Are there any recommendations/studies on text readability comparisons among the standard web typefaces? The conventional wisdom for serif vs. sans-serif is that serif is better for readability (which is why the vast majority of books have body text printed in serif fonts), but I'm noticing that most blogs seem to use sans-serif fonts; the StackExchange series of websites and Github both appear to use Helvetica for text.

  • The research is extremely inconclusive on this point and time and time again the results have shown that other factors like x-height, point size, line length, contrast, justification, and leading are better indicators of "readability" than serif vs sans serif. I remember a study that showed more of a discrepancy in readability in different weights of the same font than in different fonts. That having been said, Verdana is a particularly good choice on the web because it has a very tall x-height, good hinting and wide open counters and so remains legible at very small sizes.
    – Kit Grose
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 23:03

2 Answers 2


Horses for courses... web is not the same as print.

This from UrbanFonts:

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I'd suggest an experiment in long-form, where you set the same text using different types and discover which best suits your use case, your design, and perhaps which progressively enhances into a webfont if you require that.

With tools like codepen you can quickly iterate on different fonts and font-sizes. On this codepen I've done so, but with webfonts: http://codepen.io/bmuenzenmeyer/pen/tsnqi With a couple seconds of effort you could replace it with the usual suspects.

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