ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0212.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Psychology Keywords: font; spatial periodicity; discomfort; reading speed; autocorrelation; Fourier amplitude spectrum
Online: 16 February 2020 (04:47:43 CET)
The speed with which text can be read is determined in part by the spatial regularity and similarity of vertical letter strokes as assessed by the height of the first peak in the horizontal autocorrelation of the text. The height of this peak was determined for two passages in 20 fonts. The peak was unaffected by the size of the text or its content but was influenced by the font design. Sans serif fonts usually had a lower peak than serif fonts because the presence of serifs resulted in a more even spacing of letter strokes. There were small effects of justification and font- dependent effects of font expansion and compression. The visual comfort of images can be estimated from the extent to which the Fourier amplitude spectrum conforms to 1/f. Students were asked to adjust iBooks to obtain their preferred settings of font and layout. The preference was predicted by the extent to which the Fourier amplitude spectrum approximated 1/f, which in turn was jointly affected by the design of the font, its weight and the ratio of x-height to line separation. The above algorithms can be usefully applied to any orthography to estimate likely speed and comfort of reading.