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In the discussion of serif and sans serif fonts, Jane Bergen writes:
<<Just an FYI: at my company, we combine the two styles very
My text is 10 pt Palatino but filenames, function names, titles of
dialogs, menu names, etc. are in 9 pt bold Arial. Everyone here really,
really likes this look and so do our customers.>>
How common is this combined styles formatting? Our company has used
bold for titles of windows, menus, dialogs, etc and italics for menu
commands, etc. Some of us thought this gave emphasis to this important
information so the reader didn't have to read the entire instruction
step word by word; others pointed out that they _wanted_ the reader to
read the entire instruction, so wanted to eliminate special formatting.
Of course, adding the special character formatting takes time, but it
would be worth it if there is an advantage for the reader/customer.
I've seen lots of research on the readability of serif fonts over sans
serif for long passages (the thread that's been discussed), but am not
aware of any research regarding the effectiveness of combining styles in
short passages such as instructions.
jkistler -at- trane -dot- com