Originally published June 5, 2019
End of Life Date: August 2019 release
The OpenDyslexic font option is available to all users under Account Settings. The intention of this feature was to increase readability of Brightspace for individuals with dyslexia.
Why Are We Making This End of Life Decision?
OpenDyslexic is an open source font created by an individual with dyslexia to help address some common symptoms of dyslexia, such as letter flipping and swapping. We introduced this font as as a measure of support for learners with dyslexia based on interest from clients and initially positive media reports.
We have now decided to remove this font as a system font for the following reasons:
- We are unable to find empirical evidence that it improves readability or comprehension for individuals with dyslexia.
- The limited research available relating to font face impact on readability and comprehension for individuals with different forms of dyslexia suggests that simple, sans serif fonts provide a better reading experience. (see reference 1, 2, 3)
- Major software providers such as Google have opted not to support the font due to lack of empirical evidence supporting benefits for learners with dyslexia. (see reference 4)
- Offering this font to all users within Account Settings might encourage some learners to select a font option that negatively affects their learning experience.
- Browser extensions such as OpenDyslexic Font for Chrome are available for learners specifically benefitting from this font and wanting to continue its use.
- With increased availability of browser-based tools that meet learner needs such as reading preferences, which are highly diverse, personal, and influenced by several factors, we would encourage them to choose what suits them best. This approach can help learners find the right options for their needs, including adjusting font size, line spacing, color, etc.(see reference 3)
- In order to ensure that we provide a good default experience and maximum interoperability with browser plugins, operating system preferences, and assistive technologies that individuals use to personalize their reading experience across the web, we align our design system and development practices with the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1 Level AA Criteria).
What is the Impact and Transition Plan for Active Clients?
With the August continuous delivery release, individuals who previously selected the OpenDyslexic font via Account Settings will revert to our system default font Lato. Lato is a san serif font designed for the web. We recommend that individuals who wish to continue to use OpenDyslexic explore the Chrome browser plugin OpenDyslexic Font for Chrome. We recommend that instructors and instructional designers who want to make good default choices for their learners read Dyslexia Style Guide 2018: Creating Dyslexia Friendly Content from the British Dyslexia Association.
- Beaza-Yates and Rello (2013). Good fonts for dyslexia. Conference: Proceedings of the 15th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility.
- Wery, and Diliberto (2017). Annals of Dyslexia, 67: 114.