Determining Font Size and Typeface

Determining font size and typeface are important considerations when evaluating computer access. Both font and typeface preferences are determined by the individual user. Font size measures the actual height and width of the character. Typeface is the style of print (i.e., Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman). This is also the time to determine if third-party magnification software is needed.

According to the Web Accessibility In Mind (WebAIM) website, these are the most common typefaces used on Windows and Mac OS platforms:

  • Arial
  • Book Antiqua (no longer popular)
  • Comic Sans MS
  • Georgia
  • Courier New
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana

Verdana is one of the most popular typefaces designed for on-screen viewing. Some of the reasons why this typeface is preferred are:

  • Straightforward design of each character.
  • Spacing between letters.
  • Larger size then most fonts at the same point size.

There are a few things to consider when evaluating font size and type:

  • Serif and san-serif fonts
  • Screen type (LED and LCD)
  • Font size up to 24 point without magnification features (changing font only)
  • Font size using computer magnification features
  • Font size using third-party screen magnification software

Observational Questions

When observing an individual looking at a computer monitor, look for answers to the following questions. Review the questions first before observing the individual.

  1. Is the student given time to respond to the visual prompt?
  2. Estimate the reading distance when the font is at the preferred size.
  3. What type of screen is being used to test the font size?
  4. Is the typeface serif or non-serif?
  5. Is third-party screen magnification software used or is it needed if not currently used?

Video Description

After reviewing the questions, read over the video description below.

The student is positioned in front of a LCD computer monitor. Monitor is slightly lower than eye level. It also is angled upward at about 80-degrees. Displayed on the screen, are the letters (g-t-r-e) arranged from left to right in a horizontal row. Size of the font is about 24 point. The student starts saying the letters after a verbal prompt by the teacher. She starts off by saying (t) and (r). The teacher asks her if there are other letters on the screen. The student said "yes" and then said (e) and (g). Teachers concurred that the preferred font size ranges between 20 and 28 points.

Observing the Video

After observing the video, answer questions in the "Observation Questions" section.

Font Evaluation Video Link

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