teeny tiny fonts

Dear authors

One thing I've noticed on some story websites is the story for some reason is presented in such a teeny tiny hard to read font that it would be literally uncomfortable to read.

I know there's downloads, adjustments etc to deal with that from the readers' point of view but to be honest the casual surfer is more likely to simply be detered and go elsewhere. You only have one chance to make a first impression!

I advise you to check how your page appears in different browsers with different resolutions. This might be an easy way to make your site more attractive to readers.

Sorry to pick on you, but one example - not the only one - is Bix's "Ash and Zabe".

I agree totally. It's bizarre that some people who want to be writers can't design sites for ease of reading. Yes, on most browsers it's possible to increase the display size, but it took me a little while to figure that out and I suspect many potential readers will give up before they figure it out. It's even worse when they use white (or grey) text on black backgrounds. Does anyone still really believe black backgrounds look cool?

Hah... For a long time, I used a really small font. To make matters worse, it was also on a black background.

So, yeah. I'm pretty much guilty of all of that.

I ended up ditching the black, and making the font clear and big. It's so much easier to read, and even looks more professional.

Yeah, I completely agree. Sure, it's possible and even easy to change the font size on your browser. But why should I, the reader, have to go to that much effort to read your story? Unless the story looks really, really interesting, I'm not going to go to much effort.

Guess the core question is... what's "teeny tiny" to you?

This is actually an incredibly partisan issue at my work. First I had a significant number of users complain that the fonts were too small and they couldn't read it. Then I had a different significant number complain the fonts were too big and ruined the site design.

So what would you consider appropriate?


Well, I'm early middle-aged and wear varifocals. Personally I'd say the font size used on this board is perfectly adequate for reading, but for longer pieces I might prefer a point or two larger. That's not to mention the question of serif versus sans-serif, nor of foreground and background colours...

Using "Ride with Madness"'s site as an example, http://psychmum.wordpress.com/

I'd say - don't go any smaller than this.

I agree with Leem, the font on this forum or slightly bigger - but not much - is ideal. The font used here is nice and clean too, which helps.

Does anyone have any example of a site with too big font? I've seen some like that too but can't think of any right now.

I think people usually have their monitor screen resolution set to their preference, so there's room for adjustment for different needs. ie. people who have trouble seeing will set their screen resolution larger than someone else might. But if the web site designer uses something extreme, that throws everyone off.

Novelr has a post on design, including advice on fonts: http://www.novelr.com/2007/10/26/design-improving-readability-without-lifting-a-pencil-part-2

I think it's good advice. I actually would prefer the font on Novelr to be a bit smaller, but it's definitely readable. If a font seems too big for a site design, in my opinion, the site design is probably too cluttered to begin with.

Well, part of the problem is that a lot of browser skins select small type.

We always end up increasing font size...and spec all bold in the CSS. What do you really need bold for, anyway? So it makes things easier to read. And a little insurance, since you never know what the readers's browsers are doing with it.