Readability in Software and Web Applications

25 Mar 2009 - 3:31pm
434 reads
Adam Lerner
2009

Is anyone aware of studies relating to the relative readability of formatted
text?

I am currently working on designing a client-server application that
contains data entry screens as well as information display screens to be
referenced long after the data has been entered. On the display screens, the
information is generally formatted into phrases and sentences.

Consider the following as a fictional example: a user might encounter a
question with radio buttons such as:

Are you hungry? Yes No

When reviewing the information later, that response would be parsed
sentence-like on the display screen with a label, such as

"Hunger: You are hungry"

On the information display screen there will be many of these items and the
user will have to scan quickly to the ones she feels are relevant. It is,
therefor, the response that is important, rather than the label. I would
like to call out the response by bolding or otherwise emphasizing it. This
might facilitate rapid scanning of the screen to find the key responses.
Others in my organization would like to bold the labels -- mainly, I think,
because they are used to seeing labels bolded.

So, my questions are:

1. Does anyone have data on optimal methods of displaying this sort of
information for readability/scanability in high-pressure, rushed
environments?
2. Is anyone aware of studies related to readability in relation to
obtaining information from screens rather than simply reading articles or
stories on the web?

I am open to paying for research or white papers if necessary.

I appreciate any direction you may have.

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