Text Simplification and User Experience

  • Soussan DjamasbiEmail author
  • John Rochford
  • Abigail DaBoll-Lavoie
  • Tyler Greff
  • Jennifer Lally
  • Kayla McAvoy
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9744)


Research provides ample evidence of the impact web page design has on comprehension; and that Generation Y users are impatient and dislike reading text. Yet there has been little research that focuses on content, in particular to examine the impact of text simplification on younger users’ processing of textual information. To address this need, we report the initial steps of a larger research effort that focuses on developing a set of guidelines for designing simple and effective text passages. Specifically, we compiled a set of existing plain language rules and tested its effectiveness of conveying information to Generation Y users. The results suggest the compiled set of rules can serve as an appropriate tool for designing textual passages to reduce cognitive effort and improve readability of textual content for Generation Y users. Also, the results show that eye tracking serves as an excellent objective measurement for examining the effectiveness of text simplification.


Plain language standards (PLS) Text simplification Text comprehension Eye-Tracking Cognitive effort Performance Generation Y 


  1. 1.
    Djamasbi, S.: Does positive affect influence the effective usage of a decision support system? Decis. Support Syst. 43(4), 1707–1717 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Djamasbi, S., Hall-Phillips, A.: Eye tracking in user experience design, pp. 27–43. Morgen Kaufmann (2014).
  3. 3.
    Djamasbi, S., McAuliffe, D., Gomez, W., Kardzhaliyski, G., Liu, W., Oglesby, F.: Designing for success: creating business value with mobile user experience (UX). In: Nah, F.F.-H. (ed.) HCIB 2014. LNCS, vol. 8527, pp. 299–306. Springer, Heidelberg (2014)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Djamasbi, S., Siegel, M., Skorinko, J., Tullis, T.: Online viewing and aesthetic preferences of generation Y and the baby boom generation: testing user web site experience through eye tracking. Int. J. Electron. Commer. 15(4), 121–158 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Djamasbi, S., Siegel, M., Tullis, T.: Generation Y, web design, and eye tracking. Int. J. Hum Comput Stud. 68(5), 307–323 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fox, S., Rainie, L.: The Web at 25 in the US, Pew Research Center (2014).
  7. 7.
    Krug, S.: Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. Pearson Education, India (2005)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Nielsen, J.: How little do users read? Nielsen Norman Group (2008).
  9. 9.
    PEW: Teens Fact Sheet. Pew Research Center (2012).
  10. 10.
    PEW: Internet Overtime. Pew Research Center (2014).
  11. 11.
    The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN), Plain Language: Improving Communications from the Federal Government to the Public (2011).
  12. 12.
    Snow, S.: This Surprising Reading Level Analysis Will Change the Way You Write, The Content Strategist (2015).

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soussan Djamasbi
    • 1
    Email author
  • John Rochford
    • 2
  • Abigail DaBoll-Lavoie
    • 1
  • Tyler Greff
    • 1
  • Jennifer Lally
    • 1
  • Kayla McAvoy
    • 1
  1. 1.User Experience and Decision Making Research LaboratoryWorcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Eunice Kennedy Shriver CenterUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA

Personalised recommendations