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Usability: font readability effects on perceived company ethos

February 29th, 2008 | By Cedric Madelaine

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I have read weeks ago a very interesting report published by The Software Usability Research Laboratory (SURL). It describes a study made on the relation between the typeface of a website, its readability and the impression made on the user in term of perception of company ethos. It shows something that is not very new but it proves that typefaces’ readability influences users unconsciously in term of perceived trust of a company.

Typeface and analogd

From the start of analogd, I have been focused on font choices and readability. I put it at the core of each project. I think it is closely related to the fact that part of my Art and Design studies were focused on typeface design. Typeface studies are something which is very traditional in Switzerland and pushed forward. After all we are the country of Adrian Frutiger and Jan Tschichold who are part of typography history and present. I designed matrix fonts which were very quick to build. But the project which was the most time consuming was the design of a true text font for use on paper: 1912 Burgdorf. It was a lot of work and is not directly related to what I do today, but I think it practised my eye to visual balance and gave me passion and respect for typeface and typeface designers. (I may do a post on this subject soon)
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The report on usability effect on user perception

“This study investigated the effect of website typeface appropriateness on the perception of the site’s company. Results indicate that typefaces that are high in appropriateness should be used for websites. Neutral and low appropriate typefaces significantly decreased the perception of the company as judged by professionalism, believability, trust, and intent to act on the site.”
A. Dawn Shaikh The Effect of Website Typeface Appropriateness on the Perception of a Company’s Ethos.

Afterword fotns which mades sites untrusted

It is not very surprising to see that a website using Curlz font is not considered as “trusty”. But I think it is more interesting to see how best fonts are classified. It shows a total success to windows vista clear types. In addition I wonder if we can trust the position of Arial which is rated under Calibri and Cambria. I guess this result could be a bit biased by the fact that people are more used to Arial than to Calibri and Cambria. The novelty may play a role. Fore and foremost, this report is a reminder and a manifest for the quest of perfect screen readability. I have focused on the top of the chart and was surprised how slight differences in term of readability have direct effects on a company perception. In every case readability should be considered as a core element of an efficient website design.
Do not miss another interesting article on: Examining the Legibility of the Letter “e” and Number “0″ Using Classification Tree Analysis
by D. Fox, B. Chaparro, & E. Merkle

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World Usability Day November 8 2007

October 30th, 2007 | By Cedric Madelaine

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November 8, 2007 World Usability Day by UPA

November 8, 2007 will be the World Usability Day. It is the third edition of the worldwide event focused on spreading awareness of user-centered/human centered design for products and services. It is organized by the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA). This year the theme is Health where usability is a vital concept. The World Usability Day event is a success story, each year number of coordinated events is increasing, for example in 2006 it gathered 225 events in 175 cities in 35 countries that attracted over 40,000 attendees and volunteers. It is supported and sponsored by major actors of our field like Adobe, Google, Microsoft User Research, Dell, Techsmith and some of international leaders of usability services.

Do not miss it!

Have a look at which event is occurring near your location you would certainly find an event on usability which fits your interests and who knows propose your own event next year? It is a great opportunity to meet famous specialist of usability and user-centered design. Learn what are the latest discoveries and experiments of usability whether related to user interface, objects, services and more.

More to come on usability and user centered design.

More to come about usability on analogd’s blog, for example about a very interesting usability report I read recently which presents results involving fonts readability put in relation with companies’ image on users, Vista Cleartypes performed very well!

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