Proceedings: GI + CHI 1987

Why reading was slower from CRT displays than from paper

John Gould, Lizette Alfaro, Rich Finn, Brian Haupt, Angela Minuto

Proceedings of the SIGCHI/GI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems and Graphics Interface: Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 5 - 9 April 1987, 7-12

DOI 10.1145/29933.30853

  • BibTex

    @inproceedings{Gould:1987:10.1145/29933.30853,
    author = {Gould, John and Alfaro, Lizette and Finn, Rich and Haupt, Brian and Minuto, Angela},
    title = {Why reading was slower from CRT displays than from paper},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the SIGCHI/GI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems and Graphics Interface},
    series = {GI + CHI 1987},
    year = {1987},
    issn = {0713-5425},
    isbn = {0-89791-213-6},
    location = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},
    pages = {7--12},
    numpages = {6},
    doi = {10.1145/29933.30853},
    acmdoi = {10.1145/29933.30853},
    publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
    address = {New York, NY, USA},
    }

Abstract

Experiments, including our own (Gould et al., 1982; 1984; 1986), have shown that people read more slowly from CRT displays than from paper. Here we summarize results from a few of our fifteen experiments that have led us to conclude that the explanation centers on the image quality of the CRT characters. Reading speeds equivalent to those on paper were found when the CRT displays contained character fonts that resembled those on paper (rather than dot matrix fonts, for example), had a polarity of dark characters on a light background, were anti-aliased (e.g., contained grey level), and were shown on displays with relatively high resolution (e.g., 1000 x 800). Each of these variables probably contributes something to the improvement, but the trade-offs have not been determined. Other general explanations for the reading speed difference that can be excluded include some inherent defect in CRT technology itself or personal variables such as age, experience, or familiarity at reading from CRT displays.