Most of our time online is typically spent reading text, yet we don’t often consider how accessible that text is. The typefaces, fonts, and text styling used can have a significant impact on the user experience — and there are few accessibility guidelines that relate to text accessibility. In this presentation, guest speaker Jared Smith provides an overview of how reading is processed in the human mind, and how to minimize the cognitive effort and maximize the visual accessibility of online text.
For most people, the human mind is incredibly adept at reading text. Once sufficient reading skills are achieved the brain can quickly form mental models for texts. This allows us to avoid the visual parsing of distinct letters and even words, so we instead quickly process blocks of character and word shapes and patterns almost instantaneously into meaning.
Typography, font, and text styling choices can significantly impact this, thus slowing reading speed, interfering with text-to-meaning conversions, and increasing cognitive processing that could otherwise be utilized by the reader. View the presentation to learn about the reading processes, and gain recommendations and suggestions to optimize typography and text presentation.
We’ve pulled together the resources and highlights from this meetup with Jared Smith. Explore the resources and watch this video.
Jared Smith is the Associate Director of WebAIM. He is a highly demanded presenter and trainer and has provided web accessibility training to tens of thousands of web professionals throughout the world.
With over 20 years of experience working in the web design, development, and accessibility field, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that is used to help others create and maintain highly accessible web content. Much of his written work, including a broad range of tutorials, articles, and other materials, is featured at WebAIM.org.