MyCareerSpringboard has introduced a typeface to its website in order to give dyslexic students the option of an easier reading experience.
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty which affects around one in 10 people in the UK. It does not affect intelligence, but rather makes it difficult for those who have it to learn in traditional ways, such as via reading and writing. This means that on a global scale, more than 700 million adults are at risk of illiteracy and social exclusion because of their dyslexia.
A large number of dyslexic people also suffer from visual stress—around 50%. Those who have visual stress may experience problems in tracking words across the page, seeing words in fragmented or blurred forms, and seeing words as double.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to easing visual stress, but some people respond well to different coloured backgrounds or tinted overlays when reading. Others find it easier to track the words across the page when a specific font is used.
A common issue shared by many dyslexic people is a tendency to swap similar-looking letters around in their minds, due to seeing letters as 3D rather than 2D. For example, the letter “b” can be mistaken for a “p”, “d” or “q”.
Simple changes such as making letters “bottom heavy”, extending the “stalks” of certain letters to make them more distinguishable, and making letters asymmetric, help to prevent those letters from being mistaken for others. If letters are bolder at the bottom, visually flipping them upside down becomes more difficult, as top-heavy letters look unnatural.
A statement on the OpenDyslexic website says: “OpenDyslexic is not supposed to be a cure, a complete solution, or something you should apply uniformly to everyone: it was intended to address: contrast/blindness, letter confusion or rotation, and crowding.”
MyCareerSpringboard is designed to help students to figure out suitable career pathways, based on their personality. After completing a career test, students will be given information on key industries that match up with their personalities, and then will be given the resources to explore their options in more detail. It’s a free service for schools to use.
“By introducing a dyslexia-friendly mode to MyCareerSpringboard, in which the entire website is translated into OpenDyslexic at the click of a button, we hope that MCS will be accessible to as many students as possible”, says Jack Collins, Head of Product.
“I struggle to track words when I’m reading, and find that they tend to jump around on the page as I read,” says Tim, who was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was in primary school. Now 18, Tim is doing A-levels and B-techs and considering his future options. “Having this kind of font—which is easier to track for me—combined with a career resource makes life much easier”.