a resource for investigating how people read on screens
::: university of texas > school of information ::: microsoft typography research

We are investigating the user response to Microsoft's ClearType™ font enhacement technology.
ClearType is a setting that is manipulated through the operating system of devices using
Liquid Crystal Display screens. ClearType works by altering the vertical color stripe within a pixel,
allowing for changes in how the text looks at fractional levels. These changes are intended to enhance
the resolution of the screen text and improve readability.

Images from microsoft.com/typography

Regular text (without ClearType)
ClearType text

Spring 2006 Update

The results from Study 3 will be presented at CHI 2006 (Montreal, April 22-27).

Here's the unofficial version of the CHI 2006 paper (after April 27, 2006 please cite and use the copy available from ACM's Digital Library):
Visual Search and Reading Tasks Using ClearType and Regular Displays: Two Experiments

Since Study 3, we've collected and analyzed data on how users transition back-and-forth between ClearType and regular text. Further results on our ClearType work will be published later this year in a comprehensive article.

Latest Reports:

In Study 1 we looked at whether individuals have a preference for choosing ClearType text when
given a choice of three different font styles--some of which had ClearType, and others that were
just regular text. We found that people selected text with ClearType 80% of the time.

In Study 2, we investigated user behavior as participants completed standard everyday office tasks
(with either ClearType on or off) such as editing a Word document, scanning an Excel spreadsheet,
and reading an on line article. When ClearType was present, participants read from a computer screen
approximately 30 seconds faster.

In Study 3 we followed up on the results of Study 2 by examining separately the scanning and reading tasks.
In this report, we find continued support that on average, users perform tasks faster with ClearType.

Turning ClearType On:

If you have Windows XP, you can turn ClearType on by:

  1. Right-click on your Desktop and select Properties
  2. Click the Appearance tab
  3. Click the Effects button
  4. Click the checkbox by Use the following method to smooth edges of font screens
  5. Select ClearType from the drop down box
  6. Click OK

Research Team:

Former Team Members:

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