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Font Style

Challenge to Accessibility:

Some fonts are harder to read than others. If a document is harder to read the the user has to find more time to decode it and may find the format getting in the way of understanding content. Serif fonts, which are fonts that include decorative embellishments (e.g. Times New Roman, Georgia, Cambria) are hard to read, especially on computer screens. This is the reason nearly all websites are now in sans serif fonts (e.g. Arial, Verdana, Calibri, etc).

 

How to ensure accessible font styles:

  • Choose an easily readable font with clearly defined letters and clear spacing between the letters. Sans Serif fonts such as Verdana, Arial, Calibri, Trebuchet or Helvetica, allow for maximum readability of the text. A Sans Serif font is one which doesn't have the additional tails on letters. An example of a Serif font would be Times New Roman. Note that serif fonts can be used for mathematical symbols, where they are more accessible than sans serif fonts.

    Examples of a san serif v serif font -

    Image showing the difference between sans serif and serif fonts

 

  • Ensure text is no smaller than 12 point.
  • Avoid underlining text as the readability is significantly decreased. Consider making the text bold instead
  • Avoid italics as the readability is significantly decreased. Consider making the text bold instead
  • Ensure all text is left aligned, not justified. Justified text can lead to users focusing on the 'rivers of white space' between the words, not the words themselves.

Example of the river effect -

Example of the river effect

 

View an animation showing how to change the font in Microsoft Word.

 


Last updated 28 September 2016 by Trinity Inclusive Curriculum (Email).