How We Read: Digital Text and Its Implications for eLearning

Conference Archive

Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2019 - March 26, 2019

Jennifer Mandula

Instructional Designer
National Defense University’s College of Information and Cyberspace

How often do you read text on an electronic device? (You’re doing it right now!) Research shows that people read digital text differently than printed text. But does your eLearning strategy consider these differences?

Understanding the way people see, process, and recall digital text can help you develop better multimedia learning resources. Drawing on reading research and user experience best practices, this session explains how things like text positioning, size, color, and typeface can impact reader focus, comprehension, and retention. You’ll learn how to apply these principles of digital reading to design effective webpages, documents, and other text-based resources.

In this session, you will learn:

  • Why you should think of text as a visual element, just like images and videos
  • What the research says about how people read digital text, including eye movement, speed, accuracy, typeface attributes, comprehension, and retention
  • Why color, typeface, and size of text matter, and how best to use them in documents
  • How readers build a “mental map” of written text, and how to design digital documents accordingly


Designers, developers, and managers


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