Citations for ragged (natural) right margin? (take II)

Subject: Citations for ragged (natural) right margin? (take II)
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005 15:17:42 -0400


Dan Goldstein replied to my reply: <<That may be the right answer, but not to my question.>>

And it's all about you, huh? What about my need to climb upon the podium and pronounce at great length? <gdrlh>

Sorry... I didn't try looking them up because I don't buy the study results, but since you're actually looking for a _useful_ answer <g>:

<<I asked if anyone knew how to *find* the studies that Leah cites -- so I can read them first-hand.>>

If you can't find them online via Google (use the appropriate keywords: typography, legibility, justification, readability), I'd recommend contacting the local university library and asking them to find the articles. For that matter, why not contact Leah directly and ask her for the full citation? A quick Google turns up her e-mail address (leah -at- words -dot- israel -dot- net).

<<Your reply suggests that you've read the Hartely & Burnhill, Coe, and Misanchuk studies. Can you point me to a URL?>>

Haven't read those specific studies, but I've read a great many such studies over the years. I even have some of the better ones packed away in a box somewhere for future reference. But I'm an empiricist in these matters (blame my scientific training), and suggest that rather than relying on study results, you try a little experiment: It's trivially easy to demonstrate any legibility result that you want with modern DTP software (even with Word) by simply juggling any of a dozen typographic parameters until you get the desired result for the one parameter you wish to draw conclusions about.

All typographic studies that I've seen are fatally flawed for one of two reasons: First, they may not follow the basic scientific condition of _ceteris paribus_--"all else being equal". Type is heavily multifactorial, and it's simply not possible to obtain a definitive conclusion based on any single factor unless you rigorously control all other factors ("all else being equal"). But as soon as you exercise that degree of control, the study conditions become so restrictive that you limit the applicability of the conclusions to those conditions alone. That's the seecond reason.

Justification is a single factor, thus... [proof left to student]

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
www.geoff-hart.com
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References:
RE: Citations for ragged (natural) right margin?: From: Dan Goldstein

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