Dr Mary Dyson
Areas of interestI have a background in psychology, which has influenced my work within typography and graphic communication in a number of ways. I have focused on users and their interactions with documents, not the technology. My early research looked at reading from screen and the effects of typographic variables on reading speed, reading strategies, and comprehension, closely related to legibility. This developed into looking at how we read, which required a focus on individual letters and typeface characteristics. I have also explored what happens to people’s perceptions after they receive design training.
Postgraduate supervisionOver a period of thirty or so years, I have supervised around twenty PhD students whose research spans a range of topics. These supervisory experiences have been incredibly rewarding, challenging, stimulating and have led to some valuable friendships. They have also informed and shaped my approach to interdisciplinary work, helping remove barriers between my psychological approach and design practice.
TeachingMy teaching covered the theory of typography and research methods, drawing heavily on psychology.
BackgroundI studied psychology as an undergraduate and then went on to complete a PhD in auditory perception. Soon after this, through serendipity, I became a lecturer in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. The transition seems somewhat unusual, but the position was linked to the field of 'electronic publishing', as it was called in the 1980s. My research training included working with computers and these skills were helpful in my new role.
Academic qualificationsPhD, University of Reading
BA in Psychology, University of Reading
Professional bodies/affiliationsI am on the editorial board for the journals Visible Language and Information Design Journal.
(The publications below are those that are not in CentAUR.)
Dyson, M.C. (2020). 'Does perceptual disfluency theory represent a significant challenge to a legibility researcher?', Hyphen, 12(18), pp. 17–35
Mastoridis, N. Sioki & M.C. Dyson (eds), Design for visual communication: challenges and priorities (pp. 3–20). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Dyson, M.C. (2019). 'Visual communication: Identity crisis or identity achievement', in K. Mastoridis, N. Sioki & M.C. Dyson (eds), Design for visual communication: challenges and priorities (pp. 3–20). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Dyson, M.C. (2018). Legibility: how and why typography affects ease of reading. Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Diseño, México
Dyson, M.C. (2017). 'Information design research methods', in A. Black, P. Luna, O. Lund & S. Walker (eds), Information design: research and practice (pp. 435–449). London: Routledge
- Moys, J. , Loveland, P. , Dyson, M. (2018) eInk versus paper: exploring the effects of medium and typographic quality on recall and reading speed. Visible Language , 52 (3). pp. 74-95. ISSN: 0022-2224
- Dyson, M. , Tam, K. , Leake, C. , Kwok, B. (2016) How does expertise contribute to the recognition of Latin and Chinese characters?. In: Dyson, M. and Suen, C. , (eds.) Digital fonts and reading. World Scientific , Singapore. pp. 193-208. ISBN: 9789814759533
- Dyson, M. and Suen, C. , eds. (2016) Digital fonts and reading. Series on Language Processing, Pattern Recognition, and Intelligent Systems: Volume 1 World Scientific ISBN: 9789814759533
- Dyson, M. and Beier, S. (2016) Investigating typographic differentiation: italics are more subtle than bold for emphasis. Information Design Journal , 22 (1). pp. 3-18. ISSN: 0142-5471 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.175/idj.22.1.02dys
- Beier, S. and Dyson, M. (2014) The influence of serifs on 'h' and 'i': useful knowledge from design-led scientific research. Visible Language , 47 (3). pp. 74-95. ISSN: 0022-2224
- Dyson, M. and Jennings, E. (2014) Examining the interfaces to e-journal articles: what do users expect?. pp. 164-173.
- Dyson, M. (2014) Applying psychological theory to typography: is how we perceive letterforms special?. In: Machin, D. , (eds.) Visual communication. Handbooks of communication science De Gruyter Mouton (4). , Berlin. pp. 215-242. ISBN: 9783110255492
- Dyson, M. (2013) Where theory meets practice: a critical comparison of research into identifying letters and craft knowledge of type design. Design Journal , 16 (3). pp. 271-294. ISSN: 1460-6925 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175630613X13660502571741
- Dyson, M. and Stott, C. (2012) Characterizing typographic expertise: do we process typefaces like faces?. Visual Cognition , 20 (9). pp. 1082-1094. ISSN: 1464-0716 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13506285.2012.722568
- Sioki, N. and Dyson, M. (2012) Serving the reader : typography and layout in early Greek alphabet books (1771-1830). In: Proot, G. , (eds.) Jaarboek voor Nederlandse Boekgeschiedenis . , 19. Dutch Book Historical Society , Den Haag. pp. 101-116. ISBN: 9789460040948
- Sanocki, T. and Dyson, M. (2012) Letter processing and font information during reading: beyond distinctiveness, where vision meets design. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics , 74 (1). pp. 132-145. ISSN: 1943-3921 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13414-011-0220-9
- Dyson, M. (2011) Do designers show categorical perception of typefaces?. Visible Language , 45.3 (15.3). pp. 193-220. ISSN: 0022-2224
- Fadel, L. and Dyson, M. (2010) Interface design for social interaction in e-learning environments. In: Tzanavari, A. and Tsapatsoulis, N. , (eds.) Affective, interactive and cognitive methods for e-learning design: creating an optimal education experience. IGI Global pp. 72-93. ISBN: 9781605669403 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.4018/978-1-60566-940-3.ch004
- Thiessen, M. and Dyson, M. (2010) 'Clearer and better’: preferences of children with reading difficulties for the typography and illustration in literacy materials. The International Journal of Learning , 16 (12). pp. 365-384. ISSN: 1447-9494
- Thiessen, M. and Dyson, M. (2009) Typography for children with reading difficulties: preferences for type in reading books. International Journal of the Book , 6 (2). pp. 115-122. ISSN: 1447-9516
- de Souza, J. and Dyson, M. (2008) Are animated demonstrations the clearest and most comfortable way to communicate on-screen instructions?. Information Design Journal , 16 (2). pp. 107-124. ISSN: 0142-5471 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1075/idj.16.2.03bez
- Fadel, L. and Dyson, M. (2007) Enhancing interactivity in an online learning environment. Lecture Notes in Computer Science , 4663 pp. 332-344. ISSN: 0302-9743 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-74800-7_27
- Lonsdale, M. , Dyson, M. , Reynolds, L. (2006) Reading in examination-type situations: the effects of text layout on performance. Journal of Research in Reading , 29 (4). pp. 433-453. ISSN: 1467-9817 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9817.2006.00317.x
- Fadel, L. and Dyson, M. (2006) The effect of interface design on the enhancement of social presence in online courses.
- Fadel, L. and Dyson, M. (2006) Comparing a text- and visual-based interface presenting social information in an online environment. pp. 143-146. | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1109/VLHCC.2006.15
- Dyson, M. , Lonsdale, M. , Papaefthimiou, M. (2006) Student perspectives on a virtual learning environment: lessons for einstructors. Blended learning: promoting dialogue in innovation and practice pp. 137-144.
- Dyson, M. (2005) How do we read text on screen. In: Oostendorp, H. , Breure, L. , Dillon, A. , (eds.) Creation, use and deployment of digital information. Routledge , London. pp. 279-306. ISBN: 9780805845877
- Souto, V. and Dyson, M. (2004) Location of the table of contents in web documents: same screen or separate screen.
- Simão, M. , Dyson, M. , Assunção, M. (2004) Enhancing social interaction in an online educational environment.
- Dyson, M. (2004) How physical text layout affects reading from screen. Behaviour and Information Technology , 23 (6). pp. 377-393. ISSN: 1362-3001 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01449290410001715714
- Dyson, M. (2003) Digital creativity. , 14. Digital Creativity , 14 (4).
- Dyson, M. (2003) Developing, exploring and evaluating tools and resources. Digital Creativity , 14 (4). pp. 193-194. ISSN: 1744-3806 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1076/digc.126.96.36.199878
- Dyson, M. and Campello, S. (2003) Evaluating virtual learning environments: what are we measuring?. Electronic Journal of eLearning , 1 (1). pp. 11-20. ISSN: 1479-4403
- Dyson, M. (2003) Readers' navigation of electronic documents: how do we find our way around the research?.