OpenDyslexic in Firefox

Recently, Abelardo Gonzalez produced a font called OpenDyslexic, which is designed to be more readable for people who suffer from dyslexia. It’s free-as-in-freedom, so it’s OK to just download it and use it in any way you want.

It’s possible to set this font (or any font) as your default font for reading web pages in Firefox, and even to override the font choices websites make so that things always display in the font you choose.

If you would like to do that, you need to install the font in your operating system by downloading this ZIP file and double-clicking on each “.otf” file in it. This will, I hope, bring up some sort of font installation program in your operating system. Follow the instructions it gives you.

Once you’ve done that, you can set it as Firefox’s default using the lovely instructions provided on our excellent Support website.

I’m not dyslexic so I can’t give an endorsement or guarantee the results, but it seems that it helps at least some people.

One thought on “OpenDyslexic in Firefox

  1. That’s interesting, but it’s very hard to look at for any length of time, at least for me. (Maybe this is like trying to look through the glasses of someone whose vision needs a lot more correction than yours?)

    I would have predicted some things (like, the q not being a mirror image of p; surprisingly, b and d are still very similar to one another’s mirror images), but some of the other design features would never have occurred to me. (Granted, I haven’t spent a lot of time around dyslexic people. I sort of know one person who is dyslexic, but only casually, and we’ve only met IRL once.) The bottom weighting, in particular, is an interesting adaptation. It makes sense, but I don’t think I’d have thought of it.

    Oddly, the italic face is significantly _smaller_, at the same point size, than the regular one. You can verify this by setting up a whole paragraph and watching it reflow when you toggle italics. (I know OO.o is actually applying the included italic face, because some of the letterforms are different in more ways than just being oblique, e.g., the q loses its tail in italic. Also, because just slanting a font would not generally have this space-saving effect.) I wonder if this was deliberate.

    There are also some quality issues that need work, e.g., it does not appear that any attempt was made at consistent letter spacing. Perhaps they will get to that in a later release.

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