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Beginners tutorial on Text Choices for a web survey
As a beginner it is necessary to discuss the why the choice of a font is so important. The appearance of the text aids readability and in turn the readers comprehension. Fonts are an important part of any form as they add to the aesthetics of the form and its legibility. Fonts come in two two types Serif and Sans Serif. The serif fonts have the small appendages and look more like italic writing, whilst the sans serif do not have these additions.
Two of the most common serif font are Georgia and Times New Roman. Below is an example.
Marcus Cole (Times new Roman)
Marcus Cole (Georgia)
Two of the more common sans serif fonts are Arial and Verdana.
Marcus Cole (Arial)
The choice whilst using digital imaging is generally to use a sans serif font as it looks more legible when put on a screen as it is a simpler graphic to output. This is illustrated by taking yourself back 15 years and remembering how the digital letters had a blue flicker or blur to them. As graphical capabilities have moved on the serif fonts have become more legible, but as with all all technologies not everyone is going to have the newest technology so sans serif fonts have remained an unofficial standard for digital print.
Another factor to using a font digitally is the abundance of fonts. There are a plenitude of fonts but not every piece of technology is going to be able to utilize this technology, so when choosing a font a more conventional choice might be appropriate. A badly chosen font effects output, as if a font is not found by a browser then a default font will be used in its place. The choice of font has an impact on legibility, but for the most part when choosing more standard fonts this is negligible as most fonts have been designed and tested to be legible digitally. One more factor to consider is the audience you are addressing. Certain fonts are seen as more business like whilst other are seen as more casual or catchy. An example is illustrated below.
What is the size of your Organization? (Courier New)
What is the size of your Organization? (Comic Sans)
The Comic font does seem a little out of place for a business question, but for a blog or social media it might not be that out of place? Another point with audience is the text size, as an older audience might prefer a larger font size to aid in reading. For other audiences the 12 point has been seen as the best sized font for readability. When considering choosing a font for an online form the major issues you have to embrace is technology and the audience. If you chose a font that is not compatible with the users browser then your output will not be as you designed, which in turn could lead to the passages looking unaligned, incorrectly sized and providing a deteriorated level of comprehension. As well with your audience certain tweaks can be added for appearance be it for addressing a business audience or a more casual audience.
Hughes, Jason. (June 25th 2012) Sage Internet Research Methods. retrieved from
Wood, John. (2011) The Best Fonts to Use in Print, Online, and Email. retrieved from
Hunt, Ben (n.d.) Readability – making web pages easy to read. retrieved from
Poole, Alex (February 17th 2008 ) Which Are More Legible: Serif or Sans Serif Typefaces?. Retrieved from http://alexpoole.info/blog/which-are-more-legible-serif-or-sans-serif-typefaces/