Our tagline begins with the words “where all find a welcome”, and we believe that this doesn’t just apply to the people greeting you at the door or to the people leading the service, but to the technology which supports us as well. That’s why when we heard from a member of our congregation with poor eyesight that our digital orders of service had given them a whole new way of experiencing services – by being able to scale up the text on their phone to a comfortable reading size – we decided to explore other ways we can make our orders of service more accessible.

We already try to make our website friendly for assistive technologies like screen readers (although we know we can do better, so we’re always making improvements), but we realised we could use the power of technology to put more accessible orders of service front and centre for a commonly sidelined disability: dyslexia.

Thanks to a typeface called OpenDyslexic which is designed specifically to combat some of the more common symptoms of dyslexia. Amongst other things, the letter shapes are all unique and have distinctive ‘heavy bottoms’ which help combat rotation and transposition.

By combining this typeface with a little bit of code, we’ve been able to add some accessibility-boosting buttons to our orders of service:

An order of service page, showing the new “Large text” and “Dyslexia-friendly” buttons

Clicking the new “Dyslexia-friendly” button swaps the entire order of service into OpenDyslexic:

An order of service page with “Dyslexia-friendly” selected, showing the order of service text in the OpenDyslexic typeface.

This can even be combined with the new “Large text” button (which does what you’d expect – it makes the order of service text bigger):

An order of service page with both “Large text” and “Dyslexia-friendly” selected, showing the order of service text in a larger OpenDyslexic typeface.

As a follow-up to this, when we’ve finished overhauling some bits of our website’s underlying code, we hope to make this kind of assistive switch available across the whole site – we know it’s a bit strange to be talking about dyslexia-friendly content in a non-dyslexia-friendly blog post.

If you have dyslexia we’d love to hear what you think of this change, good or bad.