The application of augmented reality in industrial environments requires an effective visualization of text on a see-through head-mounted display (HMD). The main contribution of this work is an empirical study of text styles as viewed through a monocular optical see-through display on three real workshop backgrounds, examining four colors and four different text styles. We ran 2,520 test trials with 14 participants using a mixed design and evaluated completion time and error rates. We found that both presentation mode and background influence the readability of text, but there is no interaction effect between these two variables. Another interesting aspect is that the presentation mode differentially influences completion time and error rate. The present study allows us to draw some guidelines for an effective use of AR text visualization in industrial environments. We suggest maximum contrast when reading time is important, and the use of colors to reduce errors. We also recommend a colored billboard with transparent text where colors have a specific meaning.

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