GuideInterview with Helperbird founder & dyslexic, Robert James

By Courtney Hood

What made you develop Helperbird?

  • At my first week Teamwork.com I was encourage to build anything I wanted. I decided to make a simple extension for the font OpenDyslexic to help Dyslexic readers like myself have a font option on webpages that were hard to read.
Have a good day
Have a good day

When were you diagnosed?

  • People suspected I was dyslexic when I was around 8, but I was officially diagnosed at 15 when I was struggling in school. One of my teachers told my parents that I should just drop out of school and my Mom pursued getting me tested to help find a solution for me. Only 8 months after being diagnosed and starting to get the help I needed, I ended up winning my first technology award.
  • That teacher didn’t sound very encouraging.
  • She wasn't hahaha

  • Did you have any teachers that left a positive impact?
  • Sean Foley was my Physics teacher and he was super encouraging and even helped me get my first internship. Definitely was someone who saw something in me and that was very reassuring at that time in my life.

  • How did you come up with the name Helperbird?
  • I had a previous website called ProjectBird and ended up liking the bird theme I guess haha. And obviously the helper part came from how the app is designed to help people.

  • Do you feel like there’s a stigma attached to dyslexia?
  • I think there still is unfortunately. Everyone’s different and has different abilities, if there is an area in life that you struggle with, whether it’s dyslexia or not, I don’t think you should feel ashamed for seeking help. Everyone does the best that they can with what they are given, no matter who you are we’re all in the same boat just trying to do our best.

  • Looking back, any advice you’d give to your younger self?
  • Bet on Fulham to get promoted haha. No but really I’d prob give myself the same advice I’d give to any younger person, if you’re struggling with something don’t stay quiet about it. I’d let them know that it’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to even need help. Everyone needs help sometimes.

Frequently asked questions

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Reach out to our customer support team.

What is Helperbird?
Helperbird is your all in one accessibility extension that gives you the features to make the web more accessible and productive. Providing you text to speech, OCR, dyslexia support, dictation, immersive reader, overlays, annotate any website, picture dictionary, Reader mode, and more.
Do you offer discounts?
Yes. When you pay for a year upfront, you’ll get two months free. We also offer discounts for students.
How do I login ?
We use the email your logged into Google Chrome or your browser. Suppose you need to update your email. Just contact us.
Do you accept purchase orders?
Yes we do. You can either contact support or visit our purchase orders page
Do I need a student email for the student pricing
Yes, we are doing the honour system here. We will follow up to ask for confirmation you are a student.
Can we cancel at any time?
There's no minimum contract for Helperbird — cancel at any time without penalty or hassle. If you prepaid for a year, we'll refund any unused months. To cancel, open up the app, go to the subscription option, and click cancel.
Why are we charging for this?
The $6.99 per month is to support the cost of the development of new and upcoming features. We also do a yearly subscription for $60.00 as this is a one-person team.
What browsers does Helperbird run on?
Currently Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Edge. Coming soon on macOS Safari extension and iPad.
I have a suggestion!
Excellent I would love to hear about it! Email [email protected] with your suggestion.
Does Helperbird and OpenDyslexic work on Google Docs?
Yes! Google Docs currently doesn't support some fonts like OpenDyslexic. So we built CSS and support for these fonts.
What if I have more questions?
We'd be happy to answer them.