Based on anecdotal experience, people less familiar with computers seem to prefer larger screen size, less resolution, larger font sizes. Are there any studies that show this?

  • This is the first I've ever heard that.
    – Rob
    Jun 26, 2015 at 11:06
  • 2
    Your question seems quite contradictionary.. You ask for research, yet you present facts? Is your first sentence based on experience of relatives or friends? Jun 26, 2015 at 14:03
  • @EdwinLambregts updated wording
    – Bowen
    Jun 26, 2015 at 16:09
  • Why would you assume that a preferred font size has anything to do with whether or not a person is more or less familiar with computers, and not on their visual acuity? For opposing anecdotal evidence, I've been using (and programming) computers for quite a long time, yet still use the same font sizes I did 20+ years ago, when changing fonts first became a practical option.
    – jamesqf
    Jun 27, 2015 at 6:07
  • So you are saying that they use bigger screens with less resolution?
    – BlueWizard
    Jun 29, 2015 at 4:03

3 Answers 3


Generally speaking, a larger font size is beneficial to the readability of content and user friendlier. Depending on your target group, you will want to have a larger font size or give your users the option to increase font size, like this. Consider wether giving users this option makes sense.

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Also in general, you should maintain a font size of at least 16px for body content. This might look like much at the beginning but there's extensive documentation backing this up, from Smashing magazine and Google.

If your website targets older / new users you could consider a larger font. This article says 14px is good. Jakob Nielsen, the usability guru, would suggest a font size of at least 12px. I would say the web has changed a lot and users expect great readability nowadays. Go for the 16px.

A modern scale for web typography continues with following scale

  • H1: 36pt
  • H2: 24pt
  • H3: 18pt

Other readability tips for new users include:

  • non-serif fonts
  • 66-characters on a line (Bringhurst's recommended line length)
  • White space, white space, white space!

Check the bonus recommendations in this article for some more very useful tips.


IMHO - You are confusing 2 different concepts.

Accessibility is not the same as Technical Unfamiliarity.

You are assuming that Users who are less familiar with computers are either:

  • in the older age bracket and/or;

  • incapable of perceiving content in the same way as most people do (accessibility user) so require larger screen size, lower resolution, larger font sizes and/or;

  • don't have the monetary means to be exposed to better tech so they keep to what they are capable of obtaining.

This is not always the case. It's possible for someone to have these same preferences but are themselves fully technically capable.



The preference you state could also be related to ease of use and simplicity of the tool since designers can only fit so much into the UI with that requirement without cluttering the interface and sacrificing clarity.


I recommend that you actually focus your research on defining your audience before moving further. Once this is clear and you expand on your question, it is easier for us to provide specific studies that you need. Right now it seems like your statement is an assumption.


I think it is condescending to assume that "People less familiar with computers seem to prefer less resolution" - I know I read somewhere that old people did not appreciate big buttons on a remote control, but people having a hard time pressing small buttons appreciate big buttons.

I know your question did not target older people. But you might find some new ideas from reading up upon Universal design. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_design

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