Readability — The ease with which a text can be understood. * Legibility — The ease with which letters can be differentiated. In the image below you can see. Typographic clarity comes in two flavors: legibility and readability. What's the difference? Level 2. Practical Typography: · Level 3. Numbers, Signs and Symbols: · Level 4. Designers and Details: First, not all typefaces are–or should be–created with legibility as a primary design function. Many faces are drawn for the. Close to a year ago I wrote a post on legibility and readability in typographic design and at the time that difference wasn't completely clear to me. it needs to do two things at different levels of the typographic hierarchy.
Have high contrast between characters and background. Preferably, employ a plain background instead of a busy or textured one, since the latter interferes with the recognition of the fine details in the letterforms.
Use a clean typeface. The main way to test legibility is to measure reading speed in words per minute for a sample of users, as they read some simple text. Because people read at drastically varying speeds, this is best done as a within-subjects test, where the same test participants test multiple systems. See our course on Measuring User Experience for more on within-subjects vs.
As an example, see the test we did in comparing reading speeds on iPad, Kindle, and printed books.
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Readability measures the complexity of the words and sentence structure in a piece of content. The assumption behind this metric is that complex sentences are harder to parse and read than simpler ones. For example, a 12th grade reading level means that somebody with a good high-school diploma will be able to read the text without difficulty. The main guidelines to ensure readability are: Use plainspoken wordsthe shorter the better.
Avoid fancy words and made-up terms.
That last sentence is already pushing it a little: Passive voice can be used in rare circumstances when it allows frontloading of key terms. Aim at an 8th-grade reading level if targeting a broad consumer audience.
A 12th-grade reading level is often a good target to make text easy for readers with college degrees. We simply want words and sentences that correspond to that level of educational achievement, but written in a mature tone of voice. Testing Readability Readability is usually scored by computer. There are many readability calculators on the web and a common formula is built into Microsoft Word: While there are many readability formulas, they all focus mainly on the length of the words and the length of the sentences.
Longer words are usually less common in a language, and longer sentences are usually harder to parse, so these types of metrics make sense. But remember that these counts are only an approximation of what really matters: Reporting the reading level in terms of years of education is also only an approximation.
When we say that a reading level of 12 corresponds to a high-school diploma, that assumes that the high-school graduate was diligent enough to study and master all the grade-level materials and subjects. Many people get through high school despite having poor reading skills, and they would struggle with a text that scored at a 12th-grade reading level. Comprehension measures whether a user can understand the intended meaning of a text and can draw the correct conclusions from the text.
Legibility, Readability, and Comprehension: Making Users Read Your Words
In the case of instructional or action-oriented content, we also want users to be able to perform the intended actions after reading the text. The main comprehension guidelines are: Use user-centric language ; terms familiar to your audience facilitate comprehension. If targeting a specialized audience e. Accessible Web Design and User Tests Even the use of "technically" accessible templates may not be sufficient, lacking adequate support for people with various "reading" disabilities.
Following this, significant improvements regarding accessibility and usability ask for "rapid prototyping"-like user tests with at least one person of each target group, comprising checks for the following issues: Taking the target group into account when designing the information architecture - the paths and organisation including issues like navigation pages, breadcrumbs, Accessible Content Generation Accessible content generation asks for specific efforts.
To create "Easy to Read" content, a review carried out by 3 to 5 users and assisted by a person without a cognitive disability is essential.
- 1. Problem Description
Basically, graphical design is a powerful tool to provide better access to complex or unstructured data [ Jacobson ] and demand for user involvement and user testing of all alternatives and prototypes under discussion.
Web Site Launch and Operation As a last step the whole Web page including a final web accessibility check can be generated. A further change of the Web page i.
Challenges, Outcomes and Future Research Analyses showed that, concerning the meta- workflow of web engineering and the micro-workflow of Easy to Read: Web engineering models allowing early user involvement, testing and feedback in several iterations are more capable of taking usability requirements on board [ Kappel ]. The same is outlined for web accessibility [ Petrie ]. Analyzing Easy to Read aspects will propose solutions to problems going beyond pure content authoring aspects, having impact on any page and information displayed to the user.
Legibility and Readability have to become an integral part of the WAI guidelines and tools. This inherits the known problems of web accessibility take up in practice but avoids fragmentation in the web accessibility domain. Implementing Legibility and Readability has to support the request to better include web accessibility into the web engineering process. Easy to Read for specific groups of people with cognitive disabilities turns out more as a specialised profession and service to be made available on demand.
Letter case and text legibility in normal and low vision
It seems to overcharge mainstream as it is seen in the reluctance and problems in taking up even the most basic web accessibility requirements. Involving legibility and readability into web engineering will improve Usability and Accessibility in general but also underlines that very specific needs of people with cognitive disability will remain subject to specific services, be it assistive technology or personal support.
Plain language might be able to enter the general set of usability requirements, guidelines and tools as long as it supports usability. References Cooper, Alan et al The Essentials of Interaction Design.