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serif or sans-serif fonts - was: RE: Cognitive SC 1.4.8

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 18:41:40 +0200
Message-Id: <6.2.5.6.2.20070925172107.03564e20@esat.kuleuven.be>
To: Lisa Seeman <lisa@ubaccess.com>, "David MacDonald" <befree@magma.ca>
Cc: "WCAG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Hi,

At 11:05 25/09/2007, Lisa Seeman wrote:
>Hi David
>
>(...)
>
>
>----------
>From: David MacDonald [mailto:befree@magma.ca]
>Sent: Friday, September 21, 2007 2:05 AM
>To: 'Lisa Seeman'
>Subject: RE: Cognitive
>
>Hi Lisa
>
>
>
>Any luck on research?

With regard to serif versus non-serif fonts:
* Aries Arditi and Jianna Cho: "Serifs and Font 
Legibility". Vision Research. Volume 45, Issue 
23, November 2005, Pages 2926-2933.
Abstract from ScienceDirect:
Using lower-case fonts varying only in serif size 
(0%, 5%, and 10% cap height), we assessed 
legibility using size thresholds and reading 
speed. Five percentage serif fonts were slightly 
more legible than sans serif, but the average 
inter-letter spacing increase that serifs 
themselves impose, predicts greater enhancement 
than we observed. RSVP and continuous reading 
speeds showed no effect of serifs. When text is 
small or distant, serifs may, then, produce a 
tiny legibility increase due to the concomitant 
increase in spacing. However, our data exhibited 
no difference in legibility between typefaces 
that differ only in the presence or absence of serifs.
(You can get the full text in 
www.sciencedirect.com after free registration. 
According to ScienceDirect, no articles cite this article.)

* Jonathan Ling and Paul van Schaik: "The 
influence of font type and line length on visual 
search and information retrieval in web pages" 
International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. 
Volume 64, Issue 5, May 2006, Pages 395-404.
Abstract from ScienceDirect:
Most web sites are heavily text-based. Previous 
research has indicated that the way in which this 
text is presented may have a significant impact 
on usability. This paper reports findings from 
two experiments that explored the influence of 
font type and line length on a range of 
performance and subjective measures. Experiment 1 
used a visual search task and Experiment 2 
examined information retrieval. Overall, there 
was little impact of font on task performance, 
although the effect of line length was 
significant, with longer line lengths 
facilitating better scanning (Experiment 1) and 
shorter line lengths leading to better subjective 
outcomes (Experiments 1 and 2). Implications of 
these results for the design of web pages are 
discussed and recommendations given.
Comment:
The article also contains the following 
paragraph: "For example, Bernard et al. (2003) 
compared serif and sans serif fonts in 12- or 
14-point size in a task where participants had to 
detect substituted words in text. They found that 
14-point fonts were more legible, led to faster 
reading, and were preferred to the 12-point 
fonts. However, they also found that even though 
participants performed tasks more quickly with 
serif fonts, they still preferred sans serif fonts."

* The article by Bernard et al is: Michael L. 
Bernard, Barbara S. Chaparro, Melissa M. Mills 
and Charles G. Halcomb: "Comparing the effects of 
text size and format on the readibility of 
computer-displayed Times New Roman and Arial 
text." International Journal of Human-Computer 
Studies. Volume 59, Issue 6, December 2003, Pages 823-835.
Abstract from ScienceDirect:
Times New Roman and Arial typefaces in 10- and 
12-point, dot-matrix and anti-aliased format 
conditions were compared for readability 
(accuracy, reading speed, and accuracy/reading 
speed), as well as perceptions of typeface 
legibility, sharpness, ease of reading, and 
general preference. In assessing readability, the 
10-point anti-aliased Arial typeface was read 
slower than the other type conditions. Examining 
perceptions of typeface legibility, sharpness, 
and ease of reading detected significant effects 
for typeface, size, and format. Overall, the 
12-point dot-matrix Arial typeface was preferred 
to the other typefaces. Recommendations for 
appropriate typeface combinations for computer-displayed text are discussed.
Comment: It is unfortunate that the researchers 
chose Arial instead of a sans-serif with a better 
reputation ("A Hate-On for Arial": 
http://www.flickr.com/groups/anti-arial/; "The 
Scourge of Arial": http://www.ms-studio.com/articles.html; ...).

* Sarah Morrison and Jan Noyes: "A Comparison of 
Two Computer Fonts: Serif versus Ornate Sans 
Serif" <http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl/usabilitynews/52/UK_font.htm>.
This article compares the serif font Times New 
Roman and the ornate sans-serif font Gigi. I 
haven't read this completely, but if there's a 
distinction between ornate sans-serif fonts and 
other sans-serif fonts, it may not be much good 
to refer to sans-serif fonts generically in the proposed technique.

There's more research than this, but I currently 
don't have time to delve deeper.

Best regards,

Christophe



>
>
>Thanks.
>
>David
>
>
>
>access empowers people...
>
>         ...barriers disable them...
>
>
>
><http://www.eramp.com>www.eramp.com
>
>From: Lisa Seeman [mailto:lisa@ubaccess.com]
>Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 4:25 AM
>To: 'David MacDonald'
>Subject: RE: Cognitive
>
>
>
>Hi David
>
>
>
>
>
>This is a hard one. I know there is research 
>somewhere but I am having trouble laying hands 
>on it - I will try again after the Jewish new year.
>
>
>
>I am wondering however about the affect of this 
>as bay itself without short sentences and 
>paragraphs, or decent structure. Long text 
>spanning pages will not help if you can not 
>remember the previous sections. I am wondering how much this is thought though,
>
>
>
>
>
>Lisa
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>----------
>From: David MacDonald [mailto:befree@magma.ca]
>Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 1:28 AM
>To: 'Lisa Seeman'
>Subject: Cognitive
>
>Hi Lisa
>
>
>
>I’ve been trying to push forward a SC on 
>readability for cognitive, learning and language 
>issues to the group. It’s hard slugging as you 
>might imagine. However, I have a tentative yes on the following SC.
>
>
>
>1.4.8 : The visual presentation of text does not 
>contain identified obstructions to readability.
>
>
>
>The following techniques are necessary to 
>satisfy this Success Criteria (inclusive):
>
>         Providing a mechanism to select 
>foreground and background colors/hues. (HTML, CSS)
>
>         Presenting text in sans serif font or 
>providing a mechanism to achieve this (CSS)
>
>         Providing controls on the Web page 
>that incrementally change the size of the text (cross link)
>
>         Presenting blocks of text not more 
>than 500px wide or providing a mechanism to achieve this.
>
>         Avoiding text that is fully justified 
>(to both left and right margins) in a way that 
>can cause space greater than 2 "M" width space 
>between words, or characters or providing a 
>mechanism to remove justification (future link) [LC-1253] [LC-569 (add)]
>
>         Providing sufficient inter-line and 
>inter-column spacing or providing a mechanism to achieve this. [LC-569 (add)]
>
>
>
>Do you have any data in the form of research 
>papers that justifies each of these above 
>techniques? Or could you get access to any research papers on this.
>
>
>
>Regards
>
>David MacDonald
>
>
>
>access empowers people...
>
>         ...barriers disable them...
>
>
>
><http://www.eramp.com>www.eramp.com

-- 
Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 bus 2442
B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
BELGIUM
tel: +32 16 32 85 51
http://www.docarch.be/ 


Disclaimer: http://www.kuleuven.be/cwis/email_disclaimer.htm
Received on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 16:42:03 GMT

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