A review of current research on the effects of font and formatting on the readability of text on the web and deriving design guidelines from this research.
Text on websites serves the purpose of displaying information and it is optimal for this text to be quickly and easily readable for users. In this review we will be investigating two aspects of readability, font and formatting. Research by Sheedy, Subbaram, Zimmerman and Hayes (2005) suggests that the font Verdana is more readable than Arial, Georgia, and Times New Roman. This research also suggests that the use of thicker strokes increases readability and italics decrease readability. Research on the use of serifs and aliasing, on the other hand, have shown conflicting results. Research on formatting has suggested that medium line length, large line spacing, left-aligned text, and paging instead of scrolling all increased readability (Wästlund, Norlander, and Archer, 2008. Dyson and Haselgrove, 2001. Ling and Steak, 2007). Based on these results, it is recommended that designers choose fonts that increase readability (Verdana), use heavier weighted strokes, and avoid italics. In terms of formatting it is recommended that designers choose text that fits on a single page without the need for scrolling, use a line length of roughly 55 characters per line, align paragraphs to the left, and use 1.5 or 2-line spacing.