I've been told by someone who worked with a researcher that Sans Serif fonts have lots of ambiguity in things like i, 1, l and this causes the eye to need to back and forth (more, presumably than the usual saccades).

The evaluation criteria is: * Reading fatigue (how much can you read without fatiguing) * Retention

Now, one counter point to this, years ago, might have been that low resolution screens may not render the serifs very well. (And this person indicated that even back then serif fonts were better).

So, I"m wondering, what the latest research is showing, especially for those older folks with poorer eyesight.

  • I remember hearing some time ago that Comic Sans is better for people with vision problems. But I could be wrong.
    – Cole Tobin
    Mar 5, 2015 at 19:21
  • 3
    The short answer to the above linked question: "There is no evidence that indicates Serif vs. Sans Serif as having any significant advantage over the other for any particular population." Mar 5, 2015 at 20:33

2 Answers 2


Fonts are a very tender problem.
But!: The basic thing to remind here that the font is not everything.

( I have no online link to prove the following statements, there all from Hans Peter Willberg, a german typographer; some you can read in the book "Typolemik/Typophilie" )

Don't learn rules!

Most people do this, mostly because they have bad teachers or/and just some kind of dumb "do this and only this forever and it will be great" lists.
Instead, learn to ask! Ask these:

  • What should be read?
  • Who will read the text?
  • Where will they read the text?
  • How should it be read?
  • On which medium will the text be?

Those will lead to the choosing of a typeface. But not only this. It's about colors, sizes, how many characters in a line... etc.

You could also ask:

  • What should be accomplished?
  • Which methods were chosen?
  • Are these the right methods?
  • Are these methods used correctly?

As you can see, it's not about Serif or Sans-Serif. :)

  • +1 Nice answer, you're right to bring it back to design intent
    – tohster
    Mar 31, 2015 at 15:18
  • 2
    This does not answer the question asked.
    – Stuntddude
    Oct 18, 2016 at 1:05

Most web pages employ sans-serif type.Hinting information, spatial anti-aliasing, and subpixel rendering technologies have partially mitigated the perception of serif fonts on screen. Due to the basic constraint of screen resolution—typically 100 pixels per inch or less—the serifs in some fonts can be difficult to discern on screen. Some serif fonts, such as Georgia, are specially designed for web readability—employing higher x-heights in the letters as well as sturdier serifs.( so at least we know there is no advantage to use serif vs san-serif on web)

As serifs originated in inscription they are generally not used in handwriting. A common exception is the printed capital I, where the addition of serifs distinguishes the character from lowercase L. The printed capital J and the numeral 1 are also often handwritten with serifs.

The controversy continues over readability, without conclusive results.Editors were formerly taught to use serif, as in older books. Magazines may use sans-serif as "cleaner", but possibly decreasing readability. Modern e-book readers allow the viewer to adjust font family and size. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serif#Readability_debate

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.