Thursday, June 16, 2011

Should we present new material in new fonts?

I found this fascinating.  Study suggests 'hard to read' fonts may increase reading retention reports:

In the study, as described by lead author, Connor Diemand-Yauman in an interview with ABC Radio National, a first group of volunteers, comprised of 28 adults, were asked to read some fictional text and then were asked questions about the characters involved afterwards. The volunteers were divided into three groups, with each being given the same text but printed in a different font; the first got 16-point Arial, the second 12-point Comic Sans MS and the third 12-point Bodoni MT. The group that had the so-called hard to read Comic Sans outperformed the other two on the questions given afterwards.
In the second study, the volunteers were high school students (over 220 of them, from six separate groups) reading normal course material in different fonts; some of which were considered hard to read, such as Comic Sans or Monotype Corsiva. Once again, those that were reading the material printed in the more difficult to read fonts outperformed those reading easier type on tests given afterwards.
Diemand-Yauman says these experiments show that people tend to remember what they’ve read better if the material given is in a hard to read font.
What’s not discussed in the paper, however, is if it was possible that the results achieved were due simply to the newness of the fonts to the readers...

Maybe we should presenting new material to our children in a different font each week?

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