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

  • Elyse C. HallettEmail author
  • Blake Arnsdorff
  • John Sweet
  • Zach Roberts
  • Wayne Dick
  • Tom Jewett
  • Kim-Phuong L. Vu
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9172)


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 



We would like to extend a special thanks to Typometric Solutions, the CSULB Psychology Department, and the Center for Usability in Design and Accessibility for supporting this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elyse C. Hallett
    • 1
  • Blake Arnsdorff
    • 1
  • John Sweet
    • 1
  • Zach Roberts
    • 1
  • Wayne Dick
    • 2
  • Tom Jewett
    • 1
  • Kim-Phuong L. Vu
    • 1
  1. 1.California State University Long BeachLong BeachUSA
  2. 2.KnowbilityAustinUSA

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