Human Interface and the Management of Information. Information and Knowledge Design

Volume 9172 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 181-189


The Usability of Magnification Methods: A Comparative Study Between Screen Magnifiers and Responsive Web Design

  • Elyse C. HallettAffiliated withCalifornia State University Long Beach Email author 
  • , Blake ArnsdorffAffiliated withCalifornia State University Long Beach
  • , John SweetAffiliated withCalifornia State University Long Beach
  • , Zach RobertsAffiliated withCalifornia State University Long Beach
  • , Wayne DickAffiliated withKnowbility
  • , Tom JewettAffiliated withCalifornia State University Long Beach
  • , Kim-Phuong L. VuAffiliated withCalifornia State University Long Beach

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Screen magnifiers, which often result in the need for horizontal scrolling, and enlarging content through the browser itself are two magnification methods used by computer-users with low vision. With responsive web design (RWD), the later can be done with word wrapping, thus eliminating the need to horizontally scroll. The present study compared the effectiveness of the two methods when participants performed two types of Web-based tasks: reading comprehension and data input. Results showed that when using RWD, participants completed the reading comprehension tasks more quickly and accurately compared to when using screen magnifiers. Participants were also able to complete data input more quickly with RWD than with the screen magnifier. Finally, participants rated RWD to be more usable than screen magnifiers. The results of this study have implications for further developments of web accessibility guidelines.


Accessibility Display Screen magnifiers Design Responsive web design Low vision Usability