Monday, June 20, 2016

Making Text More Legible

Animated Step-by-Steps™ are designed to address literacy, language and AAC (if you've purchased a symbol-supported version). When the Animated Step-by-Steps™ were originally designed I chose the AbcPrint font as I felt it emulated printed text, making it appropriate for early literacy training. Although I loved the simplicity of this ‘print’ font, I must admit I’ve always been a bit disappointed that bold AbcPrint is just not as bold as I’d like. 

It’s funny how you can think you know an application such as PowerPoint (given the fact that you use it almost every day), then ‘trip across’ a valuable feature that you didn’t realize existed. Recently, that is exactly what happened to me.  

My first discovery was the ability to add a shadow to text to make it appear bolder.  Although I was aware of the fact that I could add a shadow to text, I had never thought of using it to emulate bolder text. As you can see, it did make the text look bolder  … but it also made the text look a bit  fuzzy …. not exactly what I wanted for early literacy.

I then discovered, quite by accident, another feature that did turn out to be a productive path.  PowerPoint allows you to outline text with lines of varying weights. As you can see below, this option produces text that is in fact bolder, without the detriment of being fuzzy.

Caution: You have to be careful using this feature. 

Too thick an outline (determined by assigned line weight) can make the individual letters less distinct.

Although you are unable to make the text of existing Animated Step-by-Steps bolder (the page text is not editable since it's a graphic), moving forward I will be adding a 1pt outline to the page text hoping the text will be more legible for 'beginning readers’ and more appropriate for children with mild visual challenges. 

Hopefully this information will be valuable for authors wishing to create content using a bolder version of the AbcFont!

…’til the next post …  (new posts every Monday)

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©2016 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator