Usability: Serif and Sans-Serif font faces

Subject: Usability: Serif and Sans-Serif font faces
From: "Ned Bedinger" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 15:18:16 -0700

What is the usability issue that dictates the use of serif
and sans-serif font faces? I see this as a
design/usability issue, characterized by strong opinions and
beliefs, and it seems to break along the lines of people who
know versus people who don't. I first got the word (that
sans-serif was more readable) from Mac users, who seemed to
value aesthetics more than PC users.

In my experience, you would neither have to look far to find
users that want all body text in sans-serif, nor would you
have to look far to find users who would read serif body
text with nary a whimper.

Would anyone care to share anecdotal or stochastic evidence,
from the typesetter's guild or from cognitive psychology or
art school or wherever, to support the contention that one
is more readable than the other?

Thanks in advance.

Ned Bedinger
Ed Wordsmith Technical Communications Co.
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
tel: 360-434-7197
fax: 360-769-7059


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