Typography, or the visual treatment of text, is the key element in text materials and in almost any well-designed table, chart, map, or diagram (Marcus, 1992). Text on screens has been found to be generally less legible than text on paper, but text display on a computer screen can be easy to read depending upon the font, the screen layout, and the contrast provided (Moose & Dwyer, 1994). Typography includes the selection of typeface, the placement of text in relation to the whole screen and in relation to other text, and the use of signals and cueing.
Signals (e.g., titles, headings, pre- and post-instructional strategies, such as preview, overview and summary, and typographical cues) are writing devices that emphasize aspects of a text’s content or structure without adding to the content of the text and help readers identify specific points in a text (Golding & Fowler, 1992; Lorch, 1989). Signaling should serve to clarify content.
Typographical cueing, or the attachment of a specific meaning to a part of a text by displaying it in a way which is different from the rest of the text, is mainly used for accentuating single words, phrases or whole paragraphs (Nes, 1986). Cueing guides the construction and implementation of learner’s prose-processing decision criteria (Glynn & Di Vesta, 1979).