Does New “Dyslexic Font” Make a Difference?


Image: Courtesy of Christian Boer

I’ve heard of this before and can’t quite make up my mind about it. This article in Scientific American describes a typographic font created by a graphic designer from the Netherlands, that supposedly makes reading print easier for some people with dyslexia. I suppose if it’s helpful to some then more power to it. I’ve tried it on a few kids I work with and they don’t see or feel any impact yet.

I’d love to hear from others, particularly if you have dyslexia.

About Sanford

Learning Disabilities specialist and Educational Consultant
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2 Responses to Does New “Dyslexic Font” Make a Difference?

  1. Judy Kistler-Robinson says:

    I just read about this Dyslexie font in an article about making web sites accessible to people with dyslexia and vision impairments.
    ( uxmag.com/articles/quickpanel-dyslexia)

    The font was one of many approaches, including plain writing and web page design that is clean and doesn’t have many distractions. I’m a former colleague of Richard’s (From Forman) and was curious if he or the LD community had any further information on this. Since I see no other comments here, I guess not.

  2. Richard says:

    Hey Judy, glad to hear from you.

    I tried the font for a while and while I can see how it might make a difference, I don’t think enough real research has been done to see if it really does. It didn’t seem to make any difference for me although I’m so used to reading with “regular” typefaces and I’m old enough so that I’m not a good subject.

    What the font is supposed to help with: letter differentiation and tracking, needs to be studied with FMRI or something like that and to my knowledge, that kind of research hasn’t been done yet.

    So, I see no problem in folks using it and if it helps them, great. But, I see a real problem in talking about it as a sure thing before we see some serious research.

    I use a product called Instapaper which is a very nice web and app-based tool for reading things later and, for reformatting cluttered web pages into easier to read form. It’s a great service.

    So, if I find an article online that I want to read, say one from the New Yorker, I get it on screen and click a button on my browser (no doubt a small javascript) that takes the content and sends it to Intapaper (even multi-page articles), and in the process strips out all the ads and crap and such.

    When I launch Instapaper, in a browser or on a mobile device though an app, I see the article as I might a book in iBooks. I can change the type, type size, and more.

    The author of Instapaper, Marco Arment, put the “Dyslexie” font in the product before he sold it and as an Instapaper user, I’ve read quite a bit of content with that font to try it out.

    It did nothing for me that I know of. No formal testing, just personal experimentation.

    Even after all the stuff I did at Forman, I actually prefer to read in a sans-serif typeface like Helvetica or Lucida Grande. Go figure.

    Great to hear from you Judy, glad to see you’re still thinking about this stuff.

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