In this information era—with myriad ways to receive information, ideas, advice, and news— the demands for reading digital text expand daily.
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.
Let’s elevate reading performance to expand worlds!
Kathy Crowley and Marjorie Jordan
Founders, Readability Matters
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 shift to personalized reading formats.
- Ignite Research
- Expand Implementation
- Build a Movement
Learn more about our approach and strategies.
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. The founders theorized that with additional features, digital text could be optimized for individuals creating unlimited possibility for adjustment and scale of personalized text formats. Additionally, they proposed that reader profiles could manage students’ individual text settings, critical for education usage.
In 2018, using a prototype version of Reader created by Adobe, with 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, engaging a broad community so that every reader can be the best reader they can be.