Nearly everyone has heard of dyslexia and the old term when it was called ‘word blindness’. What is amazing is the number of people who suffer from dyslexia without realising and find schooling difficult because of the condition being undiagnosed. One of the key areas of the problem is sufferers find most fonts in everyday use difficult to read. After some considerable investment in time and energy a graphic designer, who is dyslexic developed a new font that addresses many of the key issues associated with ‘conventional’ fonts.
The letters of Dyslexie font are designed so that every letter is unique in its own form, capitals are bolder than normal and the letter spacing and word spacing are increased. Critically this makes font is easier to read and reduces the tendency for a dyslexic reader to merge two sentences because they have missed the start of the second sentence.
The easier to read font could be adopted by anyone. Its unique features being readily seen by us all can help significantly in school. This is especially relevant with children who remain undiagnosed or have a mild form of the condition. Equally it will not be seen as an aid for dyslexia or create a stigma with its usage.
But it is not just children who will benefit. A sufferer at any age will see the benefits of the font. We put it to the test, firstly with a senior executive in an IT company who remained undiagnosed with the condition for the first 44 years of his life. We then chose a university undergraduate aged 23 years old who was first diagnosed at an early stage. Finally we approached a special needs instructor.
Feedback to the Use of Dyslexia Font Dyslexie.
The two participants were selected as a father and son team. It is known that there is a 50 per cent hereditary link if one parent is dyslexic, increasing to 80 per cent if both parents are dyslexic. It also proved the font has benefits to a mature individual who has been suffering for some years.
User Profiles: Christopher Williams: IT Consultant
Jonathan Williams: Final year Student B.Sc.
Chris Williams -Director and Strategist for large IT company. Current age: 62 years old.
Difficulty with regard to assimilating written information and instructions and as a result has employed a number of strategies and tactics to overcome this problem. Key issue is remembering the last paragraph of a document that I have read regardless of what font or font size is used.
Jonathan Williams – Final Year student of B.Sc. Degree in Creative Music Production and sound recording engineering. Current age 23 years old.
Diagnosed being dyslexic from an early age by school and referred to child psychologist. Dyspraxic as well as Dyslexic although the problems with being Dyslexic are far greater.
Joint Observations- Font Dyslexie regular, bold & text (1)
The Dyslexie Type face is a lot easier to read and therefore copy (text) and content and associated meaning comes across lot quicker with regard to understanding overall message. From the soft copy manual that we were sent containing all examples of the font we can make the following comments:
The ability to convert any presentation copy to Dyslexie font would offer a distinct advantage with regard to reading and making sense of any imported written material. Equally being able to use the font for presentation material may help convey a far simpler look and feel to any exported presentation material
Biggest advantage for both of us is the ability to make it clear to read copy and therefore encourage us to read and make sense at the same time rather than having to re-read or skip vital pieces of information which we have missed on the first read through when using a common font used for printing.
Word spacing and letter spacing improves the ability to read copy that is equally that much easier to understand and make sense of content.
Neither of us suffer from letter turning or word mirroring, more we jump words and insert other words in their place adding to a completely different meaning to what is being written as to what we have interpreted. We are also mindful we tend to word skip when reading body copy/text.
This problem can be overcome by re reading the same copy several times over and taking notes to ensure our understanding is correct. That is not a problem when studying but can be when working in business where you need to assimilate information quickly to make sense of it to then allow you to make comment on content
The font is certainly easy to use for reading and the double spacing helps considerably with word recognition. With dyslexia the biggest problem is how to encourage and motivate someone to read more. A ‘Catch 22’ situation by all accounts whereby the very problem with regarding reading and word recognition is caused by the difficulty in making sense of the copy in the first place. Consequently one of the strategies to combat dyslexia is to read more. Therefore anything that can be done to make the copy more reader friendly will encourage someone with dyslexia to read more.
When designing the typeface Christian Boer set nine rules in the concept of the design:
Totally agree. Most dyslexic people will interpret letters (that in turn make up words within the body copy) that they then read completely differently. So the reader is prone to misinterpret what the copy is actually stating in terms of content and context. This then leads to the typical reaction that a dyslexic student will answer an exam question with the completely wrong answer but believing it to be the right one. The reason that more schools, colleges and universities are allowing dyslexic students additional time to read the question so they fully understand both the content and context.
Totally agree. The average person with mild to medium dyslexia will rush through a passage skipping words. Back to our observations in rule 1 so body copy content and context misinterpreted. This also explains issues to do with word retention and why most dyslexic people have poor short term recall of written work.
Totally agree. Anything that can be done within copy layout or style that slows the reader down and allows focus and concentration on each word will make a considerable difference to making sense of a sentence or paragraph
Totally agree. Once more in line with our comments for rules 1 through 3 on the previous slide. Anything that can be done in terms of improving the ability to make it easier to read copy is helpful. Back to our earlier point with regard the ability to slow the reader down by using use a number of techniques within the font copy style and layout that that does just that.
Totally agree. Clarity with regard letters and words and a different style from normal fonts makes a big difference all-round.
Totally agree. The issue with regard how to make words stand out from the page is so important. A dyslexic person tends to read very fast which results in word skipping as opposed to speed reading, a big difference in terms of how information is then understood and equally open to misinterpretation.
Totally agree. As with previous comments to rules 1 through 6 the ability to use a font that makes the letter clearer and lessens the probability to go into speed reading mode and resulting word skipping
Totally agree. Similar comments to rule 7 above apply relative to tactics and techniques used to force the reader to slow down is of great help. Also takes away any momentary loss of concentration which also adds to short term memory problems and the need to go back over text to ensure you understand what you have read versus what has been said.
Comments and observations with regard to text treatment plan.
Totally agree with the fact that paragraphs need to be broken up into smaller units. Worse offenders are articles written by IT subject matter experts , scientists and engineers. Best articles are written by PR and advertising executives and so they should be considering they are in the communication industry!
In addition good broad sheet newspaper articles and editorial features and comments provide an excellent way of breaking up information into bite size chunks to create impact and effect.
Agree with comments about long sentences. This is very much about clarity and brevity of message. Suggest you may also want to read a book called ‘Students Must Write’ by Robert Barrass ISBN 0-415-13222-3 that covers the very issues you have addressed. Agree with your comments about page layout and space to allow the reader to differentiate between body copy and visual. Agree with your comments with regard to text and text block arrangements
We both agree with your comments about the font size used matched to age groups. Would also add too that font size depends on the presentation format being used whether it is word page layout or power point.
We both agree with your comments about reading from a screen versus reading from a printed document. For any large document we both print off and read rather than attempting to read direct from the screen.
To access the Dyslexie font and see the range of educational products that utilise the new font take a look here www.lexiemousedesign.com