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Reading and Searching Digital Documents

Andrew Dillon, Lisa kleinman, Randolph Bias, Gil Ok Choi, Don Turnbull

Presented at ASIST 2004 Annual Meeting; "Managing and Enhancing Information: Cultures and Conflicts" (ASIST AM 04), Providence, Rhode Island, November 13 - 18, 2004


As increasing amounts of information are viewed, read and manipulated electronically, many users still report performance and satisfaction costs with digital documents compared to paper equivalents. While many factors impact this process, image quality has been assumed by many to have relatively little impact once current screen display standards are maintained. We test this hypothesis by comparing users on a variety of routine information tasks performed on standard and enhanced screen displays. Using Microsoft ClearType, a font technology which enhances resolution by accessing vertical color stripes at the pixel level, we examined user performance on reading, editing and searching tasks with routine office applications. Results suggest that for tasks involving lengthy eye-on-text interaction (e.g., reading for comprehension) advances in image quality can still yield significant improvements in performance for most users.

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