I'm an aspiring full-stack developer, passionate about typography, web accessibility, and UI/UX design.
The aim of this project was to build a research-based web application designed to improve the reading experience of typed, scanned, or handwritten text in documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) for a diverse range of users. The application was developed using the MERN stack and integrated with other packages and libraries such as Google Cloud Storage and Google Cloud Vision API. Modern CSS practices and accessibility were also considered throughout the development. Users can customise typesetting–facilitating a more individual reading experience.
In a report published by the Nielsen Norman Group, usability and readability problems are encountered by users when they read PDFs on screen (2020). A number of studies have also shown that the navigation of PDFs causes slow task completion and poor user experience. The majority of the 1,224 screen reader users who participated in the survey carried out by WebAIM (2018) believe that PDFs are likely to cause accessibility issues.
The research conducted for this project compares the experiences of reading in print with reading on-screen and investigates the effects of each reading medium on learning. While many studies indicate that many still prefer reading printed text and on-screen text are not always suitable for intensive reading and better retention of information, results show that there is no significant difference between reading media in relation to learning.
Additionally, the thesis explores the importance of web accessibility in developing functional and accessible user interfaces. It looks into solutions to improve the on-screen reading experience and to reduce the difficulties that users with disabilities can have when accessing information presented on the web. The solutions that are highlighted in the thesis are Inclusive Design techniques.