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LPfont an investigation into the legibility of large print typefaces by Sylvie Perera

Summary

The optimum design of publications in large print for people with low vision is dependent on the specific target audience. Most large print books in the UK are purchased by public libraries for older readers who may have macular degeneration or cataracts. However the choice of typeface does not appear to have been based on scientific research.

This project examined parameters including the shape and weight of characters, the spacing, the degree of serif and the design of punctuation symbols. In each experiment, the typefaces were altered so only the variable being tested varied. Potential and actual users of large print books from a variety of sources around the UK participated in the research. Subjects responded about the relevant typefaces in samples of continuous text using questionnaires or during interviews.

The results revealed that people with low vision are not a homogeneous population so an 'optimised' typeface may not apply to every reader. For the shape of the characters, Wilcoxon tests indicated that the new typeface was significantly more legible than Times New Roman or Arial. Collating the results from each of the experiments enabled a typeface to be designed. This typeface aims to be more legible than currently used large print typefaces.

 

Acknowledgements

The author is grateful for the advice of Dr John Gill and Dr Janet Silver. Thanks are also extended to Mr Pete O' Donnell. She would also like to thank all the subjects for making this report possible by offering their time and participation.


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