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Vision for reading

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We read with a succession of rapid horizontal movements of the eyes and after each movement the eyes have to be realigned. The relatively slow re-alignment takes longer when the word that is being read is vertically striped. In consequence, striped words such as mum take longer to read than words such as dad that are not spatially periodic. Spatially periodic fonts such as Times are often read more slowly for similar reasons, but their spatial periodicity depends upon a few common trigrams that can be redesigned. The current design of text for children is demonstrably sub-optimal: reading speed, comprehension speed and reading age can all be increased by simple changes in text size and design. Fortunately it may now be possible to guide the design of text using mathematical principles that increase legibility.

This talk is part of the Craik Club series.

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