AN ANALYSIS OF TYPOGRAPHIC FACTORS ON THE VISUAL INFORMATION PROCESSING OF DISABLED READERS
This investigation utilized an experimental design to probe the relationship between the typographical design of the printed page and the initial stage of recognition in the visual processing of disabled readers. The independent variables included: (1) the typeface width--standard, condensed, and extended; (2) print weight--regular and medium bold; and (3) two variations of leading--one-and two-point. Letter height was held constant by using the same typeface (Geneva, sans serif, 11-point). Also held constant was area illumination (2150(DEGREES)K). The dependent variable was the number of correct responses made by sixty disabled readers on a three-hundred word tracking exercise that was assembled in composition form but contained no meaningful sentences. This approach enabled subjects to read for word recognition rather than comprehensive meaning, enhancing the possibility that the subjects would be using an initial stage of visual information processing. Each of twelve printed selections contained a combination of the three independent variables. Five subjects were randomly assigned to each of the twelve forms. Each student read one form. The exercise was interspersed with the target word "pac-man," twenty times. Subjects who were of average intelligence and reading two or more years below grade level completed the exercises individually, identifying and underlining the target words in a one-minute time limit. Scores were tallied by counting the number of correctly underlined target words. These scores provided the raw data. The relationship between print characteristics and disabled readers was treated statistically by a three-way analysis of variance. The results of this experiment led to the conclusion that extended letter width was significantly less legible (p < .05) than the standard or condensed widths across the two print weights and the two variations in leading. The major contribution of the study is the implication that specific features of typography can influence the effectiveness of the reading process for the disabled reader.