Dyslexics invert and transpose letters because they confuse letters that look alike. The switching of b and d, for example, is very common because the letters are simply reflections of each other. (In fact, dyslexia is much more common for English readers than readers of other languages, like Italian, in which words are spelled phonetically more than they are in English.)

One of the biggest variables today in how we read are fonts—the visual style of letters. Fonts are designed in part with aesthetic goals, but there are features of fonts that can make reading easier or not. For example, serifs (the little feet on fonts) help us read more quickly by training the eye to run along a straight line. Sans-serifed fonts (like those commonly used on the Web and used on this blog) are easier to read on screens than serifed fonts. Learn more about fonts like Comic Sans here!

If some fonts help us read, could a font alleviate the impact of dyslexia? One graphic designer decided to tackle that question for his master’s thesis. The designer, Christian Boer (who happens to be dyslexic), created a font that minimizes the reflections of specific letters, making it subtly easier for dyslexics to differentiate. For example, b and d are slightly altered such that they are not perfect reflections of each other. Other letters have small changes, like a wider c and a, to help dyslexic readers tell them apart.

When another graduate student tested the font with a group of people with dyslexia, it proved to be effective in reducing errors and easing the physical difficulty dyslexics can experience while reading. You can see an example of the font on the Scientific American website here.

Learn about how dyslexia affects the brain here.

We’re excited about this remarkable way to affect reading. Let’s harness the collective ingenuity of the Hot Word community. What are other ways that the look of language could transform how we read and learn? Share your ideas, and we’ll see if we can brainstorm something as helpful as Christian Boer’s new font.


The Independent (London, England) May 15, 2007 When’s it going?

Unless you’ve been stranded in a peat bog waiting to be tugged out of the mire by a Land Rover for the last month, you can’t have missed the fact that Defender has been updated for the 21st century. OK so it looks pretty much identical, and anyway the old one still excels as a no-nonsense, hard-working 4×4 that does not deserve to be bracketed with the school-run soft-roaders.

What’s good about it? website land rover defender

Buyers fully understand what they are getting with the legendary Defender and that is a bloodline going back to the Series 1, which absolutely guarantees off-road ability and all-round durability. It offers no frills, but instead plenty of off-road thrills – there really isn’t anywhere a Defender won’t go.

Let’s state the obvious – you sit high and if a tractor is about to emerge from a hedgerow, you’ll see it pretty quick, while in town you can quickly spot what the jam is all about. And it’s surprisingly easy to drive, and has much more precise steering than previous models.

Once off the tarmac you have a very versatile transmission at your disposal. Although permanent four-wheel was standard, with a centre diff lock, the selectable system was still an option. A two- speed transfer box automatically engages four-wheel drive when low range is selected, and there’s a choice when in high range.

While the rear can hop around the front usually stays firmly planted, pulling you out of trouble and providing full steering control. A combination of mud and driver incompetence can upset a L- R and the old adage that you should only drive where you could walk is worth remembering . However, your nerve will probably crack long before the Landie does. go to website land rover defender

What’s bad about it?

Those after a glorified estate car will be very disappointed, and anyone used to a lifestyle 4×4 will find the most basic Land Rover an unbearably crude device. On-road it is much more of a compromise – a hard and bumpy ride, lots of noise, and despite its power steering, it feels as heavy as it looks. In normal on-road conditions, the petrol and older diesels are slow and sluggish. The noise from the drivetrain and engine is normal, as is the fuel gauge needle’s rapid move towards E. Undertaking long journeys might suggest that you are borderline mad as refinement levels are marginal. The Defender may be hard work on the road, but it really is something you can get used to, eventually.

How much?

It has always been possible to get some money off a Defender, but rarely at the fleet discount levels you can find with many family cars. But it is possible to get some good deals on unregistered models. Windmill Land Rovers (01254 813 252) have a delivery- mileage 90 TDF County Hardtop that would have cost [pound]17,995 new on offer for [pound]16,750 and that includes metallic paint and tow pack. However, always remember to ask whether VAT is included.

Any snags?

There are no fundamental flaws, and the feedback from owners is universally positive. The only problem appears to be with the electrics, as the models have become a bit more complex over the years. Otherwise, owners have to look out for oil leaks.

Since 1993 there have been only four recalls, most of which related to other models and should have been sorted under warranty.

specifications Launched: 1990 Engine sizes: 2.25-litre, 2.5, 3.5 V8, 2.25D, 2.5TD, 2.5Tdi, 2.5Td5 Performance (Td5): top speed 85mph, 0 to 60mph in 15.1 seconds Economy: 28.2mpg Safety: NCAP, n/a


  1. sherryyu -  November 28, 2011 - 6:53 pm

    i meant reading problem

  2. Jan Willem -  November 13, 2011 - 3:02 pm

    Download? Ah, no. It sounds philanthropic (“I nearly kept it to myself” and “I’m not really a business guy” in a 2011 interview) but in fact Boer has a commercial design company called studiostudio. The designer is asking from €70 / household to over €500 per school location.

    NOT ‘LIKE’ – there is a world of people helping others with a handicap (visual, auditive, mobile or other) for free. Screen readers, Braille keyboards, Daisy software (reading CD-books aloud) and much more, most on Linux, a lot on Windows and Apple.

    I challenge designers to help people with a visual handicap by designing a good font and sharing it with the accessibility community with an ‘open’ license. See wikipedia for this concept.

  3. Judith -  November 9, 2011 - 12:35 pm

    Surely that type block used as an illustration isn’t the font that he designed? It’s pretty strange that none of those links to ordinary words (how distracting!) link to something that shows us what he designed. Where is it? What does it look like?

  4. Archon -  November 4, 2011 - 11:57 pm

    @ Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry

    The apparent intended semantic value of the sentence seems to be, “to change or modify the act(s) already happening, of reading by some people, by improving comprehension and thereby increasing volume.” In that usage the verb “affect” is correct.

    Only if (your understanding of) the meaning is, “to cause reading which otherwise would not happen, to occur”, would the verb “effect” be proper.

  5. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  November 4, 2011 - 3:25 am

    REPORTING– an overcorrection: The original word, effect, was correct: to the extent that “this remarkable way,” referring to the touted improved font, was indeed to _effect_ reading, previously _affected_ (off/mis/nonreading).


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