RE: A new point about fonts to argue and speculate over

Subject: RE: A new point about fonts to argue and speculate over
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Kelley Walker <kelley -dot- walker -at- libtax -dot- com>, TECHWR- L <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- TECHWR-L -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2012 11:13:34 -0500

Applies to driving as well.
The more ordinary drivers are coddled and insulated, the less
present and aware they are for what should be their primary
concern while behind the wheel.

I can't point to sources, but I've read ... or read of ... studies
that show incidence of that (unfortunately) familiar situation
of arriving at a destination without a clear memory of having
traversed the intervening streets and roads, increases the
less people are required to participate in driving. That is, people
are more likely to zone out if they have automatic transmissions,
cruise control, lane-change-avoidance, parking assist, etc., than
if they have a [relatively] barebones mechanical contraption
with which they must participate in the driving experience.

Applies to child-rearing as well.

The more children are bubble-wrapped and protected, the
less they reach out and explore and pay attention to the
[possibly lesson-teaching] hazards of the real-life environment.
Apparently, when us old farts were free-range kids, getting bumps
and scrapes and scaring ourselves while climbing trees and building
tree-forts, and hunting tadpoles at the town reservoir, we were
learning more of our limits - and how to expand them - and getting
accustomed to setbacks and disappointments - and how to get past
them. Our young lives had flavor.

When I (occasionally) watch an episode of one of those TV shows
where a couple are looking for a warm-climate second home, or
to simply move their families to "paradise", I have to laugh (ok,
snicker derisively) when they reject fabulous homes because
the counter-tops have corners, or the yard has a steep(-ish) ravine
at the back, or the wrap-around balcony has a railing that isn't 1000
percent child-proof. Oh... or the children's bedrooms would be
separated from the mommy-daddy room by a stairway or by
the width of the house.

No doubt it's a bias, but I have no problem accepting that aspects
of documentation that promote/demand attention on the part
of the readers are likely to also promote actual engagement with
the material itself. The trick - as with all other things - would be
finding that balance that engages attention without making the
process too effortful for hurried/harried customers to stick with
the task (as opposed to giving up and calling the help line or asking
the cube neighbor).

I've often thought that the very best presentation of user
documentation/help would be something that simulated
the knowledgeable cube neighbor. :-)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+kevin.mclauchlan=safenet-
> inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-
> bounces+kevin -dot- mclauchlan=safenet-inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
> Behalf Of Kelley Walker
> Sent: November-05-12 9:44 AM
> To: TECHWR- L
> Subject: RE: A new point about fonts to argue and speculate over
>
> I wonder if there are any plans to study readability? If legibility
> matters in the sense that a more difficult to read font slows people
> down, then does readability of the content show similar patterns? If
> it's easy to get through material, and you don't have to slow down
> and think about what you are reading, does the same confirmation
> bias pattern emerge?
>
> Are there aspects of technical writing that would take advantage of
> this finding? Are there times we want users to slow down, work
> harder (cognitively speaking), in order to encourage a more analytical
> response to the content?
>
> IIRC, there's a similar pattern with sharp edges and corners versus
> rounded corners. People respond more warmly and are put at ease
> with rounded corners. But they are more on edge, more cautious and
> careful, and their analytic reasoning skills increase, when in
> environments with sharp edges and corners.
>
> Kelley
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > Behalf Of Keith Hood
> > Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2012 8:49 PM
> > Subject: A new point about fonts to argue and speculate over
> >
> > I just read an article that basically says you can make people change
> the
> > intensity of their feelings on issues if you force them to read about
> the issues
> > in a font that is difficult for them.
> >
> >
> >
> > Here's a couple of quotes from the article:
> >
> >
> > "Liberals and conservatives who are polarized on certain politically
> charged
> > subjects become more moderate when reading political arguments
> in a
> > difficult-to-read font, researchers report in a new study. Likewise,
> people
> > with induced bias for or against a defendant in a mock trial are less
> likely to
> > act on that bias if they have to struggle to read the evidence against
> him."
> >
> > berals and conservatives
> > who are polarized on certain politically charged subjects become
> more
> > moderate when reading political arguments in a difficult-to-read
> font,
> > researchers report in a new study. Likewise, people with induced
> bias
> > for or against a defendant in a mock trial are less likely to act on
> > that bias if they have to struggle to read the evidence against him.
> >
> > Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-difficult-to-read-font-
> political-
> > polarity.html#jCp
> >
> > " 'We showed that if we can slow people down, if we can make
> them stop
> > relying on their gut reaction â that feeling that they already know
> what
> > something says â it can make them more moderate; it can have
> them start
> > doubting their initial beliefs and start seeing the other side of the
> argument a
> > little bit more,' Hernandez said."
> >
> >
> > Here's a link to the article I saw:
> >
> > http://phys.org/news/2012-11-difficult-to-read-font-political-
> polarity.html


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Follow-Ups:

References:
when is it ok to leave a contract job?: From: Becca
Re: when is it ok to leave a contract job?: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: when is it ok to leave a contract job?: From: Lisa G Wright
Re: when is it ok to leave a contract job?: From: Lauren
Re: when is it ok to leave a contract job?: From: Lisa G Wright
Re: when is it ok to leave a contract job?: From: Lauren
A new point about fonts to argue and speculate over: From: Keith Hood
RE: A new point about fonts to argue and speculate over: From: Kelley Walker

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