Font Improvement

I write all my papers, letters, and exams using the typeface Times New Roman.  As a lunch-table discussion here in England revealed, the University insists on certain typefaces that are dyslexia-friendly, particularly Arial, Trebuchet, and Verdana.  It costs me or any other faculty member nothing to use one of these on exams; non-dyslexic students are not harmed by them, and dyslexic students are better off.  Henceforth, no more Times New Roman on tests — mine will all be in Arial.  A clear Pareto improvement. (HT: MS)

Harry Guinness

It's not quite a Pareto improvement as different fonts can convey different things. The more dyslexic friendly Arial is also substantially more casual than the classy Times New Roman. That might be fine for casual communications but if you're sending someone a stern bollocking then the casual nature of the font won't gel with the harsh nature of the words! Depending on the school, you might find that the amount of people with an interest in design who would notice font choices might outweigh the number of dyslexics!


Times New Roman is a serif font, and Arial, Trebuchet, and Verdana are sans-serif. I suspect the cleaner look of a sans-serif font is the reason for the preference.

David Wilkinson

*uses Georgia*


What about for Mathematics? Serif fonts are a necessity to communicate function f and especially variable x which, sans-serif, would look like a multiplication symbol "blown over".


Lexia is a font designed especially to be readable by dyslexic people, and it's free to download! I print all my zines in lexia font

Steve Nations

What about your glob posts?

Steven J.

I don't know if this is on the Pareto level. Studies have shown that non-serif fonts (like Arial, Verdana, etc.) are slightly harder to read than serif fonts when the text is longer than a few words.

Doug B


Interesting perspective on use of fonts. I never have more than 3 sizes of the same font on any correspondence or artwork. Otherwise it can appear unruly.

I notice your post uses a font of Georgia 10.5. Perhaps the Freakazoids can update to Arial, Trebuchet or Verdana as a public service.



Just FYI, a font and its size and color are all attributes that are completely controllable on the user side. Doesn't matter what font (if any) the posters specify: I've told my browser to display it using the Bitstream Vera sans-serif font, in a size which is large enough to be easily readable - actual point size being irrelevant on a display, of course.

Gervase Markham

Would it still be a Pareto improvement if they required you to use the OpenDyslexic font?

John B. Chilton

I use Calibria for tests. In 12 point font. Here's an article about friendly fonts,


At least it didn't advise use of Comic Sans. *shudders* I agree with the idea, though I think as a regular student the font change would throw me off.


Arial is, in a way, helvetica alike, hence, is Helvetica dyslexia-friendly too?


Readers, are we now opening ourselves up to discrimination?????

Resumes are the tool of how we 'get a foot in the door' if we use certain font styles are we not advertising that we are dyslexic. Yes I am dyslexic and do find other fonts easier to read, but I just tried changing my resume into the recommended fonts. For me;
It doesn't look as professional;
If we do recommend this, I stand out as a dyslexic, opening myself up to be overlooked;
You have to change the font size to fit as many words on the resume.

Mike Deck

There is actually a typeface specifically created to be more readable for people suffering from dyslexia called Dyslexie:

Unfortunately it's not free.

Suzie R

It's wonderful that you will be using fonts that are easier for dyslexics to read. The font used on this website is also very hard to read - I'm not remotely dyslexic and it's quite unpleasant on the eyes.

Implement the change here, too!


Just change it yourself, to whatever font & size you like. Should be something like Edit->Preferences->Fonts, depending on your browser.


My understanding was that serifs actually help improve discerning which character is which. Is there a particular well-designed study that shows that Arial would be better than TNR for dyslexics, and/or that it wouldn't harm everyone else (how about students with less-than-perfect vision?) just a teensy bit?


Times New Roman is not classy, it is sophomoric. It was designed for newspapers, to squish as much text as possible into as little space as possible. It just so happens to have been a choice for the default font for word for many years, but that's no reason to use it---it was a poor choice on their part.

The fonts used in books (Garamond, for example) are more reasonable choices for a serif font. Book fonts were designed to look good and read well. Writing in Times New Roman in cases where saving space is not critical immediately sets you apart as a neophyte.

Chef JoAnna

It's been proven that Comic Sans is actually more legible than any of those others mentioned. Moreover, there are special typefaces designed just for increased legibility for dyslexics. One of these is called LEXIA