I was a little surprised to see a post on eSchool News earlier this month that invited me to ‘Check out the cool font that changes online text for students with dyslexia’.
Surely a cynic might cite that any different font changes text for any given reader so why would Dyslexie be almost pitched in an article as a cure-all for those with dyslexia?
Creator of the Dyslexie font, Christian Boer told eSchool News, by making each letter distinct and unique, and by adding extra space between letters it helps to cut down on reversing, flipping, and swapping letters.
In the example of the font below, taken from the Dyslexie website, it claims to be the font for people with dyslexia. Now it might be a case of over abundant caution on behalf of the designer, but if a font could help readers with dyslexia would you not say that?
Of course you would, so I decided to dig a little deeper. I found that Dyslexie has a Wikipedia page that seems relatively unbiased and links to two studies one by Rello & Baeza-Yates 2013, which mentions Dyslexie but ultimately excluded it from their study opting for OpenDyslexic instead, and Leeuw de, Renske 2013, that did include the font.
The latter compared Dyslexie to Arial, and via a woefully inadequate number of subjects determined, that no significant difference in speed was measured, but there were some positive and negative effects found for the interaction font and dyslexia on the accuracy for reading words and non-words.
The conclusion, Reading with the font “Dyslexie” does not improve the reading speed for reading words. However some specific type of reading errors are decreased, but others are increased. Overall the dyslectics read fewer errors while reading the words printed in the font “Dyslexie”. Further research in needed to examine the hypotheses that the reading speed and accuracy increases while reading texts that are printed in the font “Dyslexie”.
So it would appear that with two studies on two designed fonts there is no improvement on reading speed and maybe a few less errors. That is not enough for me to say that this is the panacea for students and their educators, but due to sample size it’s not enough for me to say it isn’t either. As one frustrated parent commented below the eSchool News article and other negative comments, ‘How hard is it to try’?
Individual users and educators can install it for free. Once installed, the font displays on computers and the internet.
Manage your students, schedule classes and report on progress in Oases.