Table of Contents
In recent years, we’ve seen a big push toward using more graphic and multimedia content on the web. Despite this trend, text content still reigns supreme on most sites. For certain users, including those with dyslexia, text content can pose serious problems.
Dyslexia is one of the most widespread disabilities that impacts navigating the web, affecting 10–15% of the population. The World Wide Web Consortium categorizes dyslexia as a cognitive disability. While users with dyslexia have no trouble seeing text, they may have difficulty with content presented using alphanumeric characters.
Historically, there have been only a few “best practice” solutions for web creators to help users with dyslexia. For example, we know that left aligning paragraphs of text — as opposed to fully justifying them — keeps spacing between words more uniform and increases the readability for everyone, especially users with dyslexia.
We also know that avoiding italics, underlining, and all caps as much as possible helps. The same goes for providing generous line and paragraph spacing. Beyond that, few advancements had been made. The UserWay team decided to change that.
UserWay’s new Dyslexia Friendly Font
Studies have shown that users with dyslexia find reading easier when the typeface exhibits specific characteristics:
- Clean and simple — sans-serif fonts fit this description
- Monospaced — even spacing between letters
- Upright — as opposed to slanted text
Accessibility experts have long touted the use of typefaces with these characteristics, but could we do better? Couldn’t we design a font that increases readability specifically for readers with dyslexia?
The answer is yes! The UserWay Dyslexia Friendly Font (UDF) is carefully crafted to boost readability for users with dyslexia.
This new typeface exhibits additional features to help users with dyslexia to differentiate letter shapes. For example, in certain typefaces, words like “urn” and “um” can appear almost identical. Letters like “p,” “q,” and “g” can be challenging to distinguish. And everyone has probably struggled to differentiate the capital letter “O” from a zero (0) with certain typefaces.
Considering these and many other concerns, the UDF shapes letters with care, making them easy to distinguish. The typeface also weights the bottom of each letter, helping to form a visual baseline “anchor” that can better guide users’ eyes.
Get UDF on your site
UDF comes standard on the UserWay Widget along with a host of other powerful accessibility tools. Because it is packaged within the widget, you do not have to permanently change the typeface on your website. Offering UDF to web users with dyslexia gives them the option to enable the font whenever they need. Give your users the ability to choose the typefaces, tools, and customizations that work best for them.
Please visit the Dyslexia Friendly Font page at userway.org 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 it in action.