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The benefits of typography video?
- Text Trumps Images and Videos
The folks at the Nielsen Norman Group spend a lot of time studying the eye movements of average web users. They use heat maps to track the points on web pages that are viewed more often than others. Their research uncovered some interesting facts. For example, one study revealed that while 22% of initial eye fixations were on graphics, 78% were in the text.
This particular study was related specifically to news readers, and arguably there is a good reason why they are more interested in words than in pictures, but this is not an isolated example. People searching through multiple pages looking for something specific tend to show similar patterns of eye-fixation. Generally, there is an “F” shaped pattern, where readers first focus on headlines and then scan the page looking for what they need. When they find something interesting, the pattern changes to a more predictable block shape, showing that they are reading through a paragraph or two.
Studies done on the memory retention of information are also interesting. When comparing information recalled from text versus information from multi-media, people tended to have better retention when reading than when watching videos. One test showed between 88% and 96% recall from text versus only 38% to 70% from the video. This all points to the fact that words are at least as important as images on web pages.
- Typography Affects People’s Perceptions
Errol Morris conducted an interesting experiment in the New York Times in July 2012 related to typography. He quoted a passage from David Deutsch’s The Beginning of Infinity, dealing with the probability of an asteroid strike on planet earth, and then asked readers to rate their own feelings of credulity, or confidence in Deutsch’s claims. He ran the same test using six different typefaces to find out whether or not people’s minds can be changed simply by choosing a font.
More than 100,000 people clicked on the page, and approximately 45,000 people took the quiz. The results were conclusive. Out of the six fonts, Baskerville generated the most (perceived) trust, followed by Computer Modern, Georgia, Trebuchet and Helvetica which fostered progressively less and less confidence in the claims. Can you guess which font came in last? In the last place, with the least amount of perceived credibility, was Comic Sans.
Which surprised exactly 0% of people.
In other words, font choice is about more than just readability or visual impact.
- Typography Affects People’s Moods
The American Psychological Association (APA) interviewed Kevin Larson, Ph.D. – who works at Microsoft Headquarters – researching the way typography affects the minds of readers.
His studies showed the negative impact on readers caused by those annoying typographical blunders: poor contrast and font size less than 12pt leading to eye fatigue. He also points out the benefits of good typography, explaining that people are encouraged to read more when the font style is psychologically pleasing. In other words, a happy reader keeps reading.