Text Simplification and Generation Y: An Eye Tracking Study

UMMS Affiliation

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Cognitive Neuroscience | Graphics and Human Computer Interfaces | Musculoskeletal, Neural, and Ocular Physiology


While important information is often communicated via text, people read only a small fraction of textual content. Ignoring text is particularly prevalent among Generation Y, who prefer image-based communication and exhibit impatient viewing behavior. One way to improve the effectiveness of text-based communication for younger users is to construct textual information in a way that it can be understood with short glances, a hallmark of Generation Y’s impatient viewing behavior. To test this assertion, we used a set of plain language standards (PLS) to simplify a text passage from an actual website. The results of our eye tracking study showed that PLS were successful in improving textual communication for Generation Y users. The simplified text passage was processed with shorter glances, facilitated a more effective visual search behavior, and improved task performance significantly.


Cognitive Effort, Millennials, Plain Text, Fixation Duration, Saccade Amplitude


Djamasbi, S., Shojaeizadeh, M., Chen, P., & Rochford, J. (2016). Text Simplification and Generation Y: An Eye Tracking Study. SIGHCI 2016 Proceedings, December 11, 2016. Link to publisher website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

SIGHCI (Special Interest Group on Human-Computer Interaction) 2016 Proceedings