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Re: Use of san-serif font

From: Ian B. Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 15:36:07 -0500
Message-ID: <3C069C37.8DD7962A@w3.org>
To: Roger Jones <roger@walkandroll.com>
CC: site-comments@w3.org
Roger Jones wrote:
> Is it better to use serif or non serif fonts in a 
> document for people with low vision?


I am not an expert on this particular question, and
I think it's a complex one in an international
context (i.e., where fonts for various scripts may
differ substantially in their appearance).

While the following is not a definitive answer,
the lighthouse [1] suggests the following, at least
for familiar western fonts:

 "Avoid complicated, decorative or cursive fonts and,
  when they must be used, reserve them for
  emphasis only. Standard serif or sans-serif fonts,
  with familiar, easily recognizable characters are
  best. Also, there is some evidence that sans-serif
  fonts are more legible when character size is small
  relative to the reader's visual acuity."

While sensitivity by the author is important, it is
probably more important that the user be able to
choose whatever font best suits that user's needs. Hence
the requirement in the UAAG 1.0 to provide control
of font family [2]:

   "Allow global configuration of the font family of 
    all visually rendered text, with an option 
    to override font families specified by the author 
    or by user agent defaults."

I hope this helps,

 - Ian

[1] http://www.lighthouse.org/print_leg.htm
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/UAAG10/guidelines#tech-configure-font-family

Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                     +1 718 260-9447
Received on Thursday, 29 November 2001 15:36:08 UTC

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