Nick Cerofeci

The Effect of Text Dimensions on Reader Retention and Interest

Mentor: Dan Frank

In the digital age of the twenty-first century—with the era of social media and short-form content—the attention spans of the general population have become drastically shorter, especially among the electro-native youth. We have been conditioned to desire instant gratification over all else in the consumption of content, and that has made sitting down and reading universally less attractive. Over the time of quarantine, I started to wonder if adjusting the dimensions of a text to promote instant gratification—increasing font size, decreasing words per page, shortening section lengths—could actually improve the reader experience. I plan on testing this hypothesis by conducting a large-scale experiment (funded by the RAAB Writing Fellowship) with a sizeable number of study samples. UCSB students will read one of two versions of the same short story and then be asked to answer questions about their reading experience. Results of this experiment may lead to important implications surrounding the formats of written content.

Read Nick’s article “Reading Again: How Text Dimensions Affect the Reader Experience