I initially discussed OpenDyslexic font in a previous post and linked to a couple of reviews. One of the reviews was by Mike James, a programmer with dyslexia. James stated that “…it was a relief to get back to a standard font” after trying it out.
It seems that James is not alone in his opinion. I received a critique of the font from a programmer with dyslexia. The programmer (who prefers not to have his name used) echoed James’ opinion. He felt the font was not useful for programming, but it could help with general reading if it were in large print.
The programmer sent us 3 screenshots using Courier New versus OpenDyslexic fonts – the first two in size 10 (standard for programming) and the third is size 18 OpenDyslexic. Click on the screen-shots for better viewing.
“As you can see in the comparisons, the OpenDyslexic font looks terrible at size 10, which is a universal size for programming fonts. Most documents are also written in size 10 or 12 as well, so this does not only apply to viewing source code. When you increase the size of OpenDyslexic to size 18 it then becomes much more readable. This happens because the top half is so thin and the bottom half is so thick that when you increase the size, the top half becomes thick enough for your eyes not to squint. The heavy bottom half is just ignored by your eyes.”
“I also attached some images that compare those characters like B, D, P, and Q to each other with Courier New and OpenDyslexic. I have them at size 10 and size 16. If you notice that the Courier New font is more serif than the OpenDyslexic font which causes each character to be more distinguishable. Serif means those little extra lines on the sides of the letter. Serif fonts are designed in such a way that eyes can scan the characters faster. Non-serif fonts cause the eyes to scan slower. So OpenDyslexic has more non-serif qualities.”
“I also compare the flippable letters like lower case B and D and P and Q. See which one is actually easier to distinguish and at what size.”
“The issue I have with OpenDyslexic is that it has that bottom heavy theory which I feel does not do anything. You’ll still flip the P and Q because they look so similar. This is why I use my version of P and Q and B and D in the images below where I modify the letter to make it look less like the other but can still be distinguished.”
What do you think? Does OpenDyslexic font help you read text better or do you prefer another font?
–Rita W. El-Haddad