The ease in which text can be understood (based on content, not formatting). Readability is not to be confused with legibility, which is the ease with which text can be read (based on formatting, not content).

learn more… | top users | synonyms

88
votes
5answers
11k views

Why do dialogs have grey backgrounds?

Most Windows/Mac/Linux dialogs I've seen have grey backgrounds. About-dialogs, settings pages, wizards, confirmation and error dialogs etc. Is there a reason from a usability perspective or is this ...
61
votes
11answers
7k views

Does the Oxford Comma increase readability?

There are many puns online where not having the Oxford comma (Serial comma) can be interpreted as something other than intended, such as the infamous Sky News notification: It’s hilarious, I know, ...
45
votes
4answers
4k views

Why are messages on the road printed in reverse?

After reading this question, something occurred to me that I've always wondered - but never thought to ask. Why are road messages/signs printed in reverse? (source https://xkcd.com/781/) Anytime ...
39
votes
6answers
3k views

If nobody reads Privacy Policies or Terms and Conditions, why not change them?

Once I read that if you were to read all the Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy and similar documents that you ideally need to read before using software or online services in a given year, you'd ...
38
votes
12answers
11k views

Is OK/NOK better than “fail/success”

We are discussing with my team-mate how we should indicate in our project logbook whether a specific action ended with success or not. I started putting it like timestamp | action name (fail) | ...
26
votes
5answers
1k views

Can you sacrifice grammar to keep instructions simple, specifically when using a(n)?

Because of the way the form is written, step-by-step in first person, it is necessary to put the a(n) to keep them grammatically correct for the Administrator case. However I feel like it makes the ...
24
votes
5answers
4k views

How easy to read are small caps vs lower case?

I'm well aware that text in ALL CAPITALS is harder to read than text in lower case or mixed case, for whatever reason. But what about Sᴍᴀʟʟ Cᴀᴘs? With a bit of Googling I can't find any references ...
23
votes
5answers
3k views

Color choice for maximum legibility of text on glass

In our office we have transparent glass doors and we want to put text stickers on them. For example, name of the person or room function. The question is what color should be stickers to provide ...
23
votes
7answers
2k views

How long should a temporary notification (toast) appear?

For our intranet application we have little notification messages (toasts) that indicate successful operations like "information saved," "logged out" etc. Most of them are not important enough to ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

Readability of overlaid text on images

Text on images seems to be very popular these days, and it does look nice. However, it can be hard to control the legibility of the text. I have darkened the background, and added text-shadow, and it ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

How to display a large quantity of (read-only) fields?

I have a page in a site I'm working on that requires we show the user a large amount of field information when the user requests it. This is an account information page, so will list their personal ...
19
votes
4answers
968 views

Dark screens in cars

I am a designer just preparing an app for the "in car" area. Normally we have a bunch of colors to use and we usually use dark colors on a light background. Now our client came up with some question ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Can text shadow enhance readability?

CSS font shadows are often used to help make text stand out (or in, or colorful, or many other fancy things.) I'm wondering if it can be used to aid readability. I know finding the right amount of ...
18
votes
4answers
5k views

What's the best way to make a user read terms and conditions before continuing a form?

What's the best way to make a user read terms and conditions before continuing a form? Structure of Form: Label1 [Textbox] Label2 [Textbox] Terms and Conditions [Textarea] Checkbox ["I agree to the ...
18
votes
5answers
643 views

Which placement of list of ingredients is most convenient for the cook?

In the process of doing the layout for a cookbook, I'm faced with the problem of placing the list of ingredients for each recipe. I've looked at several cookbooks and seen numerous approaches. I can ...
16
votes
9answers
1k views

When should a year be added to a timestamp?

Stack Exchange uses relative timestamps to indicate when an action occurred; a question was asked, edit was made etc. This is done as far back as "2 days ago"; anything prior to exactly 48 hours ago ...
16
votes
7answers
1k views

Ideal breaks for long numbers?

Is there any rules-of-thumb or actual research on how to make long numbers more legible? We are dealing with 14 digit numbers: 12345678912345 This can be hard to read back over the phone as it's ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

Why not use san-serif fonts on print design?

It's better to use san-serif than serif fonts on web, as their simpler letter form remain readable at low resolution. Serif fonts need more pixels to display their extra details. I was wondering why I ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Should UTC timestamps, such as those in Stack Exchange hover-texts, include day of the week?

There is a proposal on Meta Stack Exchange to add the day of the week to the hover-texts for timestamps on Stack Exchange, which currently show a raw UTC timestamp, of the form YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SSZ, ...
15
votes
9answers
643 views

How to reference (and provide links to) online content in offline media?

Provided that print publications produced in-house and "physical" advertisements have to reference or "link" to online content, what is an accessible (in broader sense) and user-friendly way to do so? ...
13
votes
1answer
599 views

What's the ideal length of a paragraph

We all know what the ideal number of characters is for a line, however I haven't been able to find any guides on the number of lines that provide the best readability. I understand this is a bit ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

How to style table headers?

Default styling in popular CSS framework such as Bootstrap styles headers with title case and bold text. Question Is there any proof to sustains this choices as it makes the headers more salient ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

How to design usable web site terms & conditions?

What are some guidelines and examples for designing usable legal terms for web sites? I know that most users don't read it, but are there innovative ways to improve readability and presentation of ...
10
votes
6answers
898 views

Is highlighting important words a good idea?

Is it a good idea to highlight the important words in a text on a web page? What impact does it have on the reader? Does it help to understand the text or does it disturb?
10
votes
2answers
244 views

How can I determine how large of a font size and how wide of a container to use?

Usually I just choose this spontaneously and without much thought, but I have a feeling that's not the best idea: How can I size my font and its container for an optimal reading experience to my users?...
10
votes
4answers
10k views

Any usability studies of the readability of Open Sans?

I like the look of Open Sans, but I've heard anecdotes of people having trouble reading it. For example on the Wordpress post about it, most are praising it, but a few people are quite negative: ...
10
votes
2answers
564 views

Chat arrangement question: Left or right?

I'm building a small chat. Now I see but in other chats (whatsapp, facebook mobile chat, sms ...) that the arrangement is always the same: Left: the chat partner. right: myself Why is that?
10
votes
5answers
3k views

Relationship between font-size and width of container

Are there any studies done which tell us the relationship between the font size and the optimal width of the container they are in? For example, 12px font size is going to be too small in a container ...
9
votes
8answers
1k views

What is the best way to indicate read-only cells within a table?

I have many tables, actually data grids, where most of the cells will be editable, but some may not depending on the users permissions. I am thinking of using light gray backgrounds on the read-only ...
9
votes
4answers
682 views

automatically calculate contrast

A user can change the default design of his site by selecting a color. This color is applied to the menu background color. The problem is that I have to change the menu text color depending on the ...
8
votes
8answers
544 views

Hyphens or en dashes—which are more readable when used in number ranges (for North American web users)?

Is there evidence to show that number ranges are more readable using hyphens or en dashes (on digital screens for North American web users)? Wikipedia notes that, according to your style choice, you ...
8
votes
4answers
13k views

Is adding commas to numbers a cultural thing?

In the US, it's very common to add a comma for numbers of more than 3 digits (ex: 1,000 for one thousand ; 1,000,000 for one million ; etc.). In France though, we don't use this at all and commas are ...
8
votes
2answers
919 views

Is there any research with respect to how font-weight affects readability?

Is there any research with respect to how font-weight affects readability? Obviously, there is some relation there, but I'm struggling to make a decision based on any facts. I created a jsFiddle ...
8
votes
4answers
521 views

Designing for children and young readers?

I am a writer and a developer. I wanted to publish my stories online and wanted to create my own website to publish. I was looking for some inspiration of a simple, readability oriented design. Some ...
8
votes
2answers
352 views

Is a number easier to read with the thousand separator?

This may sound like a stupid question but I'm being taken to task for this at the moment. Personally I believe that it's easier to read 1,234.56 than 1234.56. However there are others that are saying ...
8
votes
1answer
452 views

Is a colour contrast compliant if it passes WCAG but fails the earlier W3C test used on Snook.ca?

There are some colour contrasts that, when checked using a tool like snook.ca, give results like this (testing #003354 and #00D5BD): According to every one of the newer WCAG criteria, this passes. ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

How useful is this coffee cup “hot contents” warning?

I came across this on Dan Pink's blog. This caption on a coffee cup is supposed to serve as a warning sign to caution people that the coffee is hot and care must be taken to avoid burns. The ...
8
votes
2answers
244 views

How can redicle technology speed up reading up to five times or more?

I’m usually a slow reader, and it takes me 40 effective hours to shoot through a standard size book. My colleague gave me a tip to read books using redicle technology developed by Spritzinc (where you ...
6
votes
2answers
768 views

Does drawing a dash across the numeral 7 (seven) increase readability?

The RBRC battery recycling logo was recently updated to add a dash to the final digit 7 (seven) in the phone number: Does this increase readability? In what situations, if any, is writing the ...
6
votes
4answers
293 views

Why are news sites articles one big block of text instead of broken down with subheaders?

I have noticed something about sites like cnn, reuters, cbsnews etc. All of these have long blocks of text. They don't try to break it up with sub-headers even visually. http://blogs.reuters.com/...
6
votes
4answers
300 views

Studies about how many lines from a testimonial a user will read on home page

I am building a home page for one of our products and researching how to integrate testimonial section. In my first prototype, I have 3 sentences which makes 6 lines on a tablet. My thought is ...
6
votes
2answers
238 views

What is the validity of contrast and colours tests?

I just ran a contrast and colour test (using checkmycolours.com in this case) on our corporate site (www.dotblue.net; if you care) and it reports quite some failures. However, I explicitly optimized ...
6
votes
2answers
100 views

Why do we always append messages at the bottom rather than the top?

I'm designing an instant messaging interface right now, which made me curious: In forums, you usually see the most recently appended items at the bottom of the list. This is also the way the iPhone ...
6
votes
5answers
5k views

Easiest to read fonts

Has there been studies to determine what fonts make it easiest to read? I'm interested in the font type, but also size and color. For example, is dark gray better than pitch black? Also of interest ...
6
votes
3answers
169 views

Best Readable Console Colour

I am working on a system that outputs a PASS or a FAIL depending on what happened. There are other text being displayed so I would like to write the PASS or FAIL messages in colour as to easily ...
6
votes
6answers
10k views

What default font to choose for desktop applications?

Finding the right font for an application seems to be an art. There seem to be many standards. Arial seems to be used in most applications I have seen, Segoe UI is the standard for Microsoft Windows ...
6
votes
4answers
612 views

Why are image captions so compelling that they get read 300% more than body copy?

"Captions under images are read on average 300% more than the body copy itself". http://blog.kissmetrics.com/shocking-truth-about-graphics/ My research tells me this finding comes from David Ogilvy, ...
5
votes
5answers
644 views

“Millions of colors” vs “24-bit”: should technical concepts be simplified to ease understanding at the cost of precision?

Macs indicate 24-bit color depth by using the term "millions of colors", while Windows calls it "24-bit" or "32-bit". (I'm aware that Windows "32-bit" color simply adds an alpha channel that doesn't ...
5
votes
1answer
179 views

Reasoning for highlighting a sentence in the middle of an article

I noticed a trend in many news websites where a sentence from the article is duplicated and highlighted somewhere else on the page, for example: Personally, while I think it is visually pleasing as ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the most dyslexia friendly colour combination

Following on from this question I asked a while ago: What is the most dyslexia friendly font? I'd like now to know whether there are any colour combinations (or sets of colour combinations from ...