The Effect of Age and Font Size on Reading Text on Handheld Computers

  • Iain Darroch
  • Joy Goodman
  • Stephen Brewster
  • Phil Gray
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3585)


Though there have been many studies of computer based text reading, only a few have considered the small screens of handheld computers. This paper presents an investigation into the effect of varying font size between 2 and 16 point on reading text on a handheld computer. By using both older and younger participants the possible effects of age were examined. Reading speed and accuracy were measured and subjective views of participants recorded. Objective results showed that there was little difference in reading performance above 6 point, but subjective comments from participants showed a preference for sizes in the middle range. We therefore suggest, for reading tasks, that designers of interfaces for mobile computers provide fonts in the range of 8-12 point to maximize readability for the widest range of users.


Reading Time Reading Speed Font Size Small Screen Short Passage 
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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iain Darroch
    • 1
  • Joy Goodman
    • 1
  • Stephen Brewster
    • 1
  • Phil Gray
    • 1
  1. 1.Glasgow Interactive Systems Group, Department of Computing ScienceUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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