Thank You!

Thank you for your Feedback on Fonts!

Thank you so much to KNITSONIK School students for participating in my font survey last week and to those of you who took the time to comment here. I appreciate your thoughtful responses. Some of you have expressed interest in this conversation about accessibility and in the outcome of the survey, so I’ve tried to summarise key points below.

Many of you kindly acknowledged that it’s impossible to accommodate every individual requirement for The Perfect Font – I agree but am still really interested in seeing if I can do better with my fonts and course materials design work going forward.

One of you asked if I can feasibly present course materials in multiple fonts. The answer is no. It’s for this reason that I’m trying to get good a good template established at the start.

Some Statistics

10% of students surveyed have dyslexia or another form of neurological difference. Of this 10%, several of you shared that Helvetica is clearer and easier for you to read than Dyslexie or OpenDyslexic.

35% of KNITSONIK School students identify as having eyesight issues that affect reading activities.

83% of survey respondents found Helvetica easier to read on the video slide example provided when compared to Dyslexie or OpenDyslexic. Of the remaining 17%, there was an even split of preference for OpenDyslexic and Dyslexie.

Of students surveyed, 42% of you had never given any consideration to fonts used in the KNITSONIK School. 10% of you actively dislike the current fonts used, and 36% like the current fonts. A small percentage of you – 12% – really like the current fonts.

In terms of changing the fonts, 90% said you like this idea, 10% said you don’t.

Further Feedback

I was really heartened by the thoughtful responses to my more open question at the end; so many of you care about accessibility and want my courses to be as accessible as possible, and many of you shared helpful things about your own experiences of my content. Thank you so much. A couple of you have shared that the current fonts are particularly difficult for you. I’m sorry about that; this is exactly why I decided to conduct this survey.

Someone helpfully pointed me to the Atkinson Hyperlegible Font developed by the Braille Institute, while another person reminded me how the more basic fonts – like Arial or Helvetica – are more familiar, which helps with readability. Many of you, in your written feedback, expressed a preference for simpler fonts.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was discovering just how many of you like the current fonts because they feel friendly and do not look like work.

For many of you, it seems that OpenDyslexic and Dyslexie have associations with fun, craft, play and friendliness – and they stand out positively for those reasons.

Conclusions

I’m no statistician, but there are a few things that really stand out to me:

  • 83% of you found Helvetica easier to read than Dyslexie or OpenDyslexic.
  • 90% of you feel positive about a change of font.
  • Dyslexie and OpenDyslexic are not improving the usability of the course for the full 10% of you with dyslexia or other neurological difference.
  • Nobody has written to say that Dyslexie and OpenDyslexic are key to making my courses accessible, whereas several of you seem to find these fonts actually make the written content in my school less accessible.

All this suggests to me that I can pick better fonts for designing my next course.

I’m working on video content currently and have been tinkering with fonts on the title slides.
I’m looking at fonts that are clear and sans-serif, but that also have that really important friendly feeling.

Just this morning, someone commented on KNITSONIK Bullet Journaling to express their appreciation for the warmth of the course. For me, that’s really key and represents another form of accessibility. I’ve been researching sans serif fonts that will be clear to read while also not looking too formal or like work.

With those factors in mind, these are the fonts I’m looking at for the video slides:

Adelle Sans

02.0 Learning from Everyday Colour on a cream slide, in Adelle Sans, with the beginnings of a rainbow reference in the bottom left hand corner

06.0 Making Time to Play Right Now on a cream slide, in Adelle Sans, with the beginnings of a rainbow reference in the bottom left hand corner

Atkinson HyperLegible

0.1 Welcome to Everyday Colour  on a cream slide, in Atkinson Hyper Legible, with the beginnings of a rainbow reference in the bottom left hand corner

00.4 Making Space for Colour Experiments on a cream slide, in Atkinson HyperLegible, with the beginnings of a rainbow reference in the bottom left hand corner

Helvetica

01.0 Looking at Everyday Colour on a cream slide, in Helvetica, with the beginnings of a rainbow reference in the bottom left hand corner

05.0 Wear Colour Everyday on a cream slide, in Helvetica, with the beginnings of a rainbow reference in the bottom left hand corner

Real Head Pro

03.0 Befriending Colour Mistakes on a cream slide, in Real Head Pro, with the beginnings of a rainbow reference in the bottom left hand corner

07.0 Cherishing Everyday Colour on a cream slide, in Real Head Pro, with the suggestion of half a rainbow in the bottom left hand corner

Final Thoughts

I really don’t want to spam online school users with surveys or to overwhelm myself with more input than I can handle, so I won’t be sending out further surveys about fonts. However, if you have feedback on my shortlist of four that you’d like to share, please pop it in the comments below or email it to school at knitsonik dot com.

Thank you so much for your feedback and for helping me with this – I really appreciate it.
Yours in the search for fun and accessible sans serif fonts,
Fx

9 thoughts on “Thank You!

  1. I agree with Cecelia’s comments. Helvetica reads easiest for me. I had a negative reaction to Real Head Pro—too thick, and that squiggly “g” is off-putting.

    Thanks for doing this.

  2. Thanks so much for this, Felix! The Helvetica is definitely the easiest/best for me, but all of these are better than the current fonts. I prefer the Helvetica because it is clear, but isn’t as visually heavy—the lines used to create the letters aren’t as thick. I think the open space is what helps. And that spacing between letters, the kerning, is indeed important to legibility! Thanks for considering everyone’s needs! Best of luck and results

  3. My top fonts in order: either of the Adelle Sans 6.0, Adelle Sans 2.0, either of the Atkinson Hyperlegible, Real Head Pro 7.0.
    Thanks again for caring 🙂

  4. Your email with the survey somehow got plunked into my spam folder (I fixed that!) but as I have no preference among most fonts, it doesn’t really matter. However, the *shade* of the typography does count, for me. I saw a fad a few years back for bloggers & others to use a gray font – sometimes *very* light gray, and teensy tiny font sizes. This spilled over into published books – I had to return a lovely knitting book to my LYS because when I got it home the type was so small and light that I literally couldn’t read it. I haven’t seen so much of that online in recent times so maybe that fad is over. I hope so! Let me reiterate: Thank you for your wonderful art and posts and knitting and everything. You are a joy to the world!

  5. I love the thoughtfulness with which you’re considering this, Felix. I realised after I did the survey that I think I forgot to say The Most Important Thing for me, which is the spaces between letters and the line spacing. It’s the letter spacing which makes Helvetica stand out a mile for readability, at least for someone with my specific issues, which are no doubt different from the issues faced by others. You’ve prompted me to think about my own use of typefaces, especially my own yarn labels which are totally rubbish for me when it comes to reading them, although I love the style of the font!

    1. Thanks so much for adding this, Cecilia – your thoughtful comment has made me realise that while I had added extra letter spacing for Helvetica, I had forgotten to do this for all the other fonts in the mockup document I’ve created to help work through these ideas; I will need to look again with all the fonts with better spacing around the letters. It’s really interesting how important that negative space around letters is for a wide variety of readers; the British Dyslexia Association recommend 35% of the average letter width for character spacing, but if you go too far with it, apparently it can have the opposite effect and make the text less legible. They also advocate for 1.5 line spacing. I will implement better letter spacing and line spacing in my handouts, going forward; and update my mockup document and the images in this post!

  6. I don’t always understand why a visual is hard. Your examples made it quite understandable! Thank you for your willingness to make reading as easy as possible!

  7. I would echo Nora’s response. I am very grateful for all the effort you make, it’s going above and beyond.❤️

  8. Again, thanks for taking this on. Any of these fonts are easier for me than the ones used in the past. That said, the “Real Head Pro” was a bit jarring the first time I looked at it and I realized that it was the little tiny serifs on the “g” that were causing that reaction.
    Helvetica and Adelle Sans were the ones that were easiest for me to read. (Though I do like the clarity of Atkinson Hyperlegible in distinguishing “0” from “O”
    Good luck with this!

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