10 Best Fonts for Dyslexia
10 Best Fonts for Dyslexia
For people with dyslexia, the right font can help improve the user experience. Learn how to incorporate accessible fonts for dyslexia into your website design.
Dyslexia is by far the most common learning disability, affecting about 20% of the population.
Although symptoms vary from person to person, many people with dyslexia have trouble differentiating between similar-looking letters (like p and q) or identifying words that are closely packed together.
For businesses, that means a significant portion of your audience can have a hard time navigating your website or reading product descriptions if you don’t choose a readable font.
And while there are certain safeguards you can adopt — for example, AudioEye’s Visual Toolkit lets users change the font on a page and adjust the spacing between lines or words — the most user-friendly solution is to pick an accessible font from the beginning.
In this post, we share some of our favorite fonts for dyslexia — and provide a few more tips for delivering a browsing experience that’s accessible for everyone.
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What Are Dyslexia-Friendly Fonts?
Because dyslexia affects people in different ways, there isn’t one magic font that works for everyone. However, there are some general rules for choosing an accessible font:
- Use a sans serif font: Serif fonts are typefaces that have extra strokes (commonly referred to as tails) attached to the end of each letter. These strokes can make it harder to distinguish between letters. Times New Roman is a serif font, while Arial is a sans serif font.
- Make sure there’s enough space between letters: Character spacing, or kerning, also plays an important role in accessibility. If there is not enough space between letters, they can be mistaken for other letters (for example, r and n can look like m).
- Consider fonts designed for dyslexia: Often characterized by heavy, bolder bottoms that give each letter a unique shape, fonts designed for dyslexia (like OpenDyslexic) are meant to prevent letter flipping.
Although the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) don’t require a specific typeface, they do recommend choosing one that is simple and unadorned. Here’s a list of both paid and free fonts for dyslexia.
10 Best Fonts for Dyslexia
Arial is one of the most widely used fonts on the internet, and for good reason. First, it’s on just about every program you can think of, and it doesn’t require a license. Second, it’s clear and easy to read.
Like all fonts on this list, Arial is sans serif. Letters are generally not squished together, and their roundness provides clear definition.
Popular among big brands and a favorite choice for public signage since the 1960s, Helvetica is perhaps the most-used font of all time.
It’s not quite as rounded as Arial, but its lack of series and evenly spaced letters make it one of the best fonts for dyslexia accessibility.
3. Comic Sans
Comic Sans is a much-maligned and unpopular font, especially among graphic designers. And yet, it’s also one of the most dyslexia-friendly fonts.
As the name implies, Comic Sans is a sans serif font. It was designed to mimic the typeface often used in comic books. Its playful design provides easy-to-distinguish letters that can be helpful for people with dyslexia.
Designed specifically for on-screen reading, Verdana features wide spacing between letters and is readable at small size. As with all other fonts on this list, it is sans serif.
5. Century Gothic
In Century Gothic, letters are easy-to-distinguish and well-spaced, with rounded tops and bottoms. Some letters lean on the thin side, but overall this font is quite accessible.
Although it lacks the fanfare of fonts like Arial and Helvetica, Tahoma is another widely used font.
Tahoma’s lines are bold and straightforward, without any of the frills you often find with serif fonts. Each letter also has its own space, which makes it easier to read.
Like Verdana, Calibri was designed for on-screen reading. It has been the default font in Microsoft Office Suite since 2007.
Calibri has noticeably wide letter spacings, which make it easy to read in both big and small texts.
8. Open Sans
Open Sans is another example of a straightforward, no-frills font. Created for Google, it is free to use with an open-source license.
Open Sans has clear spacing, tall letter sizes, and rounded shapes that make the typeface easy to read.
Designed by Christian Boer (who has dyslexia), Dyslexie was created specifically for people with dyslexia. It features long stems, unique shapes, and heavy, bolder bottoms. Each of these features is meant to give each letter its own qualities and make each one easily distinguishable.
OpenDyslexic is another font designed specifically for those with dyslexia, with heavy bottoms and thin tops that are meant to prevent letter flipping. Letters are well spaced, and each letter has a unique style.
OpenDyslexic is completely free and open-sourced.
More Tips for Making Your Digital Content Accessible
Besides choosing the best fonts for dyslexia for your website, there are several other steps you can take to ensure your site is accessible to a wider audience.
- Make sure you are using a minimum 12-point font.
- Align text left, instead of having it fully justified.
- Use simple and succinct language, avoiding jargon.
- Optimize your site for screen readers.
Want to get more tips on creating websites that look good, work well for all users, and follow accessibility legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Accessible Web Design.
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