OpenDyslexic - A good idea for 508+?

Accessibility is a big deal for government websites. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act covers sight, hearing, Parkinson’s -- all sorts of challenges. But it doesn’t do much for folks with dyslexia, except establish a sort of “spirit of cooperation” between site owners and site users. Even if there’s no explicit rule in place, most of us who work in accessibility will do what we can to be helpful to folks who use our websites.

Take a peek at the upper-right corner of the desktop rendition of and you’ll see an oddly shaped “O” near our standard-issue font-size control. It’s a toggle to change the fonts to OpenDyslexic, a font that purports to help people with Dyslexia. is the only cabinet-level site with OpenDyslexic as an option. But should it be?

There’s woefully little research on fonts and dyslexia -- and it’s not really the job of the U.S. Department of the Interior to do human subjects research in what’s arguably a medical field. What we can do is measure whether and how our audience uses this feature and make site-design decisions based on that data.

In this session, we’ll tell folks about the feature and how it was implemented, the welcome and push-back from parts of our audience, our research and where we go from here. Of course, we will also take questions.


Larry Gillick, lead

Paul Tsao, FLS, lead developer (implementer of OpenDyslexic feature and analytics)

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