Abubaker, Azza (2014) Factors Influence Reading From Screen of Arabic Textbook for Learning by Children Aged 9 to 13. Doctoral thesis, university of Huddersfield.

The problem with e-texts are related to the way texts are displayed on a screen, with multiple and different aspects that affect legibility, making readers prefer to read a paper format rather than e-resources. This research describes the factors that affect the legibility of online texts aimed at obtaining a better understanding of the usability of electronic Arabic texts for learning purposes within the field of electronic reading; mainly reading Arabic texts for students aged 9 to 13. This study sets out three particular aims: (1) building a reading strategy for Arabic schoolbook in both formats electronic and paper format based on users’ cognitive and behavioural processes; (2) defining the influence of three typographical variables that affect reading Arabic texts on a screen (font size, font-type and line length); and (3) studying the efficiency of reading Arabic texts and the related factors impacting the efficiency of reading and comprehension.
Based on the nature of the research questions and objectives, positivism and phenomenology are adopted as the underlying philosophy for this research. The empirical research was divided into three phases; the first phase focused on collecting data about using the internet among students in primary schools by means of a questionnaire. This has helped in the selection of samples and determined the extent of the students’ reluctance to read from a screen. The second phase was to investigate the reading process of school book in two formats [ paper and electronic format] to build reading model based on users’ cognitive and behavioural processes. The third phase was to examine the factors that affect negatively the usability of electronic texts by examining three issues: font size [10, 14, 16 and 18], font type [Arabic traditional, Arial, Times New Roman, Simplified Arabic, and Courier New], and line length [single column and double columns]. Observation was applied as a tool to collect the data.
The study has made a significant contribution to the understanding of electronic reading of Arabic language. This contribution addressed five aspects: (1) Two models of reading process for schoolbook using Arabic language were built according to users’ interaction with the school textbook in two formats ( electronic and paper). These models will not only help define the interaction amongst users and e-books, but will also help designers to understand user behaviour of e-books and thereby to establish the most appropriate functions/features when building an e-book interface. (2) Identify the optimal font size for reading an Arabic script from screen by children aged 9 to 13. (3) Based on collecting data from experiments (2) and (3) and comparing this date with other researches that have done in the same field, new model explains the interaction between three topographical variables [font size, font type and line length] and their relationships with independent variables were provided. (4) Test a new display technique to improve the legibility of reading Arabic online texts by using colour to increase the ability to focus vision when moving from one line to another so as to improve the screen display. And (5) according to quantitative and qualitative several of the rules were recommended for designers and educators to follow when designing and presenting Arabic text on screen.
On the other hand, some recommendations for future research have been derived from this thesis, such as the following. (1) Investigating the effect of the colour factor on improving the legibility of Arabic texts on screen for children, e.g. using different colours to distinguish between dots and vowels. (2) Exploring and developing an e-reading model based on all the factors recorded in the empirical studies in the reading field which will lead to building a theory on e- reading. (3) Investigating the influence of a variable effect reading process and the variables that have a positive or negative impact on it. (4) Applying a model that used colour to increase the ability to focus using different age-range and type of information such as journals or books.

thesis_Azzaa.pdf - Accepted Version

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