Recently I read an article that Mike Paciello had shared that talked about some of the accessibility concerns around catering for folk who have dyslexia.

Naively I had always assumed that if you cater for folk with colour blindness and the visually impaired that you were making your website better for everyone, but this isn't so. People with dyslexia can normally read better with a slightly lower contrast and font choice can play a large role in how easy someone is able to comprehend what is written on screen.

The article mentioned two fonts in particular which had been designed from the ground up to be easier for dyslexic folk to read, although it should be noted the article also mentions that one study shown no improvement when using these fonts;

  • The Dyslexie Font, this is a paid for font with different payment options depending on how you want to use it. They do offer a free plugin for your website that people can use to click a button to swap out the current font for the dyslexie font.
  • OpenDyslexic, this is a free and open source font put out under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. They do ask that you provide a link to their site if you use it, which seems fair enough!

Normally one of the really nice side effects of designing with accessibility in mind is that the end result is normally better for everyone, my feeling is that these fonts aren't going to be better for everyone. Personally I found the font a little jarring when reading lots of text, it felt like it was slowing me down (the same way comic-sans does), which of course is kind of the point of the font.

I would be very keen to hear from dyslexics to see if they find general reading on the web hard and to see if they find the linked fonts any easier to read (sample text).

I would also love to hear from folk who aren't dyslexic to hear their opinions on reading the linked fonts (sample text).

For more information on dyslexia you can check out the British Dyslexia Association's website which has decided not to use different fonts.

Why not read some more of our Accessibility posts?