How to Choose the Best Fonts for Dyslexia

How to Choose the Best Fonts for Dyslexia

Did you know that 5 to 15 percent of Americans—14.5 to 43.5 million children and adults—have dyslexia? This condition falls under numerous classifications, including a reading disability, reading difference, or reading disorder. Fortunately, using the best fonts for dyslexia  on your website can simplify the user experience for people with this dyslexia.

Text still dominates the web, but it can be a barrier for people with dyslexia. Switching to accessible fonts can revolutionize their experience of your site and demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity. This blog offers key insights on how simple font changes can enhance readability and accessibility for people with dyslexia.

The Role of Dyslexic Font in Web Accessibility

When it comes to choosing the easiest font to read for people with dyslexia, several factors come into play, including the style and design of the font, letter spacing, and individual preferences.

Accessibility experts have long touted the use of typefaces with specific characteristics, but there’s still work to do. And companies are devising new ways to differentiate letter shapes. For example, in certain typefaces, words like “urn” and “um” can appear almost identical.

Likewise, letters like “p,” “q,” and “g” can be challenging to distinguish. And everyone has probably struggled to differentiate the capital letter “O” from zero (0) with certain typefaces. Ideally, an accessible font shapes letters with care, making them easy to distinguish. It should also form a visual baseline “anchor” to guide users’ eyes better. So what are the easiest fonts to read for dyslexia, and what benefits do they offer?

6 of the Easiest Fonts to Read for Dyslexia

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, some fonts have been specially designed or are recommended for ease of readability for those with dyslexia. Here are some options:

1. Dyslexie Font

This font was specifically designed for people with dyslexia. Its unique letter shapes and design characteristics aim to minimize flipping and swapping of letters, which can often be a problem for dyslexic readers.

2. OpenDyslexic

Another font created for dyslexic readers, OpenDyslexic offers weighted bottoms to help orient letters and prevent them from being turned upside down. This font is free and open-source.

3. Comic Sans

Comic Sans is a controversial choice for many designers. It isn’t tailor-made for people with disabilities but its unique letter shapes can make it easier for dyslexic readers to distinguish one letter from another.

4. Arial

Arial is a Sans Serif font, which means it lacks the small, decorative strokes that Serif fonts have at the ends of their letters. This can make it easier to read for people with dyslexia.

5. Verdana

Like Arial, Verdana is another Sans Serif font. It offers wide letters and good spacing, which can be beneficial for dyslexic readers.

6. Calibri

This is the default font for Microsoft Word and is a Sans Serif font. It’s modern and easy to read, making it a popular choice for both dyslexic and non-dyslexic readers alike.

While these fonts are considered some of the easiest to read for dyslexic individuals, it’s essential to recognize that what works for one person may not be effective for another. It can be beneficial to test various ‘dyslexic fonts’ and consult with users with dyslexia to find the most accessible options.

Formatting fonts for optimized accessibility 

Selecting the right font for readers with dyslexia is a key step, but it’s only part of the equation. Proper formatting is equally vital for optimized accessibility. Beyond simply choosing a dyslexia-friendly typeface, consider additional elements like line spacing, text size, and color contrast to enhance readability. The six tips below are an excellent starting point:

1. Use a font developed specifically for people with dyslexia. Although some san serif fonts increase readability, they still aren’t comparable dyslexia typefaces.

2. Use 12-14 point type for your font sizes.

3. The space that separates each character (tracking) also impacts legibility. This spacing should equal 30% of the average letter’s horizontal dimensions.

4. More space between text lines also makes content easier to read. 1.5/150% is the optimal proportion for spacing between lines.

5. Don’t underline or italicize text because it looks cluttered to people with eye-related impairments. Use bold for emphasis.

6. Don’t use all caps or uppercase text. Lowercase text improves readability. 

Dyslexia-friendly fonts, small changes, big impact

A simple change to dyslexia-friendly fonts can improve website navigation for people with dyslexia. In fact, it can transform the user experience for everyone, not only the 20% of the population with dyslexia

Adding dyslexia friendly fonts and formatting to your website not only helps users find what they need faster, it positively impacts your bottom line. In a digital world where universal access is vital, isn’t it time your website followed suit? 

Learn More About UserWay’s Dyslexia Friendly Font (UDF)

As we’ve highlighted, the ‘small’ details, like font choices, can make a huge difference in user experience, particularly for people with dyslexia. But why just meet the minimum requirements? You can elevate your website’s accessibility with UserWay’s Accessibility Widget – a suite of AI-powered solutions that go beyond readability. 

The UserWay Widget includes UserWay’s Dyslexia-Friendly Font (UDF) as a standard feature, along with various other robust accessibility tools. All these features are integrated within the widget itself, so there’s no need to make permanent changes to your website’s typeface. 

With features like increased text size, enhanced contrast, improved spacing, and optimized fonts, UserWay’s widget addresses a wide array of needs. Check out the Dyslexia Friendly Font page for more details on this new font and text samples. If you already have the widget installed, go to the features list and click “Dyslexia Friendly” to see this new font for dyslexia in action.

Common FAQs

What defines an effective dyslexia typeface? 

Studies have shown that the easiest fonts to read for dyslexia have the following characteristics:

  • Sans-serif fonts for easy readability
  • Equal space separating letters
  • Vertical text instead of angled text

What’s the best way to handle headings and formatting? 

Ensure a consistent experience for all users by making headings 20% larger than body text and using bold for visibility. Use word-processing tools for text alignment and optimal spacing. Make hyperlinks distinct from other content for easy navigation and clear messaging.

How should color be managed? 

Stick to solid colors and steer clear of jarring patterns for all backdrops. Ensuring a strong color contrast between text and background is vital. Additionally, think about using alternatives to white for paper, screens, and visual aids like whiteboards, as white can be too glaring.

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