Visual perception of multi-column-layout text: insight from repeated and non-repeated reading

Hosam Al-Samarraie, Samer Muthana Sarsam, Irfan Naufal Umar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Information processing speed affects reading performance and interaction with text. Understanding how column type in an online context influences reading effectiveness can help us to identify less effective layouts. This study explored the visual perception of 23 participants while they read text arranged in a multi-column layout. Two tasks (repeated reading and non-repeated reading) were designed and assessed to have the same level of difficulty. Information was organised according to three types of column layout (one, two, or three columns). Eye movement analysis showed that participants performed best in a three-column layout for repeated reading, and with one column for normal reading. We also found that the repeated reading technique reduced readers’ distraction and therefore increased their visual performance, which in turn increased information processing, regardless of column layout. These findings with regard to single- and multi-column layouts can help suggest effective reading configurations for online readers and provide insights for human–computer interaction theories on human interaction with different typographic elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • eye movement
  • Readability
  • reading time
  • text design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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