Questions tagged [readability]

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).

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101
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
63
votes
11answers
8k 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, ...
49
votes
5answers
7k 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 I ...
48
votes
7answers
22k 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 ...
47
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
44
votes
13answers
19k views

Is OK/NOK better than "fail/success"

My team is discussing how we should indicate, in a logbook, whether a specific action ended with success or not. I started putting it like timestamp | action name (fail) | description timestamp | ...
43
votes
16answers
18k views

Best user friendly phone number format

What is the best way to write a phone number? Are there any studies in this regard? I personally consider two factors: Country code: +393401234xxx or 00393401234xxx The first example I think is ...
32
votes
6answers
14k 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 ...
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 ...
26
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
25
votes
4answers
30k views

What is the best number of paragraph width for readability? [duplicate]

Since my current project has a lot of text/paragraph content, I consider about the readability of the website. I've seen and try to inspect any of sites that I feel have a good readability such as ...
24
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

When to use white text on top of a color for readability?

I am setting the background of a textbox to some variable color. I know the hex/rgb of the color I'm setting the background to. Normally the text is black (or very very dark gray). On some colors, it ...
21
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
13k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
918 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
6k views

Why not use sans-serif fonts on print design?

It's better to use sans-serif than serif fonts on the web, as their simpler letter form remain readable at low resolution. Serif fonts need more pixels to display their extra details. I was wondering ...
18
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
17
votes
10answers
4k views

Ways to improve readability of recipe ingredients?

I am building a recipe website and I'm trying to improve the readability and scannability of the ingredient lists. I've tried a bunch of different options but I'm not sure what is best. Here are some ...
17
votes
4answers
34k views

Is using a comma as a number separator 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
15k 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 ...
16
votes
9answers
785 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? ...
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
3answers
2k 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?
13
votes
6answers
3k 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?
13
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
38k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
12
votes
7answers
5k views

"Realistic" Thermostat Interface vs Minimalist

I am developing a Web Interface for Temperature control of certain rooms/zones. Every time the + icon is clicked, a new card appears as shown. The large number will be the temperature based on a ...
12
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
381 views

What are the best practices to design user interfaces that are going to be used under direct sunlight?

I'm designing an application that will be mostly used under direct sunlight, and I would like to know if there are some recommendations or best practices to improve usability under that conditions. ...
12
votes
5answers
348 views

Readability between sans serif and serif for "foreign language users"?

I am curious about whether "foreign language users" find a difference in readability of text between sans serif and serif. Here, I am defining "foreign language users" as people whose primary/first ...
11
votes
2answers
665 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?...
11
votes
4answers
17k 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: I ...
11
votes
5answers
3k 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 problem ...
11
votes
3answers
6k 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
8answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
898 views

How to automatically calculate contrast

Scenario: a user can change the default design of a 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
426 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
15k views

How long does it take to read X number of characters?

I am creating an iPhone app where I need to show transient confirmation messages (called a toast in Android). For example, when a user submits a comment, I pop up a message saying "thanks for ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

How do cards improve readability?

Most of the apps and websites are adapting to card design to display necessary information. What makes cards so intuitive and attractive for read/view?
8
votes
4answers
552 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
750 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
8k views

Grey versus white background for ease of use and readability/legibility

Many websites by default use a white background for maximum contrast (with black text) so I am wondering if there is a case for a very light grey background to be used instead because it comes up as ...
7
votes
4answers
376 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 that ...
7
votes
1answer
725 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. ...

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