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Font Type and Colours

My progress has been delayed, solely because faded fonts and weak colours are used in the exercises. In the Irish language "fadas" have the same relevance as the letters themselves and yet they can be invisible when trying to get through exercises at speed. I'm sure that many learners do not have 20:20 vision and faded fonts and colours can lead to strain and tiredness. In some cases, this could cause students to drop out of the course. This would be a pity, because, without doubt, Doulingo is the best language course on the Internet. I would ask Duolingo to review these aspects of the Irish Language course and increase the visibility of "fadas", use more legible fonts and use strong colours in their screen presentation. In other words, make the Irish Language course more user friendly.

January 1, 2015



On the Duolingo Web site, this typeface, Museo Sans Rounded, isn’t good for distinguishing between i and í at small-to-medium sizes; the only way to increase the legibility of its diacritics is to use one’s browser to “zoom in” on the page, to increase the size at which its text is rendered. (Using a different typeface would be another possibility, but I doubt if that’s being considered — I think that the Irish, Portuguese, and Spanish courses are the only ones that currently need use of the í.) The text colors are controlled by Duolingo’s CSS files, which specify the colors on a site-wide level; they’d have to redesign part of their framework to allow language-specific text colors.

I don’t know anything about Duolingo’s apps, so I don’t know if they use the same typeface or the same text colors as the Web site.

Here’s a comparison of i vs. í at six different sizes (chosen because they’re readily available in Markdown — their sizes will be determined by the Duolingo CSS files, at least on the Web site). To me, only the top two are readily distinguishable:

<h1>1. i í</h1>

2. i í

3. i í

4. i í

5. i í
6. i í


Thank you for all that info, which is much appreciated. However, neither I nor my friends are techies and I was hoping for an obvious fix for what we see as a screen display problem. Sadly, it's fait accompli. Go raibh maith agat, arís (note: that is a "fada" on the final i.) Slán


Sadly, it isn’t a screen display problem — it’s a combined problem of typographic design and software infrastructure, which is why there is no easily applied fix.

If you use the Web site, you could try your browser’s “zoom in” command (e.g. in Firefox, found under View → Zoom) to see if that will make the fadas easier to read; I don’t know if a similar functionality is available in the apps. That wouldn’t have any effect on the text color, though.

EDIT: For the Web site, see this discussion for a workaround on the choice of typeface.


I use Ctrl and the + or - minus key to zoom in or out but working with these keys is gets tedious and slows progress. So we'll just struggle on, poor us. Maybe, some day the Duolingo programers will discover the fix but, alas, by then I'll be probably be a fluent Irish speaker. Go raibh maith agat.

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