readability

chrome extensions for disabilities masterpost

I have seen a lot of posts on here talking about individual extensions for chrome to help people, but I haven’t seen a place where they’re compiled together. So here you are!

font/text

  • no caps - Makes everything lower case
  • Open Dyslexic: changes the font to Open Dyslexic and makes it larger. Personal favourite.
  • Dyslexie: changes the font to dyslexie and allows change to font size and colour (blue). Can be turned off. (Doesn’t seem to work on facebook)
  • Font Changer: Allows you to change the font on specific website or on everything using a Google Font. I believe you can also upload your own, if there’s a specific font you need.
  • BeeLine Reader: Uses a gradient so your eye follows along one line to the next

overlays/colour change

  • Color Overlay - Irlen Filter for Chromebook: Puts a coloured overlay over the screen. can choose colour and opacity. 
  • Sunglasses: Tints the screen grey to reduce contrast
  • Desaturate: Removes all colour and makes everything a greyscale
  • High Contrast: Change contrast or invert colour scheme
  • Deluminate: Similar to High Contrast, but tries to keep photos in tact
  • G.lux: Makes the colour of the display change depending on the time of day (also cuts down on blue light so it’s easier to fall asleep)

reduce visual distraction

  • Readability: Can change things such as margins, colours, etc… as well as reduce visual business
  • Ad Block Plus: blocks ads. What more needs to be said?
  • FlashControl: Stops flash animations running by themselves
  • Hide GIFS: Allows you to keep GIFS from displaying
  • Text Mode: Loads pages in black/white, covers images, with text only.

audio

  • SpeakIt!: Reads small section of highlighted text aloud
  • Chrome Speak: Reads small section of highlighted text aloud
  • Announcify: Reads full web pages. Warning: may stop in the middle of text or not read for the full thing.
Tips on Readability

Okay, there have been many times I clicked on a read more to be redirected to a blog layout that made it a chore or just impossible to read the text post. This makes it even harder for people who struggle with reading and sight to view your content. To avoid this, there are some simple rules for readability on the web:

Keep reading

Coping with autism requires accommodations in our world. Because reading a book depends on the visual system, we have made accommodations to avoid visual overload. These include the size of the book (6” by 9”) which decreases the length of each line; the cover, both color choice and design; and the font, which is easier to read, as it has been explained to us, because of its rounded corners rather than angles.
— 

S. McClennen and G. Gillingham (editors), Sharing Our Wisdom: A Collection of Presentations by People within the Autism Spectrum

So at least in a small way they are vindicating my liking for Comic Sans (which the entire book is printed in, which does increase the readability for me at least).  I know it’s trendy to hate Comic Sans but since when have I ever been trendy?

This book is just, on a physical level, much easier for me to read than most books.  Can’t speak for anyone else, but I really like the way this book is set up.

If the police could be reduced to a single principle or formula, it would end with a question mark. It would be a simple and implacable question: ‘Who are you?’ What defines the police, what gives it its ultimate essence is this interpellation, this perfectly concrete operation that for us has become so familiar, of checking our identity: ‘Papers please!’ The passport makes it possible to respond to this injunction immediately and without ambiguity. This is its principal function as an identity on paper.

Yet when it comes from the mouth of the police, the question ‘who are you?’ always assumes other functions than a simple recognition. If the question of identity carries with it complex philosophical questions, on the other hand, as Philip Agre writes, “In an institutional setting, to ‘know who somebody is’ is roughly speaking the ability to get hold of them.” When this body I was speaking to vanishes into the crowd, by knowing his name, I will be able to find him again. Inversely, if I learn his name, by consulting a central registry I will find a description [signalement] of the corresponding body. I will know his history, I will find his coordinates, I will find him again. Given a body, find its name. Given a name, find its body. Given a set of properties, find the name and locate the corresponding body. Questions of identification are unfolded within this triptyque, this triple relation of correspondence, translation and equivalence between the name, the body and its attributes: to individualize a description, to corporealize a name, to name a body. The goal above all, the will that animates the installation of these systems of correspondence, is to acquire a power, and fundamentally, a power of capture. To be able to recognize is to be able to find again: once I have recognized you, you will not escape me.

[新手村] 什麼是 leading?

歡迎來到每週一次的新手村時間,今天來跟大家談談這個 leading。Leading 其實就是中文說的行距(或者行高,但直排時稱行寬)。胡適先生有句名言:「我不讀沒有設好行距的文章」以此可見行距的重要性。

(其實胡適先生應該沒說過那句話這張圖只是一個節目效果)

行距的計算是從上行的基線到下行的基線這段距離。而「幾倍行距」計算的基準點就是字體大小:如果這段文字是 20 pt,那所謂的 1.5 倍行距就是 20*1.5 = 30 pt。

但是為什麼行距是 leading 呢這樣豈不是容易跟領導的那個 leading 混淆?其實在 Typography 中,leading 應該要發 leding 的音。

lead 這個詞,發源自活版印刷。活版印刷設定行距的方式比想像中的直觀。其實,就是在一排排鉛字之間塞東西,可能是木製的,可能是金屬材質,都有固定的規格。這種填充物叫做 lead。設定行距的動作,因此叫做 leading。

上面這張從日星鑄字行拍回來的活版印刷排版照片,每行字中間塞的木條或鉛角的高度,加上鉛字本身的高度,其實就是行距了。這些木條、鉛角,各自也有固定尺寸,與鉛字大小成比例。

也就是說,如果沒有塞鉛角或木條,行距就等於鉛字的高度。要塞多大的東西進去端看字號大小。如果鉛字是 48 pt,取 1.5 倍行距,就等於一個 48 pt 鉛字加它自己的一半 24 pt。48 pt 的鉛字加總和 24 pt 的木條、鉛角,讓行距(這邊理解成行高會更直觀)等於 72 pt。

讀者可以參閱「垂直韻律」,這是由行距延伸的觀念,版面上元素(每行之間、每段之間)的垂直距離若都是基本行高的整數倍,版面看來比較工整、甚至有韻律感。

行距最大的功用在於增加版面的可讀性 (readability),這可以說是 Typography 這門學問的核心要旨之一。

行距可以說是讓字有了呼吸空間。沒有這樣適當的留白,我們讀錯的可能性就會大幅增加,丟失了閱讀的方向感。一般來說,歐文視情況取 1.2-1.5 倍行距,而中文一般公認是取 1.5 倍行距為宜。也有編輯主張 1.65-1.7 倍行距讀起來最舒服。

這似乎沒有標準可言,讀者可以看看下面這張圖。

行距等於字級的話,所有的字都黏在一起,感覺可以從任何方向閱讀,因為在人眼中那反正就只是一團字。

取了行距,那多出來的空白空間,才讓人眼把由左至右的文字看成行,空白發揮了導引功能。但是這留白要留多大,很取決於編輯的偏好,有人覺得 1.5 倍行距剛好,但有人會覺得這太擠,1.7 倍比較舒服。不過,如果行距留太寬,空白空間比字體還大,也不見得好讀。

而行距到底要多大,與字體本身也有關係。有些字體視覺效果很滿,字裡的空間很開闊,這是為了讓字體更好辨認而設計的。但是當這種字沒有取適當行距的時候,看起來格外有壓迫感,非常不好讀。

新細明體、蘭亭黑體就是這種字體,要取 1.5 倍以上的行距,才能讓字體發揮原本易認的特性,同時也好讀。

補充:leading 在英語大部份認為等同於行距,但也有一派觀點(下圖)認為 leading 就是上面說到的那個填充物,行距等於行高,統一以 line height 稱之。不過無論如何,在漢字與歐文混排時,都還是以上下兩行基線之間的距離為行距的實際定義,而不是以行間來定義(但這就不是新手村的話題了,呵呵)

Why Dr Seuss Would Make a Good Lawyer

A friend of mine called Joey recently graduated from law school and started work at a firm. Joey told me that every time he wants to send an email he has to run the text through a Flesch Kincaid ease test. The test, Joey explained, is software that determines a text’s readability.

When Joey is about to send an email he puts it through the F-K test on his Word processor and it gives him a score out of 100. The higher the score, the easier the email is to read. If he can get his emails between 90 and 100, it means a 12-year-old could easily understand it.

The F-K test works by examining the relationship between sentences, words and syllables. Shorter sentences that contain words with fewer syllables get higher F-K scores. The highest readability score possible is 120, where every sentence contains only two one-syllable words. For example, “I ran. You ran. Joey ran”.

I asked Joey if his boss wants him to get higher scores. “Definitely. The higher the better. They want us to aim so that our emails can be comprehended by a 12-year-old.” Joey explained that the F-K test has turned into a game in his office. Every time Joey or one of his colleagues receives an email that appears verbose they put it through the F-K test. If it scores lower than 10, it goes on the leaderboard. A score below 30 suggests that only a university graduate student could understand the text. As it stands, the lowest score at Joey’s work is -3.4.

Readability standards were introduced in America in the mid 20th century to ensure that technical manuals were comprehensible to those least educated in certain industries, particularly the military. They were also used to check that school textbooks were appropriate for students of a certain age.

Questions of readability have also been central to 20th century critical discourse around the aesthetics of literary texts, particularly in the prose style of American novels. In 1954, William Faulkner accused Hemingway of using words that didn’t require the reader to ever use a dictionary, to which Hemingway responded, "Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use."

I found a website that offers a number of online readability tests, the F-K included. I put in some different texts.

An excerpt from Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham = 111.6

An excerpt from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights = 68.7

A random article from Gawker = 38.6

Chapter 2 of Derrida’s On Grammatology = 28.7

The first page of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake = 16.8

Then I went to my website, bot or not, which is a database of human written and computer generated poetry. There are 306 poems on the database, around half of which are generated via computers using generative algorithms. Try it. You will be presented with a poem and then you’ll have to guess whether it was written by a human or generated by a computer. Then you’ll get the answer and a percentage of people who think it was written by a computer (bot) or a human (not).

As it stands, the poem that has been voted the most times as ‘human’ in the database is William Blake’s ‘The Fly’ at 104.4. The poem that has been voted the most times as ‘computer’ in the database is one that I generated using JGnoetry software. It rates 70.4 on he F-K test and goes like this:

Published on desserts and from pink. Symptoms

Start, 2013 as other poetry does anyone

Word in thailand and write reading one mother

Order they deserve. Well, 2013 recently released

My pants and serve throw from is a beautiful

Insane surreal once hours playing once.

I put a number of other poems on the bot or not database through the test and found that on average, the poems that were voted as being more human had a higher F-K score, suggesting the people feel that a text’s readability has something to do with its inherent humanness. (There were exceptions. For example, 65% of voters who read Gertrude Stein’s poem ‘Study Nature’ voted that it was written by a computer, yet its F-K score is 86.4.)

In 2011 Charles Bernstein wrote a book called Attack of the Difficult Poems. The first chapter of the book is, in a way, a defence of a certain type of avant garde poetry that came to prominence after “a great deal of social dislocation” in 1912. He says that a difficult poem contains, "high syntactic, grammatical, or intellectual activity level; elevated linguistic intensity; textual irregularities; initial withdrawal (poem not immediately available); poor adaptability (poem not suitable for use in love letters, memorial commemoration, etc.); sensory overload; or negative mood." Bernstein adds that difficult poems are difficult because of their innate makeup and constructed style, but that just because a poem is difficult does not make it “incoherent, meaningless, or hostile.”

Nevertheless, it sounds to me like a difficult poem would rate low on the F-K test, and by extension, it would, according to bot or not users, sound less human and more computer-like. This is confirmed by my findings from bot or not data. The more ‘difficult’ human poems in the database have a higher percentage of voters thinking they were written by computers.

For example, 67% of 419 voters believe Tristan Tzara’s poem ‘Cinema Calendar of the Abstract Heart 09’ was written by a computer, and it got 37.4 on the F-K. Tzara was known best for being one of the founders and central figures of the avant garde DADA movement. Even more noteworthy is the fact that 76% of 455 voters believed Deanna Ferguson’s poem ‘Cut Opinions’ was written by a computer, and it ranked at 13.1 on the F-K test. Ferguson was affiliated with the Language poets, a movement with which Bernstein is closely affiliated.

It might seem like I’m trying to construct an argument that will lead to the conclusion that avant garde poetry is less human than other more traditional forms of poetry, and then use this lack of humanness as a critique of the avant garde. (A journalist from the Washington Post noted this point in an article about bot or not.) But that’s actually not what I’m trying to do at all. I’ve just spent the last few hours playing with the F-K test and decided to communicate the results I’ve found.

However, the idea of readability as an aesthetic choice is something I’ve thought about before. I wrote an essay last year about an emergent Internet literary movement called Alt Lit. I argued that Alt Lit writers often attempt to directly communicate highly emotional messages to the reader in clear, affectless, precise, detached, objective language. I suggested that many of these young writers, who use social media as their medium of distribution and composition, are trying to “prove their humanness through the screen via text,” because in an online social environment, “the ability to communicate emotions and meaning as directly as possible becomes more important than formal experimentation.” In other words, readability is a vital part of Alt Lit’s aesthetic, and the ‘difficulty’ contained in their writing is carried in the often depressing or confessional subject matter of the poems, rather than within “elevated linguistic intensity” or “textual properties” of the poem.

To illustrate, let’s play a short Turing/K-T combined test: which of the following poems is easier to read, and which do you think was generated by a computer?

poem 1

one guy gave me alcohol then diagnosed me with ‘major depressive disorder’

i said ‘i don’t think i have that’ and ‘thank you’

today i stole and drank 3 red bulls

people have gone into cardiac arrest from drinking more than 3 red bulls in a day

thinking about dying makes me feel tiny and calm

i feel mostly uninterested in dying right now

at 2pm i took pain killers and walked to the beach

i touched a crab and a sea urchin and a squishy thing

i think i am going to stop wearing my glasses

things seem better when i can’t see clearly

i want to have an emotion that feels like being slowly punched in the face for 3 years

poem 2

cut opinions tear tasteful

hungers huge ground swell

partisan have-not thought

green opinions hidden slide

hub from sprung in

weather yah

bold erect tender

perfect term transparent till

I two minute topless formed

A necessarily sorry sloppy strands

hot opinions oh like an apple

a lie, a liar kick back

filial oh well hybrid opinions happen

not stopped

That was a trick question. Humans wrote both poems. Poem 1 was written by Mira Gonzalez, a writer often associated with Alt Lit. The other was Cut Opinions by Deanna Ferguson, the computer-like human poem I mentioned above. Which poem felt more readable, and which did you think more likely to have been generated by a computer?

To be honest, even though Mira Gonzalez’s poem might seem more ‘readable’ in the sense that it has words and syntax that many people can comprehend, when I put it in through the F-K test it came out with a score of -30.4. This is because Mira’s poem doesn’t have punctuation, and so the F-K test scans the whole poem as one complicated sentence.

This discovery kind of undermines my entire essay up until this point, and illustrates something that should’ve already been clear: the F-K test isn’t intended for poetry. Technically, poetry does not use the conventions of prose and therefore tricks the system, as is the case with Mira. Philosophically, as poetry usually doesn’t have to aim for readability (although it might), but for something else… (what though?)

I guess poetry doesn’t have to be readable because people don’t read poetry as a means to an end, like my friend Joey reads a professional or technical email at work. The important question then becomes whether people want to read a poem, not whether they are able read it. Some people might enjoy, as Bernstein suggests, the challenge of a more technically difficult read. Others might prefer poetry that communicates in a more directly ‘readable’ way, whose ‘difficulty’ or aesthetic experience is contained in the content, or the information of the poem, as with Mira Gonzalez’s work.

One final thought: every time Joey puts an email through the F-K test at work he is, in a way, talking to an algorithm, rather than reading out loud to another human. The F-K test automates a human relationship; a set of automated rules used to allow humans to better understand each other. Does it feel strange that an algorithm that doesn’t understand anything but word and syllable count is supposed to make it easier for us to understand each other?

Let’s say Joey’s boss threatens to fire him if he doesn’t average 70 on his emails, at what point does Joey stop feeling like he is writing for another human and start to feel like his writing for the machine?

Illustration by David Abraham Michael

Yara Gambirasio should only have been gone a short while. On Friday 26 November 2010, at 5.15pm, she left home to go to the gym, just a few hundred metres from her home. Yara, who was 13 and wore…
—  The murder that obsessed Italy | Tobias Jones via http://ift.tt/1JsHJkO
You know what's not user friendly? When I have to "disable all styles" just to *see* what's on your tumblr.

If I can’t read/see anything, what’s the point?  The template may have looked good, but the designer evidently has no clue whatsoever about usability.  

Because I really *do* want to see your content!

怎麼改善這個排版?我們在字戀問了這個問題,短短幾分鐘就有許多回覆。

其實這個排版只是需要一些行距。因為眼睛習慣把相近的東西看成一組。這個告示沒有明顯的群組,怎麼看都是一塊文字而已。依照文意,把縱向的空間取出來,就可以很明顯的看出群組關係了。以下圖片是字戀朋友的神回覆:

其實有很多小吃店菜單也有同樣的問題。有位同學就說到

「上次看到有間攤販賣”臭蚵仔”和別的結果是臭豆腐跟蚵仔麵線)」

這也是沒有取好行距所造成的問題。

不過,也有朋友表示,這種告示不要貼,反而才是最美觀的做法。