Theories have an annoying way of turning about face with time and more experimentation. While experts have always claimed that easy to read “legible” text is easier to remember and follow, here’s a new study by Princeton University that reveals that people presented with information in unusual typefaces (rarely used in textbooks) are more likely to remember it than those presented with the same in “fluent” fonts.
Apparently, when readers pick their Amazon Kindles and other eReaders and read the clear, legible font, their brain becomes lazy thereby reducing its retentive and cognitive powers. If instead, the same content was presented in a superficially harder to read font, the brain would better process the information. Basically, if the brain has to work to read the text, it’ll remember it longer and more accurately.
This conclusion completely rubbishes the age old convention of using fluent fonts for easy reading. Guess Kindle should include some “disfluent” fonts – not just for scientific reasons but also because it would make for a nice change considering the lack of flexibility in font selection on most digital readers.
Next time you’re having a hard time getting that knotty concept into your head, change the font to something tricky like Harlow Solid Italic and give it a shot.