Darren Taljaard places 3rd in UniSA's 3 Minute Thesis competition

An exciting evening of research, entertainment and networking, UniSA's Three Minute Thesis final took place in the Allan Scott Auditorium on August 29. The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a national competition celebrating the research undertaken by PhD candidates. Competitors have three minutes and one slide to communicate big ideas to a diverse audience.

Darren Taljaard, a PHD candidate in the School of Art, Architecture and Design, was awarded third place for his presentation The designer as transformer: augmented typography for students with dyslexia.

Currently in his second year of candidature, Taljaard first studied graphic design and holds an MA in media. His research explores the impact of typographic design on reading from digital devices, incorporating qualitative and quantitative methods to measure the effects of typographic design on reading and comprehension. Informed by methods and theory derived from cognitive psychology, Taljaard’s research positions design as both an economic driver and a powerful tool for social transformations.

“Dyslexia is a condition where it’s difficult for some readers to make the connection between the letters they see and the corresponding sounds they have stored in their memories,” says Taljaard. “The right typography can facilitate that, it makes reading easier and faster – and that frees up working memory for comprehension. For learning.

I design augmented typography materials based on what we know and what I’m discovering … my research can transform digital books and provide typographic solutions suited to individual readers.”

Taljaard is a member of the Design Research for Health and Wellbeing group, a cross-disciplinary network of researchers, creative practitioners, healthcare workers, and service users. The group fosters collaboration with a view to devising and implementing innovations in the development and delivery of environments, health facilities, products and services and promote the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

Find out more about Design Research for Health and Wellbeing