Psychophysics of reading-XIX. Hypertext search and retrieval with low vision

Hugo Bruggeman, Gordon E. Legge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Law vision is any chronic form of visual impairment, not correctable by glasses or contacts that adversely affects performance of important everyday visual tasks. Most people with low vision need magnified text to read. On a fixed-size computer screen, the magnification of text trades off against the proportion of the entire screen visible. To read hypertext, simultaneous access to the full-screen page is important for skimming text and for locating hyperlinks. Therefore, people with low vision using magnified text might encounter difficulties reading hypertext, especially when hyperlinks are placed at unpredictable locations (true for most web-pages). We investigated hypertext information retrieval as the time taken and number of nodes traversed to answer a series of questions. In Experiment 1, low-vision performance for reading prose and hypertext was compared to normal performance: low-vision performance deficits in hypertext retrieval were predictable from deficits in conventional prose reading. Experiment 2 evaluated the effect of web-page layout an low-vision performance: retrieval performance was severely affected when hyperlinks had unpredictable locations. This extra deficit was eliminated when users were provided with simultaneous access to full-screen layout. Based on these findings, we discuss the accessibility of the Internet by people with low vision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-103
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research by G. E. Legge and his colleagues, supported by the National Institutes of Health. Citations with links to the abstracts for the 20 papers in the series can be found at For convenience, the 20 citations are listed in the Appendix in Roman numeral order and will be referred to by Roman numerals in this mini review (e.g., XIX for the current paper, the nineteenth in the series).

Funding Information:
Manuscript received August 28, 2000; revised July 30, 2001. This work was supported in part by the McKnight Foundation. The work of H. Bruggeman was supported in part by the VSB Foundation. The work of G. E. Legge was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health under Grant EY02934. This paper was presented in part at the Minnesota Conference on Vision for Reach and Grasp, Minneapolis, MN, October 1997 and in part at the International Conference on Low Vision, New York,NY, July 1999.


  • Hypertext
  • Low vision
  • Page layout
  • Reading
  • Visual Search


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