How Blind and Sighted Individuals Perceive the Typographic Text-Signals of a Document

Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-40250-5_8

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9737)
Cite this paper as:
Kouroupetroglou G., Katsoulis P. (2016) How Blind and Sighted Individuals Perceive the Typographic Text-Signals of a Document. In: Antona M., Stephanidis C. (eds) Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Methods, Techniques, and Best Practices. UAHCI 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9737. Springer, Cham


Typographic, layout and logical elements constitute visual text-signals of a document that carry semantic information over and above its content. Although they are important to the reader, most of the current Text-to-Speech (TtS) systems do not support them. As there is a lack of studies on how blind perceive them and aiming to incorporate them efficiently in advanced TtS systems, we investigate in a systematic way the perception of the main typographic text-signals by 73 blind and sighted students. The results show that both groups of the participants perceive that font-styles are used largely to better locate, recognize or distinguish the topics or specific information in a document. Almost half of the sighted argue that they are useful for the comprehension of the content, but only 4 % of the blind students perceive the same. Most of the sighted participants (68 %) consider that bold is used to indicate an important word or phrase in the text that needs more attention by the reader, but only 23 % of them perceive the same for the italics. 27 % of the blind participants and 23 % of the sighted perceive that the role of font-size is to provide emphasis. Moreover, only 9 % of the sighted students grasp that bold is used for emphasis and 13 % of them that italics is used for light emphasis. Half of the blind participants consider that font-size plays an important role in separating the basic elements of a text (e.g. titles, footnotes), but only 13 % of the sighted believe the same. Finally, the sighted and blind students recognize the titles of a text mainly using non-identical criteria.


Document accessibility Text-signals Typography Font-size Font-type 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Informatics and TelecommunicationsNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Graduate Program in Basic and Applied Cognitive ScienceNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

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