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Designing readable text for older adults.

Changes in vision that occur with age can make it more difficult to read a computer screen. These include reductions in the amount of light that reaches the retina, loss of contrast sensitivity, and loss of the ability to detect fine details. (1) Following the guidelines will improve readability of online text. (2)

Typeface

Use a sans serif typeface, such as Helvetica, that is not condensed. Avoid the use of serif, novelty, and display typefaces.

Sans Serif: Helvetica Arial Univers News Gothic

Serif:

Novelty:

Display:

Tye Size

Use 12 point or 14 point type size for body text.

12 point: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

14 point: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

Tye Weight

Use medium or bold face type.

Helvetica Medium abcdefghijklmnopgrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Helvetica Bold abcdefghijklmnopgrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Capital and Lowercase Letters

Present body text in upper and lowercase letters. Use all capital letters and italics in headlines only. Reserve underlining for links.

Physical Spacing

Double space all body text.

Justification

There are three ways to justify type: left, full, or center justified. Left justified text is optimal for older adults.

This is an example of left justification.

Left justification allows an even left margin and an uneven right margin. This is an example of left justification. Left justification allows an even left margin and an uneven right margin. This is an example of left justification.

This is an example of full justification.

Full justification refers to text lines that are spaced so that the margins on either side are equal. This is an example of full justification. Full justification refers to text lines that are spaced so that the margins on either side are equal. This is an example of full justification.

This is an example of center justification.

Center justification balances text around a central axis. This is an example of center justification. Center justification balances text around a central axis.This is an example of center justification.

Color

Avoid yellow and blue and green in close proximity. These colors and juxtapositions are difficult for some older adults to discriminate. Ensure that text and graphics are understandable when viewed on a black and white monitor.

Backgrounds

Use dark type or graphics against a light background, or white lettering on a black or dark-colored background. Avoid patterned backgrounds.

(1) Ectit, 2002

(2) Hartley, 1999
COPYRIGHT 2007 National Institute on Aging
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Publication:Pamphlet by: National Institute on Aging
Date:Nov 1, 2007
Words:393
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