Paper documentation fonts -Reply

Subject: Paper documentation fonts -Reply
From: Virginia Link <LINKVJ -at- DHSS -dot- STATE -dot- WI -dot- US>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 1996 13:06:07 -0500

**********************************
Virginia Link, BCS
Internet address: linkvj -at- dhss -dot- state -dot- wi -dot- us or
infotech.emx.vlink
608.267.7896

>>> Marci Abels <maa5906 -at- CCP -dot- COM> 06/18/96
06:19am >>> wrote
<snip>
I'm looking for a backup source for readability and
usabilty of fonts in paper documentation. Our paper
manuals have been using Helvetica throughout.
We have a new head of the department now and I want to
propose that we continue to use Helvetica for section
heads, call outs, and titles, but go to a serif font for the
body copy. I know every class I've ever taken has
stressed that a serif font makes reading easier, but I can't
find the support I'm going to need for the departmental
meeting.
<end snip>

The book, Writing and Designing Manuals, by Gretchen
Holstein Schoff and Patricia A. Robinson (1984),
mentions, in its chapter on Format/Layout, that "readability
studies indicate that most people perceive it [sans serif
type face] harder to read. No one is quite sure why this is
true -- it may be that the serifs tend to 'seat' the letters on
the line and pull the eye along to the next word. Sans serif
type is fine for headings, but for the text proper, we
recommend using a serif type."

The book does not cite any readability studies. I had to
fight the same battle myself. Not to mention a boss who
liked 8-point type. Hope this helps.

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