Fonts: Serif vs. Sans serif
Have you noticed that MOST, if not ALL, big websites these days use sans serif fonts? Especially the corporate ones. There seems to be some big, unwritten rule among website designers that serif fonts are to be avoided at all costs.
I have always believed that serif fonts are easier to read—not only on paper, but on screen as well. I should think the embellishments to a character, besides making it look prettier, also make it easier to be recognized by the brain since there are more data points per character. Is this not true? Why do you think websites aren't simply designed for the default font?
Why does Microsoft think the new Verdana font designed for the web should be "stripped of features redundant when applied to the screen"?
It just seems there are too many threadbare, ugly chunks of text out there these days.
While I think the argument that a font or any other interface feature should be "stripped of features redundant" is specious, I have learned since first taking the position that sans serif fonts are bad, that a special case exists when said redundances are so badly distorted as to be unrecognizable.
Such, I am informed, is the case with serifs on today's crude screens. Two font designers who have worked both in the world of newspapers and computers, Vlad V. Golovach and George Olsen, have taken the time to explain to me in exhaustive detail exactly why serifs don't work on low-resolution computer displays whereas they do in newspapers which, while notoriously bad, don't hold a candle to the crudeness of computer screens. (A third writer from UCLA, who shall remain nameless, seemed to share their opinion, but only imparted the direct information that I am a fool. This seemed only tangentially relevant and was, in any case, stale news.)
These arguments have caused me to reverse my previous "serifs at all costs!" position until such time as we have high-resolution displays, at which point I will be back out in front of the serif parade once more.
(Grasping at straws, I was even prepared to put forth the argument that the muddying effect of seris could be offset by anti-aliasing the font. But anti-aliasing softens the edges, and soft edges definitely reduce readability.)
I would really like to see someone to do some serious large-scale studies of relative readability of various fonts, serif and sans, and then I would like to see those results codified in the form of standard, cross-platform, high-readability fonts. In the meantime, I'm concluding my discussion of fonts.