Problem Solving with Design: A Typeface Designed to Help Dyslexics Read Better

January 15, 2015 by Curran & Connors

Dyslexie is a typeface designed specifically to help those with dyslexia read more easily.

A developmental reading disorder that causes the reader to improperly recognize and process letters and symbols, dyslexia is estimated to affect 10% of the population. Suffering from dyslexia himself, designer Christian Boer created the typeface to address the structural characteristics of traditional typefaces that cause dyslexic readers to struggle when reading type.

Traditional typefaces, such as Helvetica, are balanced and uniform, often repeating similar structures for neatness and consistency. Unfortunately, this consistency prevents dyslexic readers from differentiating the similar letters which are often flipped, rotated and mirrored in their heads.

dysl-letters

Dyslexie addresses this by using a heavy baseline that naturally tells the reader which way is up, while alternating the stick and tail lengths, larger openings and semi-cursive slants to create uniqueness for each letter-form. The uniqueness of each letter allows the reader to understand more quickly which letter he or she is looking at. Dyslexie was also created with aesthetics in mind, blending optimal reading comfort with a professional and clean appearance.

The font has recently been released for free and can be implemented as a browser plugin or into an entire operating system. In an issue of Slate magazine, Boer was quoted as saying that since June, when his font became available for free via his Web site, 12,000 people have already downloaded it.

Representative research by Boer and the University of Amsterdam also shows the use of Dyslexie improves the reading performance of adults and children with dyslexia, with the ability to read faster at an 84.3% increase and an ability to read with fewer mistakes at a 77.8% increase among children who took the survey.



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