Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, July 26, 2004

How Much Margin? White Space Does Affect Reading Performance

The critical importance of white space in the effective delivery of visual content is well supported by this report comparing the reading performance of four different white space layouts. "Margins surrounding the text and leading (space between lines) were manipulated to generate the four white space conditions. Results show that the use of margins affected both reading speed and comprehension in that participants read the Margin text slower, but comprehended more than the No Margin text. Participants were also generally more satisfied with the text with margins. Leading was not shown to impact reading performance but did influence overall user preference. ...The use of white space for online reading is important as the number of people using online textbooks and materials continues to grow at a steady rate. ...Designers should be aware of the potential influence of white space on reading performance."



Reference: Usability News [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2009-08-12 17:49:24

Steve S

@Chas Porter: Good designers base their decisions on the best information they have available. Given that people have varying preferences and are often unreliable at reporting their experiences accurately, don't you think a formal study might be more reliable than one person's gut? Studies like this have already found that a lot of common knowledge about print does not apply to electronic medium in the way that most people expected.

2004-07-29 06:09:21

Chas Porter

I'm so tired of usability wonks and others who can't act without the support of statistics. Why can't these people just look at the text and see what reads and what doesn't. A good designer can. Good designers are already aware of the influence of white space on reading performance. Stop sucking the art out of design with stupid studies such as this.

posted by Robin Good on Monday, July 26 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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