The condition — which you might also hear referred to as developmental reading disorder (DRD) — isn't a defect in a person's ability to think or focus, nor is it at all reflective of someone's intelligence (an unfortunate misconception).

Dyslexia occurs when there's a problem in the area of the brain that interprets language, as the National Library of Medicine points out. And it may affect more people than many of us realize.

Dyslexia is still underdiagnosed and kids in communities of color are disproportionately affected. Photo by Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images.

About 20% of the total population is affected by dyslexia according to The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, yet many remain undiagnosed and secretly battle this "hidden disability" without proper help.

"While there are numerous curricula and programs designed to increase literacy, dyslexia is often overlooked when searching for causes of illiteracy," the center explains, noting black and Latino students are more likely to go undiagnosed, seeing as the disorder flies even more under the radar in urban schools.

Given that about 1 in 5 of people live with dyslexia, it's no wonder Widell's website is striking a chord with plenty of people online.

His work to help nondyslexic people empathize with those who have DRD isn't the first empathetic take on dyslexia to go viral though.

Back in 2014, Dutch designer Christian Boer created a dyslexic-friendly font for folks like himself.

The font, called Dyslexie, not only helps people with dyslexia, it also helps those who don't live with it to better understand how similar-looking letters within a standardized alphabet can be a big bottleneck to those who do.

GIF via Dyslexie Font/Vimeo.

The letters in Dyslexie may look like any other letters, but they have key characteristics, like exaggerated stick and tail lengths (on letters like "j" or "b") and heavy base lines. These subtle but important factors help to differentiate letters that may seem similar in appearance to someone who has dyslexia.

Take the letters "h" and "n," for example. They sort of look a bit alike, right? Dyslexie's "h" has a longer ascender and its "n" has a shorter one.

GIF via Dyslexie Font/Vimeo.

"When they're reading, people with dyslexia often unconsciously switch, rotate, and mirror letters in their minds," Boer told Dezeen magazine in 2014. "Traditional typefaces make this worse because they base some letter designs on others, inadvertently creating 'twin letters' for people with dyslexia."

In the same vein as Dyslexie, Widell's site aims to help those without the condition know what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes.

Widell's website, of course, doesn't give someone the authority to know what dyslexia is like if they don't have the disorder themselves.

As The Independent noted, people who have dyslexia experience it differently and through various symptoms. Widell's site can't possibly simulate the one and only experience of someone who has dyslexia because there isn't a one and only experience.

Still, the outlet notes, it's "a great way to give people a taste of the difficulties faced."

"Nothing will ever show [people who don't have dyslexia] exactly how it truly feels to read while dyslexic," one Redditor who claims to have the disorder pointed out about Widell's site. "But this is damn close."

To learn more about how Dyslexie works, check out the video below:

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
via Kim Kardashian West / Twitter

It's not hard for most people to make fun of the Kardashians. But this week it got even easier after Kim tweeted she took a birthday getaway to Tahiti with her friends and family — during a deadly pandemic.

"After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time," she tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
India Marshall

A woman's story of how a surgeon handled her braids during a head surgery has gone viral, not just for the thoughtful actions of the doctor, but for what it shows about the importance of representation in medicine.

India Marshall posted her heartwarming story on Twitter:

"So y'all know how I said I woke up from surgery w/more braids in my head than I came in w/and I thought it was the black nurses? I found out today at my post op appt that the surgeon (he's black) did it," she wrote. "He said he has 3 little girls & they have wash day... I almost cried."

Keep Reading Show less
via Ted-Ed / YouTube

Trees are one of the most effective ways to fight back against climate change. Like all plants, trees consume atmospheric carbon through photosynthesis then store it in their wood tissue and in the surrounding soil.

They work as an organic vacuum to remove the billions of pounds of carbon dioxide that humans have dumped into the atmosphere over the past century.

So, if trees are going to be part of the war on climate change, what strategies should we use to make the best use of their amazing ability to repair the Earth? How can we be sure that after planting these trees they are protected and don't become another ecological victim of human greed?

Keep Reading Show less