"Ugly fonts are better" is a stupid theory. Learning is not memorizing

There is a lot of fuss lately around the disfluency in reading a text (TelegraphUsabilityPost and Wired)

Someone has thrown the idea that e-readers are “not so great” because their content is, well, too legible, therefore the learning efficiency is low.

(First thing to notice is all the articles’ authors confused learning with memorization; the kids had to memorize data, not learn how to solve problems)

You may find this paradoxical, but the studies cited by Wired are showing that memorization (not learning!) is actually dependent on how legible the document to be retained is. I don’t argue the point regarding learning / memorization efficiency, but I argue e-readers and e-books have memorization as their main objective. They don’t.

I accept some sort of learning may be dependent on read disfluency factors, but I totally disagree reading means mainly memorization.


I’m reading digital books on mobile screens for 7-8 years now, mostly for leisure and sometimes for educational purposes; never a bad text format or an illegible font made me go on after the first 2-3 pages. I always looked for justified text, well designed fonts, proper indentation and so on, and never continue reading until these conditions met.

For a better insight, think about e-books as some sort of movies: HD movies are more pleasant than standard definition ones not only because the level of details, but because they offer much more delight watching. This way, many of the low rated movies become very popular just because their HD or 3D releases.

The question is: you might not retain much from a (HD) movie, but is this a point for renouncing high definition?

Reading e-books should be the most pleasant possible digital design experience. Lowering the font readability, text format or God knows what else is a no-no. Take a look at Pedlar Lady and Alice in Wonderland : this is how the digital books should look like. Is this content easy to be retained? Does it matter?

Who else but a stupid teachers are taking memorization for learning?!

Let’s be honest: the books remained unchanged since Gutenberg and that’s not the worst thing yet. The worst thing is books are dying because nobody innovated in book editing for half a millennium. Nobody looked for new channels, new layouts, new media, new markets; now, some people think the ebooks should look horrible beause it’s good for learning!

Books are not meant for being memorized, books are meant for being lived. While learning is second to living, memorizing is far below in this hierarchy! A beautiful form and a beautiful content are all you need from your life; why should think the opposite about the books you read?!

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