Skip to main content

April 23, 2014

Speakers: Kate Sellen and Richard Hunt, OCAD University 

Title: Realtime Disambiguation of Letters and Numbers Using Typographic Strageties

Abstract: The problem of error in medicine prescription is a widely recognized threat to patient safety. A relatively common source of error derives from the communication and interpretation of printed medication names and dosages [Dean et al, 2002]. Confusion of names, confirmation bias, and dosage errors are some of the causes of medical error; such misreadings often result from misleading visual representation of words and figures, [Lizby 2005].

The Safefont project addresses the issue of misreading through improved approaches to typographical communication. The research initiative comprises an interdisciplinary team with technical, human factors, and typographical expertise to create a flexible typeface capable of real time disambiguation of letters and numbers, for a range of display types. By combining ideas from visualization and medical error projects with the needs for adaptable typefaces for seniors, the SafeFont project was created to develop an adaptable dynamic typeface for disambiguation of letters and numbers. This is of interest to researchers in the areas of medical error as well as inclusive design.

Biography: Kate Sellen is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Design at OCAD University where she works on digital innovation in medical settings, including surgical suites, palliative care, and long-term care. She also holds a master's degree from Georgia Institute of Technology in Digital Media and a Master of Research from University College London's Interdisciplinary Master's Program. 

Richard Hunt has worked in the design field for more than 25 years, specializing in typographical practice and acting as a consultant to many notable designers and other institutions across North America, including Bruce Mau Design, Zone Books, Rizzoli and the Getty Institute. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of Victoria, British Columbia and an Master of Design from York University in Toronto, Ontario.

University of Ontario Institute of Technology logo