Members of The Readability Consortium are marked with ⁂

Members of The Readability Consortium’s Internal Research Team are marked with ⁑

Research Associates of The Readability Consortium are marked with *

HFES | Format Readability Enhancing in Basic Mathematical Operations


October 2023

Individuated font selection, which can increase text reading speed, may be able to increase mathematical expression reading speed and influence reasoning accuracy. To investigate whether the same font that increases a participant’s reading speed enhances mathematical reading, we compared their speed in evaluating mathematical expressions as true or false presented in their fastest reading font as determined by empirical test and with a control font, Times Roman.

Caterina B Azzarello1,3, , Dave B Miller 2, *, Ben D. Sawyer1, ⁑, Joanna E Lewis3, *


  1   2   3

One Font Doesn’t Fit All: The Influence of Digital Text Personalization on Comprehension in Child and Adolescent Readers

June 2023

Reading comprehension is an essential skill. It is unclear whether and to what degree typography and font personalization may impact reading comprehension in younger readers. With advancements in technology, it is now feasible to personalize digital reading formats in general technology tools, but this feature is not yet available for many educational tools. The current study aimed to investigate the effect of character width and inter-letter spacing on reading speed and comprehension.

Shannon M. Sheppard1,*, Susanne Nobles2,*, Anton Palma3, Sophie Kajfez1, Marjorie Jordan4, ⁂, Kathy Crowley4, ⁂, Sofie Beier5,*


  1     2   3    4  Readability Matters 5

VSS | What’s your type? Psychophysics of Variable Fonts: Reading Speed and Comprehension Measures

May 2023

Variable fonts allow designers to manipulate how text appears along many continuous axes. This produces text that looks very different, from a single font file, and these continuous axes lend themselves to researchers using psychophysical techniques to study them.

Silvia Guidi1,2, Zainab Haseeb1,2, Anna Kosovicheva1,2,*, Benjamin Wolfe1,2,*

1 2

VSS | What’s Your Type? Psychophysics of Variable Fonts: Gaze Measures of Reading Efficiency

May 2023

Reading is a complex task that presents challenges across different platforms, and finding the optimal font and spacing for individuals remains an ongoing area of study. Our goal was to investigate the effects of variable fonts on reading performance. Variable fonts allow designers to manipulate text appearance along many continuous “axes”. This allows them to produce text that looks very different, all from a single font file. Variable fonts uniquely allow customization of font appearance along a set of continuous parametric axes within a single font file lending themselves readily to psychophysical techniques.

Zainab Haseeb1,2, Silvia Guidi1,2, Benjamin Wolfe1,2,*, Anna Kosovicheva1,2,*

1 2

VSS | THERIF: Diverse Reading Themes for Readability

May 2023

Digital reading applications give readers the ability to customize fonts, sizes, and spacings, all of which have been shown to improve the reading experience for readers from different demographics. However, tweaking these text features can be challenging, especially given their interactions on the final look and feel of the text.

Tianyuan Cai1, Aleena Gertrudes Niklaus1, Michael Kraley1, Bernard Kerr1,*, Zoya Bylinskii1, ⁂



CHI | How Bold Can We Be? The Impact of Adjusting Font Grade on Readability in Light and Dark Polarities

Video Presentation

19 April 2023

Variable font file technology enables adjusting fonts on scaled axes that can include weight, and grade. While making text bold increases the character width, grade achieves boldness without increasing character width or causing text reflow. Through two studies with a total of 459 participants, we examined the effect of varying grade levels on both glancing and paragraph reading tasks in light and dark modes.

Hilary Palmén1, ⁂, Michael Gilbert1, David Crossland1, ⁂



CHI | Digital Reading Rulers: Evaluating Inclusively Designed Rulers for Readers With Dyslexia and Without

April 2023

Physical reading rulers are simple yet effective interventions that help readers with dyslexia. Digital reading rulers may offer similar benefits. Given their potential value, we provide the following contributions: (1) We host focus group sessions including people with dyslexia to build upon their lived experiences, (2) We provide evidence for designs that are effective and preferred, (3) We measure reading gains of rulers for readers with and without dyslexia.

Aleena Gertrudes Niklaus1, Tianyuan Cai1, Zoya Bylinskii1, ⁂, Shaun Wallace2


1   2 

WWW | Web Table Formatting Affects Readability on Mobile Devices

April 2023

Reading large tables on small mobile screens presents serious usability challenges that can be addressed, in part, by better table formatting. However, there are few evidenced-based guidelines for formatting mobile tables to improve readability. For this work, we first conducted a survey to investigate how people interact with tables on mobile devices and conducted a study with designers to identify which design considerations are most critical.

Christopher Tensmeyer1, Zoya Bylinskii1, ⁂, Tianyuan Cai1, Dave B. Miller2,*, Ani Nenkova1, Aleena Niklaus1, Shaun Wallace3


1    2   3 

CHI | THERIF: A Pipeline for Generating Themes for Readability with Iterative Feedback

March 2023

Digital reading applications give readers the ability to customize fonts, sizes, and spacings, all of which have been shown to improve the reading experience for readers from different demographics. However, tweaking these text features can be challenging, especially given their interactions on the final look and feel of the text. Our solution is to offer readers preset combinations of font, character, word and line spacing, which we bundle together into reading themes.

Tianyuan Cai1, Aleena Gertrudes Niklaus1, Michael Kraley1, Bernard Kerr1,*, Zoya Bylinskii1, ⁂



NOW | Readability Research: An Interdisciplinary Approach

12 December 2022

Readability can be enhanced by changes to the set of typographical characteristics of a text. These aspects can be modified on-demand, instantly improving the ease with which a reader can process and derive meaning from text. We call on a multi-disciplinary research community to take up these challenges to elevate reading outcomes and provide the tools to do so effectively.

Sofie Beier1,*, Sam Berlow2, ⁑, Esat Boucaud3, Zoya Bylinskii 4, ⁂, Tianyuan Cai4, Jenae Cohn5,*, Kathy Crowley6, ⁂, Stephanie L. Day2, ⁑,


Tilman Dingler, Jonathan Dobres2, ⁑, Jennifer Healey4, Rajiv Jain, Marjorie Jordan6, ⁂, Bernard Kerr4,*, Qisheng Li7, Dave B. Miller8,*,


Susanne Nobles9,*, Alexandra Papoutsaki10, Jing Qian, Tina Rezvanian4, Shelley Rodrigo11,*, Ben D. Sawyer2, ⁑, Shannon M. Sheppard12,*,


Bram Stein, Rick Treitman4, ⁂, Jen Vanek13,*, Shaun Wallace14, Benjamin Wolfe15,*


     3   University of Central Florida  4     5 


6  Readability Matters    8    9  10   


11     12     13   14   15     

VSS | Space for Readability: Effects on Reading Speed from Individuated Character and Word Spacing

December 2022

Our prior work shows that individual typeface selection per reader can significantly increase reading speed while maintaining comprehension. The present work extends that work to consider the influence of character and word spacing on adult reading performance in a large online study.

Shaun Wallace1, Jonathan Dobres2, ⁑, Zoya Bylinskii3, ⁂Ben D. Sawyer2, ⁑


  1    2   3

SSSR | Influences of Font Format on Reading Comprehension: Implications of Font Personalization in K-8 Students

July 2022

Digital reading applications give readers the ability to customize fonts, sizes, and spacings, all of which have been shown to improve the reading experience for readers from different demographics. However, tweaking these text features can be challenging, especially given their interactions on the final look and feel of the text.

Shannon M. Sheppard1,*, Susanne Nobles2,*, Sophie Kajfez3, Anton Palma, Kathy Crowley4, ⁂, Marjorie Jordan4, ⁂, Sofie Beier5,*


  1     2   3   4  Readability Matters 5

SSSR | The Effect of Individualized Font Formats on Reading Speed and Comprehension for Students in Grades 3-5

July 2022

This study assessed if the methods used to assess format readability gains in adults are appropriate for use with children and investigated if the format readability gains seen in adults generalize to children. The study results indicate that format readability gains seen in children mirror those observed in adults.

Stephanie L. Day1, ⁑, Amy E. Giroux 1, ⁑, Shaun Wallace2, Rick Treitman3, ⁂, Kathy Crowley4, ⁂, Marjorie Jordan4, ⁂, Ben D. Sawyer1, ⁑


  1     2   3   4  Readability Matters

DIS | Personalized Font Recommendations: Combining ML and Typographic Guidelines to Optimize Readability

June 2022

The amount of text people need to read and understand grows daily. Software defaults, designers, or publishers often choose the fonts people read in. However, matching individuals with a faster font could help them cope with information overload.

Tianyuan Cai1, Shaun Wallace2, Tina Rezvanian1, Jonathan Dobres3, ⁑, Bernard Kerr1,*, Sam Berlow3, ⁑, Jeff Huang4, Ben D. Sawyer3, ⁑,


Zoya Bylinskii1, ⁂


1   2    3    4

TOCHI | Towards Individuated Reading Experiences: Different Fonts Increase Reading Speed for Different Individuals

31 March 2022

This study considers whether manipulating font choice can improve reading outcomes in adult readers. When comparing fastest and slowest fonts, there was a 35% increase in reading speeds. This was not consistent across fonts, indicating that one font does not fit all. This points to a need for individuation, discussed in this study.

Shaun Wallace1, Zoya Bylinskii2, ⁂, Jonathan Dobres3, ⁑ , Bernard Kerr2,*, Sam Berlow3, , Rick Treitman2, ⁂, Nirmal Kumawat,


Kathleen Arpin, Dave B. Miller4,*, Jeff Huang5, Ben D. Sawyer3, ⁑


  1 2       5

Closed Letter Counters Impair Recognition


An often-repeated piece of advice when choosing fonts for great legibility is to use fonts with large counters and apertures. To identify effects of open and closed apertures on the letters ‘a’, ‘c’, ‘e’, ‘r’, ‘s’, ‘t’ and ‘f’, we ran an experiment using the serif font Pyke as stimulus. The letters in focus were designed for this experiment with three variations of open apertures (Open, Medium and Closed).

Sofie Beier1,*, Chiron A.T. Oderkerk1



The Dispute About Sans Serif Versus Serif Fonts: An Interaction Between The Variables of Serif and Stroke Contrast


It is a long-lasting dispute whether serif or sans serif fonts are more legible. However, different fonts vary on numerous visual parameters, not just serifs. We investigated whether a difference in word identification can be attributed to the presence or absence of serifs or to the contrast of the letter stroke.

Katsumi Minakata1, Sofie Beier1,*



VSS| Considering the Speed and Comprehension Trade-Off in Reading Mediated by Typography

September 2021

This research looks at how typography affects the tradeoff between speed and comprehension in reading. The results suggest that typeface design can help minimize these tradeoffs.

Shaun Wallace1, Jonathan Dobres2, ⁑, Ben D. Sawyer2, ⁑



HFES | Optimizing Electronic Health Records Through Readability

22 July 2021

Digital reading formats are a crucial component in regards to medical professionals engaging with Electronic Health Records. This study evaluates whether personalized reading formats can accelerate this engagement process without training or sacrificing comprehension. The results indicate that font optimization may be a direct way to accomplish this.

Rachel V. Ball 1 , Dave B. Miller2, *, Shaun Wallace3, Kathlyn Camargo Macias 1 , Kathlyn Camargo Macias 1 , Mahmoud Ibrahim 1 ,


Ernesto Robalino Gonzaga 1 , Olga Karasik 1 , Dekai R. Rohlsen-Neal 1 , Sarah Barrientos 1 , Edward A. Ross 1 ,


Abdo Asmar 1 , Ashley M. Hughes 1 , Peter A. Hancock 1 , Ben D. Sawyer4, ⁑


  1  University of Central Florida   2     3    4 

The Effect of Font Width on Eye Movements During Reading


Certain font features (e.g., letter width) can change the amount of space occupied by text in published works. Font styles/features are also known to affect reading eye movements (EM); however, few studies have examined these effects – and none used high-resolution displays.

Katsumi Minakata1, Sofie Beier1, *



Increased Letter Spacing and Greater Letter Width Improve Reading Acuity in Low Vision Readers


Low vision readers depend on magnification, but magnification reduces the amount of text that can be overviewed and hampers text navigation. In this study, we evaluate the effects that font variations letter spacing, letter width, and letter boldness have on low vision reading.

Sofie Beier1, *, Chiron Oderkerk 1, Birte Bay, Michael Larsen



AdobeMAX: One Font Does Not Fit All: Type Design and Comprehension


An innovative interdisciplinary research team recently challenged conventional wisdom by studying how type changes can impact students’ speed of reading comprehension.

Zoya Bylinskii1, ⁂, Shannon M. Sheppard2, *, Sofie Beier3, *


1     2   

VSS | Individual Differences in Font Preference & Effectiveness as Applied to Interlude Reading in the Digital Age

October 2020

Personalized reading formats can improve reading outcomes. The results of this study constitute a methodology for running large-scale controlled reading studies, a computational toolkit of crowdsourcing experiments, a list of concrete recommendations about favorable and effective fonts, and font normalization strategies.

Shaun Wallace1, Rick Treitman2, ⁂, Nirmal Kumawat, Kathleen Arpin, Jeff Huang3, Ben D. Sawyer4, ⁑, Zoya Bylinskii2, ⁂


  1  2  3   4 

VSS | Fonts of Wider Letter Shapes Improve Recognition in Peripheral Vision

June 2020

The goal in this study was to investigate the effect of font width on letter recognition. The results indicated a positive correlation between font width and letter recognition. The authors suspect that this is due to a reduction in the crowding interference from surrounding letters.

Chiron A.T. Oderkerk1, Sofie Beier1, *



CHI | Accelerating Adult Readers with Fonts

April 2020

This study evaluates both font preference and effectiveness. The research shows, after evaluating sixteen different fonts, that Noto Sans and Lato are optimal when the combination of reading speed and comprehension score is the measure. Across the full set of measures, Noto Sans was the “clear favorite.”

Shaun Wallace1, Ben D. Sawyer2, ⁑, Rick Treitman3, ⁂, Zoya Bylinskii3, ⁂, Jeff Huang4


  1    2  3  4