Promova introduces a new mode to support language learners with dyslexia
- Foreign language skills open new doors for personal growth and professional success in today’s globalized world.
- Up to 20% of people worldwide have dyslexia, a learning disability that makes reading and writing more difficult.
- Promova, a one-stop solution for all your language learning needs, has partnered with talented dyslexic designer, Martin Pysny, to help dyslexics learn foreign languages more effectively.
- Dysfont, developed by Martin, is now available for Promova’s global community of 11 million learners via Dyslexia Mode.
October 3, 2023, Cyprus – Today, during Dyslexia Awareness Month, Promova announces that Dyslexia Mode is live across the web and mobile versions of their language platform. Learners with dyslexia can now use Dysfont, a specialized typeface developed by talented dyslexic designer and TEDx speaker, Martin Pysny, to assist with language learning.
The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as “a specific learning disability that is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.” In other words, dyslexia heavily affects reading and writing skills, which makes learning more difficult.
Dyslexia is the most common learning disability: estimates state that between 10-20% of people around the world are dyslexic. That makes up 80-90% of all people with learning disabilities, according to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.
The diversity of languages and multilingual environment may pose particular challenges for dyslexic children and adults, states the European Dyslexia Association.
“Most people (60-80 percent of those) with dyslexia have language-based learning problems, meaning that processing, or absorbing words - written or spoken - is a laborious process or that retrieval or expression - again, in conversation or writing - is difficult. Some dyslexics have difficulty with visual or spatial demands of learning, these are often the students who skipped over words when they read, had a slower reading speed, or could not remember how to spell sight words that can’t be sounded out, words like “enough.” They need customized systems for processing the information, practicing vocabulary and applying those grammar rules,” says Dr. Rebecca Mannis. As a learning specialist with 35 years of experience and founder of the Ivy Prep Learning Center, she helps children and adults with learning difficulties.
Considering how important foreign language skills are for modern life, Promova wanted to make their language platform more accessible to neurodivergent learners.
“In our globalized world, having foreign language skills is a powerful tool for personal success,” says Andrew Skrypnyk, CEO and co-founder of Promova. “Moreover, it’s a must for people who move abroad. According to a 2022 report by the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM), an estimated 281 million people were living in a foreign country in 2020. That’s 128 million more than in 1990 and over three times more than in 1970.
“Our mission at Promova is to help people worldwide achieve their language learning goals and, through this, live a fulfilling and happy life. Partnering with the Dysfont team to create Dyslexia Mode was a natural step for us. With this partnership, we aim to make it easier for dyslexics to learn new languages and raise awareness about the challenges learners with this condition face. Together, we hope to help reduce the impact that learning disabilities have on people’s lives.”
Martin Pysny has been developing Dysfont for about 9 years. This specialized font addresses the main challenges dyslexics face when working with text. First, varying ways to write the same letter in uppercase, lowercase, serif, sans, italic, or bold can make dyslexics perceive it as a different letter. Dysfont addresses this by making these versions as similar as possible. Second, dyslexics can easily confuse the letters p, q, b, and d, so Dysfont distinguishes these more.
“Knowing other languages, especially English, opens new horizons for any person. Unfortunately, people with dyslexia have always fallen behind in learning languages because the process is very exhausting for us,” says Martin Pysny, creator of Dysfont.
“When it comes to language learning through apps, there are some things that, in my opinion, should be considered to make it more accessible for neurodivergent people. For example, reducing the color brightness and avoiding colors that heavily contrast, offering different ways to memorize words (like listening and showing an illustration), and avoiding gamification features where you compete with others or yourself to finish activities faster. Promova already did all of that, and I believe adding Dysfont will complete the picture. I’m grateful to Promova for becoming the first company in the world to implement this font. Together, we can help empower dyslexics to learn foreign languages successfully.”
From October 3rd, Dyslexia Mode is available for free on Promova’s platform. Learners can access it by going to their profile, tapping Settings, and turning Dyslexia Mode on.
Founded in 2019 as a simple flashcard app, Promova is now a one-stop solution for all language learning needs. Promova offers a variety of tools, such as bite-sized lessons, a community of learners, tutoring, conversation clubs, and progress tracking. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning to create custom learning plans, Promova helps over 11 million people worldwide live their best lives by achieving their language learning goals.
The Promova team is made up of 100+ lifelong learners passionate about languages, from philologists to professional educators and language learning advocates. They work from Ukraine, Europe, and the U.S. and employ best-in-class teaching methodologies to make language learning accessible to people everywhere.
Dysfont is a unique typeface designed by Martin Pysny, a dyslexic designer and TEDx speaker. Martin’s mission is to raise awareness about design for people with dyslexia and visual stress and reduce the impact learning disorders have on people’s lives.
Dysfont has taken around 9 years to develop. It addresses the main challenges people with dyslexia or/and visual stress face, including:
- Letter switching and letter reversals: Dyslexics can perceive each letter form (uppercase, lowercase, serif, sans, italic, and script) as a separate letter. The letters p, q, b, and d, also cause confusion because they look so similar. Dysfont tackles these challenges by making the uppercase and lowercase versions as similar as possible and differentiating p, q, b, and d.
- Text instability (blurring, black dots, swirling, flickering, etc.): People with visual stress can experience a lot of text instability, provoked by high, imbalanced contrast between the black words and white background. Dysfont reduces the contrast between the text and background to ease readability and minimize the negative effects of visual stress.
The first version of Dysfont was developed in 2014. Now, Martin Pysny is working to turn Dysfont into a global platform for neurodivergent people from all walks of life. Recently, he launched the first version of Dysfont Pro, an upgraded version for non-profit and commercial use, which is already used at Promova. The next step is to develop a Dysfont Plugin for Google Chrome, which will convert any website to a dyslexia or visual stress-friendly mode.