The Dyslexie Font makes reading easier for people with dyslexia


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/30/the-dyslexie-font-makes-readin.html


#2

Be aware that it’s not free. They quoted me about £90 for 1 home user. I guess I’m sticking to freesans.


#3

I still prefer Lexie Readable. The regular and bold fonts are free for individual/educational/charity uses, but the italics and commercial licence cost £15.


#4

The individual letters looked weird, however, the block of text read really smoothly for me; and I’m not even Dyslexic! :smiley:


#5

I’ve woken up a bit more, and the opiates haven’t kicked in yet, so I’m a bit better at wordsmithing.

BoingBoing’s Happy Mutants tend to be on the side of Free Culture (since you’re reading this, I don’t even need to say “free as in…”). I, for one, am here because XKCD linked to Free Culture by Lessig, who gives a shoutout to Cory publishing his books CC.

In that context, I don’t believe that the person selling a 90 quid licence to a typeface is trying to make the world better for dyslexics.

There’s plenty of commentary BB could have put on this; rentseeking, the additional costs of disability, but I’m gonna look a little at IP rights at uni.

The article said the maker built this as a graduation project. English unis ( don’t know about his) make a partial claim in any copyrights or patents you generate as part of your studies. This may have lead to some malicious compliance from the CS students who include just enough GPL code to claim that they’re bound by contract to not release it as prop code.

Anyway, there’s a chance that his institution is getting a slice of the pie, and might have persuaded him to sell it with locks and chains.

I’ve moved way off the original point, the opiates might be kicking in.


#6

All the best.


#7

There is absolutely no good evidence that these fonts actually do anything to help the dyslexic population at large in any way. I would love to link you to all the studies that show no effect but nobody is going to read those. Let’s start small with the first google link https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/dyslexia/dyslexia-friendly-font

and then we’ll move to an actual journal article for an example of how to check the claims of such a font: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs11881-017-0154-6.pdf

Anyone who wants to charge any kind of money to license a font that makes such claims should be scrutinized a bit more than this.


#8

Yeah. I’m going to give Open Dyslexie a try, and if it is no good for me, then I’ve not wasted money.


#9

I haven’t read these, but it turns out pretty much ANY change of fonts will work for someone with dyslexia but the effects are shortlived.

Dyslexia, from my recall (educational shrink, but I focus on the institutions not individuals), is more of an attentional disorder than visual, which may be why it is more comorbid with ADHD than other disorders. I’ve been diagnosed with dyslexia since an early age and almost everything single thing folks try to say about dyslexia seems absolutely wrong – but ends up being a great analogy for folks without it (i.e., describe colors to someone visually impaired…you will be wrong, but you might get through to them what is missing). Things like this font focus on the myths and analogies of dyslexia far more than the actual causes.

That said, anytime I’m proofreading anything, I create a new word document, change the fonts to something completely different, and the errors are almost always instantly obvious. I.e., the effects of what dyslexie does shortterm.


#10

This is fascinating! I’m not sure i’ve ever come across this phenomenon as you describe it (the fact that changing fonts has a short term effect) but, given what I know about dyslexia, it definitely seems more than plausible. Although the symptoms and severity of dyslexia can differ quite a lot among people diagnosed with it, I wonder A) what proportion of sufferers might actually experience such a boost from changing fonts and B) how many people have actually discovered that this might help.

Can I ask, where did you first learn to do this? was it your own experimentation or was it a strategy you learned about somewhere?


#11

I’ll bet it helps a lot of people. Dyslexic fonts provide all sorts of additional letter shape clues by varying weights and angles. Some people just need a bit of extra guidance. I know a few dyslexics. One is an MD and the other an avid reader, so I know that it is possible to brain around it, but having a bit of extra help like a good font is excellent.


#12

I’m here because XKCD use Cory as a punchline and that got me interested.
Am a dyslexic and the only thing that really makes a difference (other than just reading a shit load of books) is not a font but the single word at a time like spritz (https://www.spritz.com/), only draw back is starting and stopping but if you want to power through something this can be great.

And because no one else has:Dyslexics Untie!


#13

I ended up going to a psychiatrist that focused on learning disabilities as a kid. Almost all the tricks taught were ways to focus attention – but often wrapped up in pseudoscience. For instance, I had plastic overlays that were in specific colors that could help read a specific line. Red was said to be the best by reducing the ‘flipping in other cones’ (filtering green and blue). And then a few years later a mirror prism thingie that would flip the words upside down and we were told it helped ‘reweight’ the words – which is one of the areas of bullshit in this font thing. Nope. In both cases, these were designed to affect attention so that we were more selective. I probably have a hundred more examples from my childhood, but those are the two things I remember right now.

The thing is, neurology is getting better and better at ‘proving’ what is happening as opposed to all the guesswork that had happened and helped build up the myths. Like the weighted font anchoring words to the ground. It’s bullshit. And the funny thing is, there are some folks that will argue without hesitation that they are absolutely right and that it is working for them, even though studies show they are learning better otherwise. I had to deal with early childhood learning in gradschool and remember the recall exercises. The ability to recall comes from novel signal sources. Change something and you will remember – and pay attention more. It is why highlighters exist. And why they don’t work the way most college students use them.

And that was why I learned to do my own experiments. There are things that I still do that I know have absolutely no scientific basis…but they work for me. And yet, I know they don’t! So I get why folks stick to wanting to find solutions that are suboptimal.


#14

Or you could just use the original font that was designed for dyslexics: Comic Sans.
I am dyslexic, but weirdly I’ve never had any problems with reading, so I can’t much say if this font would help or not.


#15

No it wasn’t. It was designed for Microsoft Bob, but it was finished too late so it was put in 3D Movie Maker and the Windows 95 Plus pack. It is badly flawed for some dyslexics as b,d,p and q lack clear differentiation if you flip or rotate them, especially at smaller sizes. 6 and 9 have the same problem.

That said, if Comic Sans works for you then don’t stop using it. but it isn’t the perfect solution that some people claim it is.


#16

No matter how good or bad the typeface design is there is no legislating for the use it is put to, too great or too narrow a margin, alignment, spacing between characters and lines, upper and lower case (let alone title and camel case) can all affect the legibility of any font. And by legibility this is probably poorly defined and used as the speed with which something is read, it should perhaps be measured by comprehension.


#17

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