Reading Paper vs. Online Documents
Ion Mangos ID XXXXX Prof. Qatip Arifi
Reading papers vs. on-line documents
According some researches, the computer is heralded as the fourth great
document medium, next to the papyrus, the medieval codex, and the printed book.
Implied in this is that the demise of the printed page is merely a matter of time. Certainly
many of today’s hot topics in human-computer interaction point to digital alternatives to
paper documents: the Web, new hypertext applications, digital libraries, and digital
document reading devices. Some have predicted that such advances will make books
as we know them obsolete, will radically alter the relationship between authors and
readers, and will change forever our concept of libraries as repositories of physical
volumes of text, and of publishers as producers and sellers of paper books. But the
reality of day to day life shows that paper continues to be the preferred medium for
much of our reading activity. This is despite the fact that screen technologies have
vastly improved in recent years, that wireless, mobile computing technology is now
widely available, and that new navigational and input techniques significantly improve
the flexibility of our interaction with digital documents.
With the increased use of computers in general, and the growth of the Internet
the issue of reading documents in the electronic form is now being addressed. There is
a range of issues associated with reading from a computer screen. Screen resolution,
spatial representation, ease of use, non-tangibility, etc. Computers, document readers
such as the E-book, and the Internet, are increasingly being used to read documents
online. Yet, devices like printers and fax machines, and copiers still exist, and many
people prefer to print a digital document, rather than read it online. Both print and
electronic media deal with the written language, but there is a large difference in the
way the textual elements are displayed.
There is little data available on how users actually read, understand, and navigate
through the content. This leads to the question as to whether reading a digital document
is just as effective as reading a document on printed media. Results from experimental
studies in the past have shown that multimedia technology is not as easily handled as
printed media. Issues such as disorientation, lack of resolution, non-tangibility, and
experience suggest barriers for users.
In the current stage of technological development, the presentation of text on computer
screens has a negative impact on surface legibility. With the use of greater contract,
less information density, and bigger characters, this gap can be overcome. Screen
legibility can also be improved through high definition screens.
There has been a fair amount of research concerning the differences between reading
on paper and digital documents but the latest have focused on differences like
tangibility, storage, readability, speed, proof-reading accuracy, and comprehension of
the document. Also the concentration has gone into how a reader, in either medium,
navigates through a document or manipulates it. A comparison of the speed to
reference information in a paper document versus referencing a digital document is
done to determine if navigating through a printed document has a particular advantage
over digital document navigation, when search techniques are eliminated for the
electronic text and users reading the paper media cannot use annotation.
Many studies have shown differences in reading between digital and paper reading,
though the differences varied among studies, and results are often inconsistent.