Correct Font Sizes for Arial and Verdana

Arial vs. Verdana

Posted by

Your desired font size should determine if you should use Arial or Verdana on the web.

I recently ran across an article by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson about the readability of different fonts in HTML documents . Serif fonts are commonly used today in many types of printed material including books, newspapers, magazines, etc. Serifs supposedly help people read a text more easily. However, Dr. Wilson did some research to determine if this is true in all cases, especially in those cases where something is read from a computer screen.

When people were surveyed on whether Times New Roman (the default font for many browsers and word processors) or Arial font (a common Sans Serif font) was easier to read on a computer screen, the results were approximately 2:1 that Arial was much more readable.

This spurred some more ideas and another survey was done that compared Verdana and Arial, two different Sans Serif fonts. Some interesting results were found that showed that at 12 pt. font, Arial was easier to read. However, when the size of the font was decreased two points, Verdana was found to be much easier to read; when font size decreased one more point, the gap widened between those who thought Verdana was easier to read and those who favored Arial. At a 9 pt. font, Verdana was chosen as more easily read by 74% of the people surveyed.

This means that in this survey if you use 12pt or larger font online you should use Arial. If you use 10pt or smaller, you should use Verdana. Looks like I might need to go back and examine my stylesheets.