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About

Readability Matters

Elevate Reading Performance

In this information era—with myriad ways to receive information, ideas, advice, and news— the demands for reading digital text expand daily. It is widely accepted that reading is one of the most efficient and effective ways to acquire and assimilate information. The convergence of available technology, reading apps, and digital content makes it possible to take advantage of the opportunity to shift to a new personalized reading paradigm.

We Build Better Reading

Coming from tech business backgrounds, we created Readability Matters out of a shared passion to shift reading outcomes for adults and children, making them the best readers they can be. Better readers are more confident and have more educational, career and life opportunities. When we invest in raising individual reading performance, everyone benefits.

Our goal is to shift the reading paradigm to user-selected formats that increase performance. We drive change by convening players in the reading ecosystem to implement needed advances. We want to share what we know, and learn with you. Readability Matters values innovation, collaboration, rigorous analysis, and evidence-based decision making.

Let’s elevate reading performance to expand worlds!
Kathy Crowley and Marjorie Jordan
Founders, Readability Matters

Vision

We imagine a world where everyone has easy access to reading material personalized to make them the best reader they can be

Mission

We build better reading.
Our mission is to engage an ecosystem of partners to deliver personalized reading environments, empowering everyone everywhere to achieve more.

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The Readability Matters Story

The Readability Matters Story

The tech-for-good nonprofit Readability Matters was formed in 2019 but was 15 years in the making. Founders Kathy Crowley and Marjorie Jordan had seen the use of alternate text formats help dyslexic readers in 2004. With emerging technology, they could see the potential to implement personalized reading formats at scale. The founders posited that small changes to text format would improve reading outcomes for most readers.

In 2015, they set out to learn just how broad the impact might be, testing an entire classroom of students. In fact, a simple change from a textbook format to the clean round font, AvantGarde, improved reading fluency for 55% of the students. Another 40% read best using AvantGarde with additional character spacing, character expansion, or both.

By 2015 tech companies had begun delivering users the capability to change font and character size on smartphones and tablets. Marjorie theorized that with additional features, digital text could be optimized for individuals creating unlimted possibility for adjustment and scale of personalized text formats. Additionally, she proposed that reader profiles could manage students’ individual text settings, critical for education usage.

In 2018, using a standard iPad font, Avenir, as a base font, the test was repeated. Again, readers of all levels showed reading improvements using text modifications delivered by formats created using Readability Features in a prototype version of Adobe Reader. The theory was proven; reading outcomes could be improved with small changes to text format delivered with digital text and readability features.

Readability Matters formed to freely share insights with tech and publishing companies so that you can be the best reader you can be.

Fast Company World Changing Ideas 2021

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