Distraction free reading and writing for Dyslexics

Increasing the font-size on my Kindle has helped my reading comprehension and speed.

  • 22 Sep 2013
  • Matthew Wittering

This past Sunday, I read an article on Ars Technica entitled, E-readers prove easy on the eye for some dyslexics. In short, the article is a summary of academic work which reports that, "Lots of visual space makes processing text easier for a subset of dyslexics".

What is dyslexia?

In the experiment, the e-reader on an iPod Touch was formatted to display around nine lines of text on the screen at a time. This allowed for only two or three words in each line. They believe this leaves fewer visual distractions. The authors concludes that this improvement in reading is due to the reduced demands on visual attention when reading from the iPod.

These results interest me. I also believed that I read faster on the the Kindle, over paper, or the computer because of the comfort from the screen. At one time, I've even been furnished with glasses glazed with dark blue lenses to aid reading comprehension. I found them helpful, however more of a distraction for my peers, which at times, caused unwanted attention.

Since reading this article, I've increased the font-size on my Kindle to one position large than the default. This change has indeed made reading more comfortable.

The article on Ars Technica is certainly worth a read, however the single most interesting fact was hidden within the comments. I'm usually not one for reading comments, typically I find them unhelpful and distracting. However as a Dyslexic, I placed my predigests aside hoping to find some fascinating piece of information through serendipity. I was not disappointed, and discovered the free OpenSource font; OpenDyslexic.

OpenDyslexic is an open sourced font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. It included an interesting feature whereby the letters in this Latin script font have weighted bottoms to indicate the correct direction. As well as wider spacing. It makes for quite a unique font, which is clear and highly readable. Of course, the application of decent font-size and line-height may also facilitate in this regard.

I'd appreciate trying this font in my word processor for choice for blogging, UberWriter.