Typography - Spare a thought for your readers!

How many times has it happened, you visit a website, you really want to read the content but the web developer has chosen comic sans or some other font you really don’t like and it just drives you mental! Or you visit a website that has a font that is so small you think you must be going blind (the Amazon shopping cart springs to mind). Or they have a black background with white text so that if you read it for a while you see weird red bars wherever you look for the next few minutes!

There’s no escaping it, you’ve just gotta get off that inconsiderate website ASAP! Ok, perhaps I’m slightly over-exaggerating here but this does beg the question: just how important are fonts to you?

Do you put any consideration into what you choose or does it really matter at all? What are the criteria you use?

Let’s hear your take on this subject!

Tiny ghost-grey near 9px on white is probably going to the one I won’t bother reading and go elsewhere. Even though I know how to zoom or apply user style sheets, etc.

As for the weird red bars Remon, I won’t ask how much strong coffee you have been drinking? Maybe you have an eyesight problem or the VDU needs calibrating if you are seeing ‘after images’.

Luckily using Strict XHTML has no font information so if authored correctly it’s down to the CSS designer. The user can choose what they want and the web author can only ‘suggest’. Though the answer to the question is yes it matters and certain groups of users require specific contrast/colours or font size to be able to read a page efficiently.

Nah I don’t think it’s a problem with my eyes per se, and it doesn’t happen every time. But every now again (especially when I’m tired) when the website has a super strong contrast I do indeed have ‘after images’ as you say.
Nothing too worrying though :slight_smile:

Black background with crazy illuminous green text - I think that must have been the most annoying thing I’ve ever seen - I can understand the eye strain Remon nevermind seeing things after it! Such glary colours should never be used IMO - I do believe fonts should be considered and taught out very carefully, perhaps something that is taken for granted by some but definitely food for thought.

It’s funny when looking at code and seeing just how many people stick to just one or two fonts too, variety is the spice of life people, let’s not be mean and consider for once the off-chance that maybe your spiffy font may not be available for duty! Another thing that bugs me about fonts, albeit edging this question a bit but it’s relevant, is the alignment issue - I mean, if I’m reading a paragraph I want it to be justified, there’s nothing more frustrating to me! :rolleyes: jeeze…what’s the world coming to? :smiley:

So Hazel you mean such beauty as the following: Pretty Salmon Web Design | SitePoint Forums Competition 2011 : Pure HTML + CSS Competition sample by Mr Fishfinger is not quite to your taste? Even though it brings back nostalgic memories of childhood… :wink:

Regarding alignment, i.e. ‘justify’ of text it can cause problem with reading in some groups due to the uneven white-space between the lettering. Albeit its probably less of a problem for professional page print than screen rendering.

not a lot – i barely notice the difference between serif and sans serif :slight_smile:

but there are indeed times when a site looks like shít to me –

  • text too small
  • artsy-fartsy colours (e.g. grey on white)
  • horizontal scroll (i’m on 800x600)
  • no horizontal scroll (this is even worse)

however, i have “coping strategies” –

  • ctrl-a (you’d be surprised how often this works!)
  • look for a “print” link
  • view source (i’m a dab hand at finding content inside html)

sadly, the average web users are not likely to have tricks like these up their sleeve :frowning:

my own practice when creating web pages is to restrict myself to common fonts

  • “Trebuchet MS”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;

uh oh… my site sort of looks like that :confused:

Interesting you should say that. Neither do I, but apparently people are a lot faster at reading serif then they are reading sans-serif (see for example here Reading and Typography)

Another thing I recently found out is that people appear to be filling in forms [about certain subjects] more truthfully when you use -wait for it- Comic Sans! See here:
Use Comic Sans to Get People to Reveal their Most Sensitive Private Information Online - Kashmir Hill - The Not-So Private Parts - Forbes
Yup, that one surprised me too!

Would you say that when you encounter such a page you leave immediately? Or do you try to figure out a way to make it “work” for you?

Hey, that’s a pretty familiar looking stack. You have good taste! :slight_smile:

I was wondering if you were going to mention that Robert :rofl: :shifty: I like it and yes it does bring back old memories BUT it is annoying to read large blocks of texts like that for say a long period of time, my vision tends to get a bit fuzzy/blurry. The font itself does nothing for me because it’s too computery looking, but that’s the theme really anyway so it works (don’t hate me) I’m just awkward!! :lol:

If it’s a large block of text and justification can be applied, then yes I expect nothing less. Of course if it stretches the paragraph out too much then that’s not nice. I guess most times when I do notice it and when it annoys me most is when it isn’t used where it should be used. It’s the little things that make me happy sigh

Actually, I like that green, it has a calming affect, not too hard to read, it’s just right! :cool:

thank you, hazel, what a delightful gift for a happy sunday :slight_smile:

did you notice the rgb codes?

rudy, you’re an idiot


Hmm, yes, it makes some sense if I start typing in this ‘comic’ font face people will think I am so cuddly and warm. May be I should use it for interrogation purposes too. Adding some colour will also help. Just enough to get some truthful confessions out of people. :smiley:

You’re welcome! :rofl: Erm, yes, I’ve seen them, what about the RGB codes? :shifty:

Another thing I’ve just been thinking about, indentation…I think that’s a love/hate relationship really and misused quite often. When I’m reading a paragraph, the flow of the text is important to me. There’s nothing worse than seeing scattered text all over the place. I think the only time text should really be indented should be when quoting say for example code or a phrase etc. What about these dropped capital starts to paragraphs too? They seem to be everywhere particularly on blogs. They are ok sometimes but only if they have a good font allocated but for those that are fancy or decorative that’s a bit too annoying IMO. Using them at the start of each paragraph is a bit overkill too :nono:

:rofl: You might be better served with Wonder Woman’s magic lasso instead Robert, at least we won’t have headaches in the process! :smiley:

Typography is art and it is an important part of web design.
In fact, in my opinion, it is a critical part of web design.
While one’s layout may be amazing, content is what will bring users and keep them coming back.
And content, which is usually text needs to be displayed in a fashion that the reader’s will be comfortable with reading.

Take a look at his username, and then take a look at the CSS of his website :slight_smile:

Exactly. Which is also one of the reasons I’m not a big fan of tag clouds. All of tags seem to be screaming for my eye’s attention at the same time, and I feel like I’m starting see double.

Yes. Drop caps can be very nice when done correctly, but one should not forget that they are for decorative purposes only, and nothing more. Using drop caps for their own sake is not cool. One drop cap per page should be enough.
Also, I’m not a fan of the “sand bag” drop caps; the ones where it’s just a background image with filler -or sandbag- divs over them so the text follows the flow of the drop cap. It looks a bit odd mostly.

Amen to that!

Agreed. What about organised tag clouds that have the tags neatly aligned and The increase in font size representing their usage.

:lightbulb - Durr Hazel! I didn’t think to pair the user-name up, thanks Remon! I think you may very well have an OCD problem Rudy :wink:

  • Tag clouds - yikes, that’s one I’m guilty of using - even a flash one too! Yes, I should be scolded :nono: But sure, least my fonts we’re pretty (:

Line height is another issue for me, jeeze I’m letting loose today :smiley: But yes, seriously, this must be bang on right for me to be able to read comfortably - having too much space is just very off putting - I remember working as a speed typist some years back and my boss used to always want 1.5 line spacing - used to infuriate me, of course I was… :slight_smile: yes, sure no problem…I think it actually probably inspired me to type quicker so I didn’t have to look at it for long :lol: Now that I think of it, another job I was lucky to have was proof reading for a newspaper agency - now that was crazy - everything was rough, no layout or fancy schmansy fonts, they looked like something a typewriter would output, needless to say I didn’t last long here :shifty: :smiley:

Slightly better, but still not a fan. I think I’m simply not a fan of cloud tags, either with good fonts or otherwise :slight_smile:
Tag lists like some blogs have on the side where everything is put in to one category and you can see for each category how many posts are in that category are okay though (as far as I’m concerned).

That makes it all okay then :eye:

Why? Did you think it was too much or not enough? For me the perfect line-height is what A List Apart uses. Not too much, not too little. Just. sexy. Even with that pretty plain font they’re using! Granted, they could have used a slightly larger font, but okay, you can’t get everything right, right? :slight_smile:


Slightly better, but still not a fan. I think I’m simply not a fan of cloud tags, either with good fonts or otherwise
Tag lists like some blogs have on the side where everything is put in to one category and you can see for each category how many posts are in that category are okay though (as far as I’m concerned).)[/QUOTE]

Okay, I can live with that. :lol:
I just feel that categories give general subjects to classify multiple posts and tags are reoccurring words or ideas that are less general, but oft-occurring.

For me the perfect line-height is what A List Apart uses. Not too much, not too little. Just. sexy.

Agreed. Anyone know that their line hight is?

Well the 1.5 line spacing in a Word document, at least to me, seems far too stretched out - this wasn’t a specific taste, it was more of a deliberate money-making move as my boss had charged on a per page basis - the average client didn’t really see the difference, but it added up price-wise…

I like that line height they’re using too, and the font is nice and readable, I’ve always liked that website anyway, so maybe I’ve got my rose coloured glasses on either :cool: but!! the only thing I’m not forgiving of, is that jagged text alignment :nono:

Don’t make me smack you, Robert. You know I will. :slight_smile:

Print yes, screen no. Sans-serif is more comfortable for continuous on screen reading.