In 2007, Formulate conducted research that aimed to find out whether zebra striping — the shading of alternate rows in a table or form — aided readability. As described in the resulting article, published on A List Apart, the research was unable to find a significant, measurable improvement from the use of zebra striping.
However, the first study also seemed to ask more questions than it answered. As such, Formulate set out to conduct two further studies. After all, we wanted to provide the means by which debates about zebra striping could be resolved!
The results from these two further studies have now been published. As always, I encourage you to read the full article, but we will say that it found:
- some evidence for improvement in task performance when zebra striping is used; and
- a definite preference for zebra striping amongst members of the general public.
We’d also like to take a moment to thank everyone who has helped Formulate with this zebra striping research, especially Jeremy Kerr, Steve Baty, Joseph Ortenzi, Adrienne Gross and Emma Rowland nee Sissons (of Ipsos fame). A lot of work has gone into getting this far, and we couldn’t have done it without the assistance received from these generous and talented people.