Typography is a topic that doesn’t come up nearly as often as it should, especially when looking at how we read things online. Steve Jobs talked about typography’s early cousin calligraphy, and how that was such an influence with Word Processor programs to follow for Apple and Microsoft, but the sort of typography used on modern websites actually has a huge effect on how we read online content.
Size Does Matter
When it comes to font type, size does matter. While all caps is frowned upon and there is certainly a limit on how tall text can consistently be without losing its readability, anything 8 pt or less is often going to turn readers off. This is hard to read, requires a lot of concentration, and isn’t going to make a good impression.
12 point font is better than 10 in the majority of circumstances and depending on how the font is designed, sometimes even a 13 or 14 point font can be a great way for getting attention and keeping it.
Contrast Matters Even More
Contrast is critical. There’s a reason black text on a white background is the standard default: it’s extremely easy to read and the epitome of contrast. There’s no problem reading it whether the person is color blind or not, there’s no blending. This type of contrast can be created (to some extent) with other colors, and it is a necessity to make a web page truly readable by any reasonable standards.
Spacing Matters As Well
Spacing is also extremely important when it comes to making sure a web page is readable. You don’t want words running together because it’s hard to see where the spaces are, and likewise a space after a period should be more than enough to separate two sentences. There’s also the north-south element with not wanting lines to cram together. A paragraph should look evenly spaced, not smashed together like a squished loaf of bread.
Use White Space & Headers
No discussion about web typography would be complete without talking about the use of white space and headers, where appropriate. Giving a full page of text extra readability by using bolded headlines that stick out and white space between paragraphs makes all the difference in encouraging a web browser to read as opposed to glancing at it and then looking for something else more visually appealing.