Developer Abelardo Gonzalez has created an open-source font designed to help people with dyslexia read more easily. Dubbed OpenDyslexic, the font is currently available as a free download, in the form of a Safari and Chrome extension, a bookmarklet, and a free iOS web-browsing app. OpenDyslexic has also been incorporated into several third-party apps, including popular read-it-later service Instapaper.

Each OpenDyslexic letter features a heavy-weighted bottom, intended to lend "gravity" to text displayed with the font. Presenting a character in this way is believed to help prevent the letters from rotating, flipping, or becoming otherwise confused in the brains of some dyslexics.

The new font includes regular, bold, italic and bold-italic styles, and Gonzalez states that OpenDyslexic’s handling of italics in particular is a significant improvement over most other fonts, as it can highlight emphasis while maintaining readability, by not slanting the text too much.

Viewing a web page in Safari for Mac with the OpenDyslexic extension

Safari and Google Chrome users can add OpenDyslexic to their web browser with a downloadable extension, and this results in all text content from websites being displayed in the new font. iOS users have the option of the rather basic but free web browsing app OpenWeb, and there is also a bookmarklet available for users of other operating systems and web browsers.

Given the disparity in reading comprehension between dyslexic people, OpenDyslexic’s efficacy is bound to vary from person to person. That said, if you’d like to try it yourself, the OpenDyslexic web page, which includes the above extensions and two classic copyright-free e-books presented in the font, is navigable via the source link below.

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