RE: How to decide which font to use for website

Subject: RE: How to decide which font to use for website
From: Jason Willebeek-LeMair <jlemair -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 09:48:52 -0600

Jeanne A. E. DeVoto wrote:

"The larger issue when it comes to web site design, though, is why
considering overriding the user's choice of font in the first place. The
user presumably will choose the font he or she finds most comfortable;
you're going to replace that with your own choice of font, it seems to
that that decision must be justified by some pretty heavy-duty usability
concerns first."

Jason wonders:

Okay. I have heard this argument before, and bought in to it. But I
have to wonder--how many users actually set their font preference in
their browsers? How many even know it is possible?

I tend to just let the browser use whatever font choice came installed
as the default. Why? Who knows. Maybe I am lazy. Maybe the desire to
see all my pages in Arial is not strong enough to overcome the inertia
of doing nothing (hey, things at rest tend to stay that way). Maybe I
just don't care.

But, there are a lot of new or "recreational" computer users out there
whose computers came pre-installed with Navigator or Internet Explorer
(and no manual of course). All they need to know is that they connect
with their dialup icon, and double-clicking the little browser icon
makes the Internet appear. They don't know about, and probably don't
want to know about, the nifty browser options. (Anecdotal evidence: I
tried to show these options to my wife. She was rather unimpressed.
Evidently she had better things to do than twiddle the font preferences
in the browser. And I had better things to do than flaunt my nerdiness
like a peacock in heat.)

So, why not override the font choice? You may annoy the 5 people who
know about it AND actually came to your page. Everyone else will
probably take it in stride.

Devil's Advocate

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