For those who have issues reading, creative projects and their intricacies can often pose challenges but it’s time for designers to bring together creativity and accessibility.

Too often, typeface has been considered something that even people with reading difficulties can cope with but that is not the case. What this has created is a need and understanding for designers to think about accessibility when it comes to typeface.

If we consider the Dyslexie typeface, this was designed when Christian Boer, who has dyslexia, discovered the problems he faced when it came to typefaces. Following this, the Dyslexie typeface has grown and evolved to the point where they are now creating extensions for WordPress and Google Chrome. Furthermore, they also have plans to create Dyslexie Office which aims to be an alternative to other word editing suites such as Microsoft Office.

This typeface has been embraced throughout the Dyslexic community despite coming up against challenges from peers during the initial design phase. However, the goal was to create something that was readable for those with dyslexia.

Dyslexi Typeface

Through Struggle Comes Creativity

The Dyslexie alphabet is made up of letterforms that are intriguing. The baselines are heavier, the letter shapes differ and they have longer ascenders. All of this works together to make the reading experience easier and more enjoyable.

The typeface was created through the struggles that Boer experienced and he used his experiences to design it. He looked at the issues that people face such as flipping, mirroring and turning, this causes letters to move and makes it almost impossible to read words and sentences. Through creating each letterform differently, it helps to stop the letter from moving and that makes it easier for them to be read.

Furthermore, research has been completed through various studies that have found that almost 75% of dyslexic readers experience the benefits when using the font and that the number of mistakes they make is reduced.

Designing The Typeface

Purpose-Built Typefaces Are Not Always Necessary

Dyslexie has clearly transformed the way in which people who suffer with dyslexia read. It has essentially been designed with these people in mind but research has discovered that typefaces don’t need to be purpose-built in order for them to become accessible. Furthermore, dyslexia is not the only condition that needs to be addressed.

A readability group was launched in 2019 by designers and experts from the Digital Accessibility and UX Design Research team. The group was created with the aim of helping companies to manage the challenges that come with accessibility. In the US, a large number of companies get sued as often as every two years for failing to invest in these solutions. In fact, just two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a blind man who made a claim that Domino’s website was not made accessible for those who suffer from disabilities. In 2018, over 2,000 similar suits were filed and many of these companies will actually include any payoffs that are associated with the lawsuits as opposed to actually investing in those solutions that deal with accessibility.

The group is aimed at helping businesses to consider their typographic decisions before implementing them organisation-wide, with all advice being supported by data. An online survey that took place earlier this year supplied a lot of data that is now helping them to provide further advice and guidance.

Some typefaces were recognised as being better than others while some were admired for their accessibility including the likes of Comic Sans while some fonts designed for dyslexia actually underperformed.

However, an under-performing typeface doesn’t provide a reason to ignore or dismiss it. Instead, the findings can offer certain suggestions or help it to move in the right direction. What this means is that all designers should consider who their audience truly is.

All decisions made around typography will fall within an emotional-technical-functional triangle. The emotional aspect will relate to the reaction while functional will relate to how well it can be read and technical is the way in which it has been designed so that it is fit for purpose. What this means is that it is more important than ever before for designers to think this way.