According to a study at MIT, fonts have an impact on how a person feels. A good font brings pleasant feelings; a bad font does the opposite. Since a font influences emotions, it’s safe to say that the whole user experience (UX) is affected by bad font choices.
How Can Fonts Affect Emotions?
There are two core ways that people’s emotions get affected by font, namely:
- Cognitive Bias
By default, particular fonts and font styles symbolize certain connotations to people. It’s generally influenced by culture and, yes, cognitive bias. Simply put, a cognitive bias is a systematic thinking error that happens when people process and interpret information in their environment. This, in turn, impacts their judgments and decisions.
A great example of this is how sans serif fonts are generally used on official United States government forms. Across the pond in England, on the other hand, it’s the tabloids that use sans serif fonts. Something so official and serious in one place can very well seem worthy of simply overlooking in another. Context is certainly everything.
- Objective Readability
There are fonts that are tricky to read, while others are very easy to read from the get-go. The harder a person’s brains and eyes need to work for a piece of text to be interpreted, the worse they typically feel after. It can even induce headaches in certain people.
Print presses were the originators of serif fonts; serifs have since been proven to help the human eye move between letters much quicker.
Initially, computer screens generally had low resolutions. Serif fonts were made using vectors then, which simply looked off for low pixel-density at the time. This is why designers back then ended up using sans serif fonts, essentially made as bitmaps. Over the past few decades, thankfully, screen resolutions have come quite a long way. Pixels are now hardly recognizable even up close.
Size Things Accurately
Make it too big, and it could lead to people feeling thrown off; make it too small it will likely be easy to just overlook. It’s important for typography to be just right on mobile, desktop, and more.
A good way to get that accomplished is by scaling typography appropriately. Using tools like the Fluid-Responsive Font-Size Calculator on webSemantics will help to achieve this seamlessly.
According to a study, “fixation duration decreased with increasing font size,” especially in younger readers. Font size variations will also play a key role in the hierarchy of content. Used properly, it helps users to find exactly where they want to go in a timely fashion.
Many web designers have a tendency to design various layouts of all screen sizes. However, responsive web design is now “in.” Layouts adapt to the device viewport automatically. In some cases it’s adaptive, wherein sizes are limited; other times, it’s liquid, wherein every possible width applies.
Font choice is an integral part of any website, no matter the niche or industry. Hand-in-hand with that is the importance of font size. A good way to get that done across the board is through responsive typography.
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