Reading, Dyslexia, and Typefaces

The following is prompted by seeing Adrian Roselli’s blog posts (see below) on this topic crop up again.

Something that’s cropping up semi-regularly in my research for the reader (or Ink, whatever) is the fact that the benefit of fonts for dyslexia generally aren’t supported by research, at least not to the degree that you can confidently make product design decisions. In some cases ~50% of readers think their reading has improved when it objectively hasn’t.

Also, the core thesis behind these designs, that all readers with dyslexia see letters flip or rotate is pretty controversial and, even if true, only counteract a subset of issues readers with dyslexia face.

And another thing that seems consistent is that other typographical variables like type size, alignment, contrast, paragraph spacing, line length, serifs, and italics have a greater effect on readability for readers with dyslexia than a specific typeface for dyslexia.

(One likely thesis at this point is that dyslexia is a symptom and the cause can vary enormously.)

It’s important to note that there is considerable controversy around whether or not fonts can provide any benefit for people with dyslexia.

(From “Dyslexia, Fonts & Open Source”)

What is missing from these news reports is scientific evidence that special dyslexia fonts are actually better for dyslexic readers than commonly used fonts


Baldur's Notes @baldur