And how to make more informed font choices.

Content By The Readability Group

Large classic hand drawn E on graph paper
Large classic hand drawn E on graph paper

Typefaces are the foundation of accessible visual reading experiences, so choosing a performant typeface that enhances legibility and readability for people with poor vision, learning disabilities, aphasia, dyslexia or low adult literacy is of paramount importance if you want your written information to be as accessible as possible.

The type design elements in this article form a baseline for accessibility. To be truly accessible type has to be designed in combination with the other best practices but without a good choice of typeface things like colour contrast will have limited impact.

The elements listed below…

The answer to the question in the title of this article is fundamentally simple, yet as with so many simple things, it is fundamentally complex. The most obvious answer to the question is of course: letters. But letters come in different sizes and shapes, like humans.

Before we can even consider the letters — the typography — we have to consider our readers and evaluate what we can do with considerate typography to help them access our words. Then there are the words themselves which can have awkward letter combinations that may possibly erect barriers in how they are read.

As so much of what neurodivergent users need is rooted in a mixture of usability best practices and accessibility considerations, I wondered if there was a need for a Cognitive perspective on UX Design Principles that not only brings a neurodivergent perspective, but also grounds itself through links to relevant guidance and resources. Then one thing lead to another…

Gareth Ford Williams
Gareth Ford Williams
Gareth Ford Williams

Design Principles are nothing new. There are Universal Design Principles, Inclusive Design Principles, NN Groups Usability Heuristics, etc.

These are all very useful resources, but they did not feel like they were quite what I was looking for as something seemed…

Gareth Ford Williams

Director at The Readability Group and Ex-Head of UX Design and Accessibility at the BBC. I have ADHD and I’m Dyslexic.

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