What Font Do You Think is Best

The Best Font to Use on a Web Page

This is a hard one. I have caught wind of a few people who say one thing and a few people who say another. There is something to be said about different fonts and different sizes legiblity. I will experiment here and see if you can pick out what I mean.

San Serif (Arial): This is the most popular font used on the web. It is from the san-serif font family. San-serif means without serifs (those little flicks at the bottom of letters that you see on printed pages). Its popularlity and the popularity of san-serif fonts in general on the web, may stem from the fact that screens do not have as high definition as do printed pages, yet. This is still true in 2009 and is likely to stay so for some years yet. With the lack of definition serif font families can look a bit "grainy" on the screen, as you should see below. 

Other factors such as it is supported well in many differnt browsers and operating systems may also be considered a good reason to use it.

Serif (Times New Roman) Veranda Tahoma

With these four at this size it is pretty difficult to see who wins out. Screen definition does not allow for all of those wonderful little curved bits at the top and bottom of the characters in Times New Roman to be noticed yet it does look a bit jagged  None of them come out to good when they are small.

As the size of fonts grows, how readability seems to change somewhat.

San Serif (Arial) Serif (Times New Roman) Verdana Tahoma

As you can see in the above Ariel seems to become a bit jagged while Time New Roman seems to become less so. Weird huh?

San Serif (Arial) Serif (Times New Roman) Verdana Tahoma

The Larger they get the better they all get. With screen definitions slowly moving toward hi definition I wonder how long it will be before we drop the 800 x 600 as a standard. I can tell you my own sites 800×600 users are still 10% of all visits. thus it is still worth remembering about these people. 1 in 10 is a load of people.  

Well for the moment I am going to be doing a test. With one of my sites I have recently changed the template. Having read up on font sizes – not relative font sizes like we have here – I will try and see through my logs whether it increases or decreases the time people spend on a page if I change from Arial to Veranda 10px in the main body.

Best font conclusions

After some time now it would seem that any changing from one san serif font (ariel) to another (verdana) has made no real difference to my audience. They stay on the site just as long as they did before. Thus it would seem either of these fonts will allow readers to read you text equally as well. It would seem to be a choice each webmaster has to make here, Arial or Verdana. Personal preference is the call of the day. Which one is most popular on the web is hard to say but, which ever one you like best your audience will also like it seems.

With the above statements about serif fonts (the ones with little curvy bits) and the lack of really good high definitions, even at 1600 x 1024 and greater, I would say, if in doubt stick with Arial and Verdana. One day screens may well be able to show text as well as a printed page does and electronic media may be as comfortable to read as a book is. But, that day is still a long way away. Play safe and make sure your readers can read you web pages.

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