A presentation at Dutch Digital Accessibility Congress 2019 in
May 2019 in
Driebergen, Driebergen-Rijsenburg, Netherlands by
Readability on the Web • NCDT 2019 • May 16, 2019
Photo of a woman reading a book on a couch in a living room. Photo by iam Se7en on Unsplash
Photo of a man reading a book in a park, sitting on the grass. Photo by Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash
Photo of a woman reading a coffee place. Photo by Praveen Gupta on Unsplash
Photo of a subway with people reading newspapers. Photo by Peter Lawrence on Unsplash
Photo of a non-binary person reading on a smartphone. Photo from The Gender Spectrum Collection
Hi! 👋 I’m Damien.
Hi! 👋 I’m Damien. I am a digital designer, specialised in accessibility. I work for Castor EDC in Amsterdam as a Design systems & Accessibility Lead. Oh, and I use they/them pronouns.
Also, good to know: The slides of this talk are available: https:!//speaking.raccoon.studio/nofxSD
So! Let’s talk about readability.
But first, why?
Reading is not an easy thing.
The Web is mainly text-based And a text is not accessible per se.
There is two groups of reading impairments
Eye infection Hay’s fever
Dyslexia Hyperlexia (Autism/ADHD)
A quick focus on dyslexia
Up to 7% of the global population.
Commonly associated with ADHD, autism and dyscalculia.
Can also appear after traumatic brain injuries and strokes.
How do we read?
Reading is mainly a phonological process.
The reading experience depends a lot of the context & environment
Reading is not linear, we are reading by saccades.
And between each saccades, we have something called fixation.
During a fixation, everything except the focus is blurry.
And every few fixations, we need a small break.
The size of our saccades and the frequency of fixations are depend of the type of reading. On screens, we are mainly using our exploratory reading pattern.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is developed through the W3C process in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world, with a goal of providing a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.
We are first analysing the paragraph before starting to read.
On a screen, we are not reading in a word-by-word manner.
Yuo cna porbalby raed tihs esaliy desptie teh msispeillgns.
You can probably read this easily despite the misspellings.
This is possible thanks to letters’ identifying features
These identifying features allow us to read more easily.
problem porbelm pbleorm
Saccades & fixations, experimentation by Nielsen Norman Group
Photo of a hallway in an airport with giant signs. credits: Mijksenaar
The 4C of readability
Continuity: repetition of the information until the endpoint
Conspicuity: being easily seen or noticed
Consistency: keeping the same wording along the way
Clarity: the message needs to be clearly understandable
Thanks Paul Mijksenaar 👍
Readability & web content.
There is no one-fits-all solution.
A good contrast is primordial.
But too much contrast can create a blur effect.
Try shades of black for chars, and beige for backgrounds.
White space is your best friend. We need resting space.
Align to the centre is for title. Justify text should be avoid.
In paragraph, users should be able to highlight text.
Bold important content
Avoid the use of too generic content, be specific for links
Use HTML and design accordingly. (yeah, dl exists and it’s amazing)
Basically, please be semantic.
Always include the most important points in the first two paragraphs.
Start headings with the words carrying most information
Group small related content with a strong visual system
Keeping consistent layout motivates our users to read more when looking for an information.
Users should have two ways to access an information.
Video of a user going through the homepage of my portfolio with pages accessible from the navigation and from the content itself.
You know… this kind of really useful distractions
Hey buddy! You looks friendly but… no thank you!
And please… let your users the time they need to read.
+1 The last, but not the least…
+1 Remove unneeded content.
How to experiment with your projects?
Using recording tools showing mouse position heat-maps
You can learn what is catchy and how to optimise a page
Using a screen reader and tools like a Web Rotor.
Video of a user going on my portfolio and using the WebRotor feature of my screen reader to see the heading hierarchy.
Some good examples.
Except the contrast (😅), this is readable and distraction-limited.
Smashing Mag is not afraid using bold and big font-sizes
A good grid and a good hierarchy is everything.
Readability and content grouping with in clear way
A nice & clearly readable design, must-have for webshop
Merci beaucoup ! Thank you! Tack! Bedankt!
Damien Senger Digital designer, specialised in accessibility. raccoon.studio • noti.st/hiwelo
View Readability on the Web on Notist.
Readability on the web is much more than language. Damien Senger takes us on a journey through the many facets that make a text easy to read on the web.
The following resources were mentioned during the presentation or are useful additional information.
Here’s what was said about this presentation on Twitter.
Had a great evening speaking at @idea11y next to @erikkroes. Content & Contrast, great mix of talks by @detonite 👍 🙇🏻♂️. Also I just discovered that I'm part of the schedule for the Dutch Digital Accessibility Congress @ncdtnl 🎉 Looking forward to being there! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/v8Zm5kWj2m— Damien Senger • hiwelo. (@iamhiwelo) March 21, 2019
Had a great evening speaking at @idea11y next to @erikkroes. Content & Contrast, great mix of talks by @detonite 👍 🙇🏻♂️. Also I just discovered that I'm part of the schedule for the Dutch Digital Accessibility Congress @ncdtnl 🎉 Looking forward to being there! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/v8Zm5kWj2m
@iamhiwelo will explain how people really read online. Damien Senger with "Readability on the web" at NCDT on May 16th. #gaad #ncdt2019 https://t.co/H3fmFBJ9mt pic.twitter.com/SV2VE1Hrm2— NCDT (@ncdtnl) May 7, 2019
@iamhiwelo will explain how people really read online. Damien Senger with "Readability on the web" at NCDT on May 16th. #gaad #ncdt2019 https://t.co/H3fmFBJ9mt pic.twitter.com/SV2VE1Hrm2