Selection of the optimum font type and size interface for on screen continuous reading by young adults: an ergonomic approach

J Hum Ergol (Tokyo). 2011 Dec;40(1-2):47-62.


There is a rapid shifting of media: from printed paper to computer screens. This transition is modifying the process of how we read and understand text. The efficiency of reading is dependent on how ergonomically the visual information is presented. Font types and size characteristics have been shown to affect reading. A detailed investigation of the effect of the font type and size on reading on computer screens has been carried out by using subjective, objective and physiological evaluation methods on young adults. A group of young participants volunteered for this study. Two types of fonts were used: Serif fonts (Times New Roman, Georgia, Courier New) and Sans serif fonts (Verdana, Arial, Tahoma). All fonts were presented in 10, 12 and 14 point sizes. This study used a 6 X 3 (font type X size) design matrix. Participants read 18 passages of approximately the same length and reading level on a computer monitor. Reading time, ranking and overall mental workload were measured. Eye movements were recorded by a binocular eye movement recorder. Reading time was minimum for Courier New l4 point. The participants' ranking was highest and mental workload was least for Verdana 14 point. The pupil diameter, fixation duration and gaze duration were least for Courier New 14 point. The present study recommends using 14 point sized fonts for reading on computer screen. Courier New is recommended for fast reading while for on screen presentation Verdana is recommended. The outcome of this study will help as a guideline to all the PC users, software developers, web page designers and computer industry as a whole.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Choice Behavior
  • Comprehension
  • Data Display*
  • Ergonomics*
  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Reaction Time
  • Reading*
  • Size Perception
  • User-Computer Interface*