This morning my mind is on FONTS.
I’m building a new online course in The KNITSONIK School.
I’m not easily able to modify the fonts and typefaces of the Teachable Platform itself. However, where I have got control over design, I try to make my handouts accessible by adhering to the excellent British Dyslexia Association Style Guide, and by using fonts specifically designed for dyslexic students.
Accessibility matters to me: disabled students to the front-front has been my aim since I opened the school.
However it’s come to my attention that the fonts I’ve been using for my video slides and handouts – Dyslexie and OpenDyslexic – are not necessarily meeting that aim, whatever the intention for their use.
I’ve had mixed responses over the years to these fonts. Some students have said they like their playful and friendly appearance. Others have said they feel seen because I have specifically used dyslexia-friendly fonts. Some users don’t like the fonts on aesthetic grounds, but have no trouble reading them. And, of most concern to me, some students – both dyslexic and non-dyslexic – find the fonts incredibly off-putting and very hard to read. For this last reason, I’m considering using a different font for the new course that I’m building.
This is a change I’m only willing to make if it improves the usability of my class materials overall: particularly for dyslexic students and students with other kinds of neurological difference.
I know I can’t please everyone, and as a disabled business owner with limited resources myself, I cannot promise to be able to accommodate all the different and diverse needs of my user base. But as I grow and develop The KNITSONIK School, I’d really like to do my best to ensure my class handouts and video content are as user-friendly as possible. FYI, the font I am considering using for my forthcoming course: EVERYDAY COLOUR (woohoo!) is Helvetica. Sans serif fonts are recommended by the British Dyslexia Association as being preferable to serif fonts for on-screen readability, and it comes up a lot in online searches as being one of the most readable fonts; however if there are other suggestions for especially readable sans serif fonts, I am open to hearing about them.
This morning I emailed a survey to KNITSONIK School students who have opted-in to receive emails from me. However, not all users of the KNITSONIK School have opted to receive emails from me. Of course that’s totally fine, but to ensure that I hear from the widest range of students, I’m sharing the link to that newsletter here. If you didn’t receive my email today, but you do use my online school, and you have an opinion on the fonts, you can have your say!
KNITSONIK school user
If you’re a KNITSONIK school user and didn’t receive my email today, please fill out the survey to have your say.
Non KNITSONIK school user
If you’re not a KNITSONIK school user, but have dyslexia or another neurological difference that impacts reading and writing for you, please leave a comment or email school at knitsonik dot com.
- examples of best design practice
- handouts or class materials that you’ve found particularly easy to read
- information regarding design that has helped you access learning materials
Also, please comment or email if you are someone who has in fact avoided The KNITSONIK School because of the design of the handouts and video slides.
As I said earlier, I’m just one person with my own set of limitations, so cannot promise to be able to accommodate all the different input I receive here. But I’m hoping that between studying the survey results, reading your comments, and being pointed to examples of best-practice, I can grow and develop my offerings in the KNITSONIK School in line with my disabled users to the front-front ethos.
Greatest thanks in advance for sharing your experience with KNITSONIK X
Yours in (possibly) Helvetica,