Re: Typeface for print and online documentation

Subject: Re: Typeface for print and online documentation
From: "Lisa Bronson" <Lisa -dot- Bronson -at- ipaper -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 14:06:11 -0500

Do any of you have data on what typefaces are easier to read in print vs.
online documentation?

As far as print documentation: when I was in college at Mankato State
University, we were taught that serif fonts, like Times, were proven
through extensive research to be easier to read.

However, I did some casual studies on my own in my first tech writing job
(after I tried to get them to change from Arial to Times, based on that
research, and got shot down... ha ha), and almost everyone I asked
preferred sans serif fonts, like Arial, over serif fonts. One woman who
worked in assembly said that the serif fonts were too light, and that made
them more difficult to read. I asked one of my professors about these
results, and she said that the research we were taught about was old (20
years at the time, 25 now). Things change, I guess. :-)

btw, the one person I asked who liked the serif font better didn't have an
opinion, per se, but actually quoted the old research mentioned above.

Lisa Bronson
Associate Technical Writer
Evergreen Packaging Equipment
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


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