Am I being followed? Can someone read my thoughts as I read through various websites, blogs, and articles?? Of course not– that would be crazy. However, this is what I was thinking as I read Michael Agger’s Lazy Eyes, NOT to be confused with Orange is the New Black’s Crazy Eyes, by the way. I love how he presented his information on how we read and take in information that we read every day on various websites our searches and hunts take us to. He stated the information, and then gave examples of thoughts/actions that occurs as we peruse the internet. I find that the websites I tend to read frequently are broken into smaller sections, with sub-headings, hyperlinks (but if there are too many hyperlinks, that overwhelms me and I find another site to read), and bold and italics. When I come across a page that has a black background with white font, I don’t even bother reading it. It hurts my eyes and it’s not worth trying to fight with the colors to find the information that I am looking for. This reminds me of one of the extended sessions that was offered by the wonderful Heather Dowd at Learning2014.
Which then reminds me, I am OBSESSED with fonts. Different circumstances call for different fonts. For example, I would not create a flier with important information and dates in a circus type font. It is just too hard to read. I say this because it happened to me. I received an “important” paper with a ton of important dates on it, and it was so hard to read! The font was all smushed together while at the same time, huge and bubbled. Luckily, I also received the document electronically. So, I copy and pasted the information into another document and changed the font so that it was easier for me to read. After this, I started to wonder, was I the only person who was having a difficult time reading this? I am sure the creator of the document chose that font because she liked it and thought it was easy to read. For me, it was NOT easy. If I receive any sort of document with important information on it, I do not think I should have to work at reading the document, trying to decipher the information that I need to take away from it. Perhaps this idea of wanting font that is easy on the eyes is not universal? Clearly, Michael Agger showed us that reading (He specified screen reading, but I would like to think that it goes for any type of reading.) in certain fonts makes it more comfortable on our eyes. Does this make me “selfish, lazy, and ruthless?” I have no problem with that.
I have had to wear glasses since middle school, switched over to contacts- which forced me to get over my fear of sticking anything near my eyes, went back to glasses (but my glasses got in the way when I tried to have a night on the couch watching movies), and dealt with falling asleep with the contacts in my eyes, only to wake up with them stuck to my eyes. I finally had enough and took the plunge to get LASEK. I have now been contacts and glasses free for over two years. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to be extra careful when I read websites and try not to strain my eyes too much. I love this life of being able to see as soon as I wake up, too much, to take any risks! If that makes me selfish, lazy, and ruthless, so be it!
I’m working with a student in a grade 5 class, and he’s been developing ideas for a research based persuasive essay. He argues that student use of various electronic devices can be harmful to our eyes. There is some truth in that. Keeping that in mind, I think that’s even more of a reason to include good design in the ways that we communicate through visual literacy. Does anyone know if teacher preparation programs are including a course on visual literacy these days?