Readability Research: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Sofie Beier, Sam Berlow, Esat Boucaud, Zoya Bylinskii, Tianyuan Cai, Jenae Cohn, Kathy Crowley, Stephanie L. Day, Tilman Dingler, Jonathan Dobres, Jennifer Healey, Rajiv Jain, Marjorie Jordan, Bernard Kerr, Qisheng Li, Dave B. Miller, Susanne Nobles, Alexandra Papoutsaki, Jing Qian, Tina Rezvanian, Shelley Rodrigo, Ben D. Sawyer, Shannon M. Sheppard, Bram Stein, Rick Treitman, Jen Vanek, Shaun Wallace, Benjamin Wolfe

Readability is on the cusp of a revolution. Fixed text is becoming fluid as a proliferation of digital reading devices rewrite what a document can do. As past constraints make way for more flexible opportunities, there is great need to understand how reading formats can be tuned to the situation and the individual. We aim to provide a firm foundation for readability research, a comprehensive framework for modern, multi-disciplinary readability research. Readability refers to aspects of visual information design which impact information flow from the page to the reader. 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.

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