Re: Typographical treatment of GUI components

Subject: Re: Typographical treatment of GUI components
From: "Chuck Martin" <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 22:51:22 -0700

"David Chinell" <dchinell -at- msn -dot- com> wrote in message news:206093 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> I don't subscribe to the idea that an expert reader could
> skim the bolded terms in a procedure. This sounds like a
> good idea, but we don't read with our minds, we read with
> our eyes. So good ideas don't always measure out as improved
> readability. In other words, I've never skimmed that way.
Ah, but I cannot disagree more. I make no claim to expertise in this area,
but from what I have learned, what you say simply isn't true.

First, my sources. One of my professors at the University of Washington, Tom
Williams, focuses his research in this area. And I also had a general
psychology course a few years ago.

The eyes are nothing more than a lens. Eyes literally cannot read.
Everything that the eye gathers is perceived and translated by the mind.

And in fact, your eyes do skim. When you read a book, your eyes actually
take in blocks of text at once. I didn't beleive it, but we performed an
experiement that proved it. Here's what you do. Pair up with someone. One
person reads a book. The other watches the eyes of the reader. Watch the
eyes start and stop at spots along the page. (I have the name of those spots
on the tip of my tongue, but I can't quite dig them out of memory.) As
areader, you may think that you're reading steadily across lines, back and
forth, but you're really not, physically.

Then there's the perception part that also drives where the eyes focus. It's
been shown on web pages, for example, that eyes are drawn to links. If you
have a paragraph of text with embedded links, they eyes will be drawn to
those links.

I have been wanting to take more classwork in the area of cognitive
psychology. Many of the practitioners in the field of UI design and HCI have
degrees in the field. I have taken just baby steps in this discipline, but
it has helped me not only in designing information, but in designing the
applications themselves. Such design helps users accomplish their tasks
(including with more robust embedded user assistance) without the need to
turn to Help systems or paper books.

Chuck Martin


sourcing tool for FrameMaker that lets you easily publish your content
online. No macro language required!

Mercer University's online MS Program in Technical Communication Management:
Preparing leaders of tomorrow's technical communication organizations today.
See or write George Hayhoe at hayhoe_g -at- mercer -dot- edu -dot-

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Typographical treatment of GUI components
Next by Author: Re: A sticky contractor situation: no pay yet?
Previous by Thread: Re: Typographical treatment of GUI components
Next by Thread: Re: Typographical treatment of GUI components

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads