Reading is a fundamental task and skill in many environments including business, education, and the home. Today, reading often occurs on electronic displays in addition to traditional hard copy media such as books and magazines, presenting issues of legibility and other factors that can affect human performance . In fact, the transition to soft copy media for text images is often met with worker complaints about their vision and comfort while reading [2-6]. Careful comparative evaluations of reading performance across hard and soft copy device types are rare, even though they are clearly important given the rapid and substantial improvements in soft copy devices available in the marketplace over the last 5 years. To begin to fill this evaluation gap, we compared reading performance on three different soft copy devices and traditional paper. This study does not investigate comfort factors such as display location, seating comfort, and more general issues of lighting, rather we focus instead on a narrow examination of reading performance differences across display types when font sizes are large.
A vernier acuity task was used to compare three electronic displays, a high-resolution CRT, a high-resolution AMLCD, and a very-high-resolution AMLCD. The offset threshold value, approximately 6 seconds arc, was found to be independent of display resolution. The very-high-resolution display had one octave more positional accuracy than the high-resolution displays. This performance difference was readily apparent. To match the image quality of print or photographic reconstruction, a very-high-resolution screen is required.