;   Medical Translation Insight: Fonts matter - on car displays and medical equipment - ForeignExchange Translations

OK, so at first glance, a study titled "An Evaluation of Typeface Design in a Text-Rich Automotive User Interface" [PDF] didn't sound all that interesting.

The underlying project examined "the impact of typeface design on glance behavior away from the roadway when a driver interacts with a multi-line menu display designed to model a text-rich automotive human machine interface". In layman's terms: what is more readable, Frutiger or Eurostyle? Not exactly riveting stuff for most of us.

But since we are declared font geeks here, I watched the video that accompanied a write-up on the study results. And it quickly became apparant how important these findings are to medical equipment manufacturers and medical translators.

It turns out that in the busy, multi-input and multi-distraction, and potentially stressful environment of a fast-driving car, the choice of font on a navigation system has a significant impact on readability and, as a result, on the amount of time spent looking away from the road. Frutiger-designed displays enabled users (especially males, for some reason) to read information much quicker. The difference amounted to looking (or not looking!) at the road for an additional 50 feet at highway speeds. Plenty of time for an accident to occur.

Operating rooms, intensive care rooms, and plain old hospital rooms share a lot of similarities with the modern automobile: computerized, noisy, fast, distracting lights, the need to quickly interpret potentially conflicting signals and inputs.

Medical device manufacturers are required to demonstrate how human factors considerations have been met during product design and development. But despite this requirement, in practice many device firms are struggling with the implementation, as Maria Shepherd mentioned in this interview:

So with this in mind, the MIT study on Frutiger vs. Eurostyle is an important step in helping medical equipment manufacturers design products that are safe and easy to use: Use humanist fonts on medical equipment displays!

[Tip o' the hat to Adam Wooten!]

While we're on the topics of fonts and usability, here are four more articles that you should take a look at:
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1 Comment:

  1. Theater Seating said...
    It is very useful for me mate.well thanks for sharing with me.

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