Presentation at ATypI Brighton 2007

We’re presenting at the annual conference of ATypI in Brighton, England, during the TypeTech subconference:

Don’t show printouts to grannies and call that a test: Some scenarios for testing TV screenfonts

Joe Clark ¶ Wednesday, 2007.09.12 13:30

In this session, we’ll look at the dilemmas that crop up when testing screenfonts for captioning and subtitling. Those two separate fields barely even have “designed” fonts in the first place; some fonts are so hard to read that all-upper-case has been used for nearly 30 years because it is less illegible. A pressing problem is conducting tests with the actual users of those services – people who have a hearing impairment, with or without a separate visual impairment, and people who don’t understand the language of the TV programming.

We’ll look at some existing published research on testing of these groups and related research that could be applicable. We’ll look particularly at some junk science that is often cited in the field. Since many deaf and hard-of-hearing people have lower literacy, while others have doctorates in literature, how do you test across a wide range of reading ability? What’s the right way to test screenfonts when your subjects can’t hear you or see you or can’t understand what you’re asking them? How do you account for the fact that a testing lab is nothing like your test subjects’ homes, where they actually watch TV? This session will propose some new methods and strategies to test television screenfonts.

We’ll be publishing session notes afterward.

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