Fonts for all
There has been some interesting research on the use of specific fonts for ease of reading. The research suggests that fonts which are ‘Sans Serif’ are easier for most people to read, especially when there is a lot of text. This is particularly true for learners who are dyslexic.
I have put together examples of some fonts for you to judge for yourself. Windows XP now uses Arial as the default font but if you are designing your documents on another computer, you may still have Times New Roman as the default font.
This is Times New Roman. It is not recommended for ease of reading because of all the extra ‘bits’ it has on it.
This is Comic Sans, which is a very popular font. It is smooth and easy to read, though some people find it too ‘informal’.
Arial, this font, is plain and easy to read.
This is Tahoma.
This is Verdana.
We all want to produce usable worksheets, documents, handouts and overheads. Choosing an easy to read font is an easy way to make our material more accessible to a wider range of students.
Other points to consider:
- Watch your spacing when you produce material. Use plenty of white space to help students visually break down information and tasks.
- Use a few discrete graphics or a border to draw information together.
- Reading large amounts of text in CAPITAL LETTERS slows the reader down since many people read by recognising the shape of words.
- Italics are hard for dyslexic readers and those who read by shape of words. They are fine for occasional use to highlight a word or phrase but it’s probably better to stay away from using them for large blocks of text.
- Show your students how to change the background colour of their computer screen:-
For example in Windows XP: (>Settings>Control Panel>Appearance or Theme>Display>Appearance>Advanced>Window) or
a Word document (Format menu>Background).
- And in Blackboard...