To Serif or Not To Serif? Regarding Online Readability:
[Via The Acrobat.com Blog]
There are myriad different opinions on what the best conditions are for reading text on a screen. Debates rage about whether or not to use serif fonts and how long a line of text should be. A surprisingly sensitive issue, and possibly without a clear resolution.ﾠ
Here we’ve tried to delineate a few of the more widely accepted tips on how to optimize readability. Although they can be forsaken in the name of personal style, they’re generally considered the most conducive to easy reading. Here are a few key points plucked from various takes on the subject:ﾠ
Regardless of medium, high contrast between type color and page color always contributes to optimal reading conditions. Not surprisingly, readers show a strong preference for black text on a white background (though it’s not strictly necessary; if you simply loathe the combination of white and black, any reasonably contrasting color duo will do). When in doubt, check your color scheme on Snook’s Color Contrast Check.
The Web is a different medium than paper or slides. While some things, such as contrast, remain the same, presenting text on the Web has different needs.
Its lower resolution, which allows pages to download faster, makes text harder to read. So size and font choice is important.
Remember that the user often has the ability to override the font choices that are made on the page, either by increasing the size or changing the font. So the choice of font is not as important as its presentation and of course its content.
Line spacing is another important aspect to understand. People read online from farther distances than they read a book. Poor text choices, in size, color or contrast, can make it very difficult for the content of the page to be assimilated.
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