Given that people spend more time on mobile applications than ever before, it is time for mobile app developers and designers to account for neurodiversity within the online space. Neurodiversity is a natural part of human evolution, and neurodivergent people offer unique talents and insights to the world. Going forward, the advent of inclusive mobile apps creates an opportunity to help this neurodiverse audience better navigate software and increase their visibility and representation in public arenas.

What Is Neurodiversity?

Put simply, neurodiversity is the concept that everyone's brain functions differently. In the past, people with conditions like ADHD and autism were often misunderstood, even considered to have something wrong with them. However, the idea of neurodiversity states that brain function and behavioral traits are simply the results of the beautiful genetic diversity that exists within nature.

The concept of neurodivergency essentially aims to reclassify disorders like ADHD and autism as alternative ways to process the world. In which case, neurodivergency is not better or worse than any other point of view, simply different. Unfortunately, these points of view are not always embraced by the processes and expectations of society, which can make daily life difficult for neurodiverse demographics. That’s why there is a growing movement to prioritize accessibility and promote inclusivity across the board. 

Creating an Inclusive Society

Although neurodivergency is sometimes considered uncommon, there are more neurodiverse people than you may initially think. The truth is, about 15% of the population is neurodivergent, and some studies have estimated this number to be as high as 40%. What this means is, if your team is composed of 100 people, anywhere from 15 to 40 of them likely fall within the spectrum of neurodivergency.

As the concept of neurodivergency leaks into the realm of collective consciousness, people are creating a more welcoming world for those who may think or behave differently. Gradually, entrepreneurs and creators are beginning to implement neurodiversity design techniques to transform the workplace. For example, neurodivergent people are often more sensitive to spatial design elements like texture, noise, and lighting. Business owners accommodate these needs by creating quiet, calm places for neurodivergent people to work without feeling overstimulated by the environment.

Similar changes can be implemented with the power of technology. As a mobile app and web development company we spoke with our audience on Twitter and discovered that children with autism and Global Developmental Delay were experiencing challenges when it came to managing time. So we chose to develop an inclusive solution with the mobile app Fun Time Timer, which is designed to be a welcoming and low-stress time-tracking option for neurodivergent children.

While neurodiverse audiences may face challenges, they also offer unique talents and perspectives when they are allowed to shine. For instance, dyslexia is considered by many to be a learning disability that can interfere with a standard education. However, the 700 million people with dyslexia offer their own strengths, like enhanced creativity and improved pattern recognition.

In our increasingly digital and interactive world, we are presented with a chance to not only accommodate but celebrate these differences. Do you have a mobile app idea that can make the world a better place for neurodiverse people? Bring your vision to life with the advice below.

Mobile App Design Tips for a Neurodiverse Audience


While the font is a critical element of the overall aesthetic of your mobile app, it becomes even more crucial when you are designing an app for a neurodiverse audience. Consider the following as you choose your font:

  • Sans serif typefaces are preferred. Sans serif fonts are the most common choice for body text on mobile apps, and they are also the ideal choice for dyslexic users. Serif fonts can make it challenging for a neurodivergent person to differentiate between letters like p and q or d and b. A few of the best typefaces are Arial, Lato, or Open Sans. Although many designers dread Comic Sans, it's a good choice if you're designing a mobile application for people with dyslexia.
  • Create space with your text. If you insist on using a serif font, it will be more effective if only used for the headings. In addition, you should increase the kerning between letters. This is especially important if your app is designed for users with ADHD.
  • Increase the font size. The font size plays a significant role in your mobile app's usability, both for people with vision impairment and neurodiverse users. Consider using a font that is no smaller than 16pt. For optimal success, remember that the heading should be about 20% larger than the body text.


When designing a mobile app for a neurodiverse audience, using clear and concise language is instrumental to your success. In many cases, UX writers fear that plain language will decrease their perceived authority. However, writing with simple language doesn't need to impact the professionalism of your tone. The truth is, straightforward language makes it easier to connect with people who may have ADHD or dyslexia. Keep these tips in mind when you're writing for neurodivergent people:

  • Use an active voice: Writing in an active voice makes your writing more accessible for everyone, not only people with neurodivergence. Why? Because writing in a passive voice usually increases the length of each sentence and decreases comprehension. As a result, users with ADHD will find it challenging to maintain focus and those with dyslexia will have increased difficulties reading.
  • Don't use metaphors: If you're creating a mobile app for users on the autism spectrum, metaphors are your worst enemy. People with autism have challenges understanding flowery language, figures of speech, and idioms, so avoid these written flourishes.
  • Format your writing: Even neurotypical people find large walls of text off-putting, but this effect magnifies for those with ADHD. Blocks of text can make it challenging for neurodivergent people to maintain focus, so break up your copy wherever possible. Try using bullet points to create space within your text.
  • Use descriptive buttons: The purpose of every button on your app must be clearly stated. Instead of writing "Click Here," state the function of each button. For example, it would be better to include buttons like Register Here or Download Extension. Specifying the function of each button reduces the chance that users will feel overwhelmed or confused.

Color Palette

When developing a mobile app design friendly to people living with autism, a soft color palette is your best choice. Neurodivergent audiences are prone to overstimulation, and bright colors only increase the likelihood of this. Studies have shown that children on the autism spectrum generally prefer colors like brown or green rather than intense colors like yellow.

When GA Architects studied the relationship between different colors and the physical environment among children on the spectrum, they found that calming, soft colors were preferable over other options. Neurodivergent children were most comfortable with colors like green and blue. Saturation and brightness also play a role. To decrease stimulation and distraction, ensure that the color palette you're working with isn't fully saturated.

Color also plays an important role if you're designing an app for users with dyslexia. A traditional black-and-white color palette makes it challenging for people with dyslexia to discern words and letters. Like people on the autism spectrum, those with dyslexia may prefer a color palette with less contrast. For example, studies have shown that dyslexic users find information easier to comprehend when presented with a pale pink and red color palette.

Sensory Stimulation

On the other hand, people with ADHD may prefer a higher amount of stimulation to maintain focus, so consider your target audience carefully when designing your mobile app. That said, there are mobile app design techniques that you can use to maintain balance and create an optimally inclusive environment.

  • Avoid excessive animations. Overstimulation will cause anxiety for people on the autism spectrum, which can incite a meltdown, withdrawal, or even physical pain. Something that may be a mere nuisance to someone who is neurotypical can incite significant stress in someone with autism. Only incorporate animation when it is gentle or functional.
  • Don't use autoplay. We've all been surprised by autoplay before, but this stimulation is highly unsettling for a neurodivergent audience. Users with autism will become overwhelmed, and people with ADHD will become distracted. 
  • Incorporate captions and subtitles. Often, neurodiverse users have challenges deciphering the meaning of visuals or sound alone. Make your message clear with subtitles for video content and captions with each image.


Want to ensure that your software or mobile app is inclusive for a diverse audience? We can help.

Since 2007, our team at CodigoDelSur has helped nearly 200 US-based startups design and develop a wide range of mobile apps and websites. Our team of software developers leverages their technical expertise and knowledge of usability, engagement, and growth hacking to scale your business exponentially. These 100+ designers and coders know how to apply their knowledge to create innovative, cutting-edge digital products and were selected for the CodigoDelSur team based on their talent, thirst for knowledge, and supreme dedication to their craft.

Through the consistent creation of stunning, functional websites and mobile applications, CodigoDelSur is rising to the forefront of our industry. We're always ready to apply the latest developments in new, exciting technologies for your brand and create valuable, engaging user experiences that will keep your customers coming back for more.

Are you interested in developing a mobile app for a neurodiverse audience? Contact our team today and find out how we can revolutionize your brand's digital experience!