We are designing a News application for one of our clients, and I would like to get to know what is the optimal text size for Headlines and Article text in an application like this?

We would like to maximize readability for users, because this is the most important feature of a News app.

Do you have any research or experience on this topic?

The app would be something like this:

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  • Have you looked at the HIG for information on this?
    – Rahul
    Feb 10, 2012 at 12:03
  • Yes, but couldn't find info about it. Feb 10, 2012 at 13:12
  • Questions asking for an optimal solution almost always could be reworded. There are so many factors involved it's hard to give a definitive answer. Feb 10, 2012 at 18:29
  • This depends greatly on the font you use as well; x-height would probably be a better measure to compare, though harder to find resources on...
    – Ben Brocka
    Feb 10, 2012 at 19:55
  • I think there could be an answer for this question, although I agree it is hard to find. Feb 13, 2012 at 7:51

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, there's no one answer.

There are a lot of human factors outside of your control that have a large influence:

  • Does your user need corrective lenses, and are they wearing them?
    Anyone not wearing their glasses - or who needs them but doesn't know it yet - will favour a larger font.

  • Are they wearing progressive lenses - and are they holding the phone low or high?
    Progressive lenses provide a different focal distance at each height - closer lower down, farther away higher up. But, the most convenient place to hold the phone may not correspond with the focal distance their. Again, a larger font might be desired by this user.

  • How well do they read? Letter by letter, word by word, or phrase by phrase?
    Someone who reads letter by letter will usually favour a larger, non-serif font so they can pick up each letter in turn.
    Someone who reads word by word will favour a serif font, as that helps each word to be seen as a single "thing".
    Someone who reads phrase by phrase will favour smaller fonts, so that each eye registration pics up more text, supporting their higher reading speed.

For a good default in your application, pick something close to what other people do, but do provide at least small/medium/large options for your users to select.


We developped a website to create mobile sites and we're using 14px for the content. The typo was 12px at beginning but, we had complaints from users. In a mobile site, you need to stay easily readable.

  • The question is "what is optimal", not "what did you do".
    – Rahul
    Feb 11, 2012 at 21:23
  • 1
    But it's a good start, if you look at what any others do, you'll be able to have a good idea of what to do.
    – ayottepl
    Feb 13, 2012 at 14:41

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