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Popular fonts

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Lovejoy

3:32 am on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hi All,

I just read a study on fonts and people's preferences
for them. As an experiment I changed my font to the second most popular one they had listed ( Georgia). Within two days sales were up 20% and have stayed up for the last two weeks. Thinking it was a fluke I checked my stats for this period over the last three years and sales had been pretty equal for March. Has anyone found experimented with fonts and got an increase in sales?

TonyMc

5:30 am on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I'd be interested in seeing that list. Could you link the article?

--Tony

Pfui

5:48 am on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I'm interested, too -- both in who did the studying and who/how many people they studied, etc. Georgia font isn't even on my Mac, so I'd see Times (my default).

Also, Lovejoy, which font did you switch from?

tedster

6:01 am on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Here are two studies of "popular fonts" from the Software Usability Research Lab at Wichita State University

[psychology.wichita.edu...]
[psychology.wichita.edu...] (includes Georgia)

Lovejoy

1:17 pm on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hi tedster, those were the studies I read. I was using a times font, which to my eyes ( used to reading newspapers for fify years ;~) looked better than the Georgia.

Lovejoy

1:24 pm on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hi All,

Here's another reference I found to fonts
[clickz.com...]

Pfui

4:00 pm on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Thanks for the links, tedster and Lovejoy! I remember skimming one of them linked from a post here in recent months. Too bad the studies are small, and on the older side (2001-2002) given the ongoing changes in screen resolution and size.

For those of us unfamiliar with Georgia, Lovejoy's link includes a graphic comparison [img.clickz.com]. Interesting how Georgia appears to be a hybrid, coupling the roundness of san serif fonts Arial and Verdana (but not as wide) and Helvetica with the serifs of good old Times.

Note to (potential) Switchers: Georgia may not be installed so sales bumps or hit rates, up or down, may be independent of font changes.

(Where things get really odd for me is when people set font size on the tiny side. Most -3 'PC font' settings on my both my Mac desktop and laptop machines are practically unreadable, even with reading glasses:)

Anyway, thanks again for the info!

CernyM

12:47 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Definitely interesting.

Is the sample size large enough for the conversion rate data to be meaningful? (As a general note, it would be nice if with every posting related to changes in conversion rate the OP noted the likelihood of sample size error effects.)

johncory

1:41 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



We actually just switched an entire high-traffic corporate site from Verdana body copy to Georgia and saw a dramatic decrease in activity (thanks, marketing dept). Our guess was that people just saw some change and fled but after a while we realized that, duh, the Georgia is really hard to read.

And then again, there could have been a number of things that contributed to the downfall. I find it really hard to say one font is better or worse than another since there's rarely a case in which you use just text on a page or site. Fonts play with the other graphics. Some matches are better than others.

So, just wanted to put that out there - no, I don't think Georgia is the secret power-font. Especially for lists of numbers . . . ;)

TammyJo

1:50 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thanks for this!

I was just explaining this the other day. People who do alot of shopping online are familiar with certain fonts representing different functions. Other than the fact that these fonts are easy to read, they are also familiar "shopping" fonts which makes visitors comfortable to "do what they came to do" on your site.

pmkpmk

2:03 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Is there a side-by-side comparison of pre-installed fonts on Windows and MacOS, and the distribution of non-pre-installed fonts?

johncory

2:38 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Is there a side-by-side comparison of pre-installed fonts on Windows and MacOS, and the distribution of non-pre-installed fonts?

There are definitely many of them. Don't think I can post urls here so I'd just recommend searching for it.

carguy84

2:47 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I'm a Verdana man myself.

getxb

3:39 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I too like Verdana and I try to keep a uniform font size(12px) throughout. Thanks Lovejoy and tedster! I will surely try to do some experiments.

regards,
getxb

teatime

4:32 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Funny coincidence: This morning the New York Times, along with many other changes to its website, changed its font to Georgia 11.
[nytimes.com...]

toaster42

4:58 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Tahoma has been getting a lot of usage recently. it's slightly smaller than verdana at 11px, but provides a very legible reading experience.

this article provides a good font family declaration for unix, mac and windows machines- [realworldstyle.com...]

imo, visitor stats are very useful in deciding fonts. niche sites with mainly Mac or Windows users can take advantage of the OS's anti-aliasing to use fonts like Myriad, etc (http://www.digital-web.com/)

handsome rob

5:01 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



No love for Arial? Man that's harsh :)

johncory

5:52 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



This morning the New York Times, along with many other changes to its website, changed its font to Georgia 11.
[nytimes.com<...]

F! What are they thinking over there?! Ok, I may have implied earlier that I didn't like Georgia but now I'm stating it: Georgia is a mess. NYtimes used to be my favorite site to read without RSS. Dang!

Pfui

6:07 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



1.) When I see the new NYT format, I see Times body copy. But at least they're taking into account non-PC users with the following specs:

font-family: Arial, sans-serif
font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif
font-family: Georgia, serif

In addition to being a near-historic real world typeface, Helvetica is a Mac font, akin to a narrow Arial.

(Ironically, there used to be a very vocal contingent that argued against hard-coding any font faces whatsoever because of a decrease in accessibility/readability and a (potential) increase in rendering time. I guess that group went the way of the contingent that argued against advertising on the Web. My eyes miss those guys.)

2.) One other font-related factor is that most young'uns (thirtysomethings and under:) tend to discount or ignore an aging population. The advent of LASIK notwithstanding, many moons ago in the print marketing world, a very smart boss taught me not to incorporate too-small text into my designs because X number of people wouldn't be able to read the copy.

3.) I've found the same holds true on the Web today. One seller on eBay uses a speak-the-listing clip, multiple animations, mixed fonts and sizes, and poorly lit and focused 400k photos in every listing. They tend to sell in my collecting area so I encounter their stuff via e-mail link on occasion. The second I hit one of their sensory-assaulting auctions, I am so outta there.

Bottom Line (imo): If you want to communicate with the largest group of people/buyers possible, don't get all fancy with your code because with every doo-dad you add (or font face you specify, or font size you decrease), you lose part of your market.

(Plus, as in the case of that eBay seller, you also look really nutty:)

gopi

7:22 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



>> Georgia may not be installed

I thought georgia font come pre-installed with all windows boxes?

Lorel

8:53 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Font Guide for Webmasters has a list of fonts (showing how they will look) available on Mac and Windows and also lists a similar font as well as a generic font and how to set it up in CSS.

jtara

12:22 am on Apr 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



In general, serif faces (such as Georgia) are more difficult to read on pixel-based devices, due to their increased complexity over sans-serif faces.

They give an "elegant", flowing feel, and since there generally are no pixel-resolution concerns in print, they are popular for newspaper and magazine articles.

A lot has been done to redesign serif faces for digital use. (And Georgia is one of those faces designed specifically with this in mind.) But I think the holy grail for serif faces is simply to be as readable as a sans-serif face.

I'd stick to sans-serif faces on websites, except for decorative and headline use.

A given face might look good on YOUR monitor, but keep in mind that webmasters generally have much better monitors than their readers.

Lovejoy

12:45 am on Apr 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Well, I'm sticking with Georgia ;~)Even though traffic is virtually unchanged** over the last two years, sales are way up based on data for this time of year. Changing the font is the only change I've made.

** Been number 1 on Google for my keywords and on the first page of the other major engines for the last two years.

maximillianos

2:39 am on Apr 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I switched my fonts over to a larger more popular news like font a few months ago. My overall ad performance increased by about 20%. Not sure if it is related, but the pages sure do look a lot nicer. Never really gave font much thought, but it helps!

Pfui

3:00 am on Apr 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Which font did you switch from, and to?

annej

4:52 am on Apr 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I've recently switched my articles to Verdana for readability. I have no way to measure if it has helped though.

Do Macs have Verdana and if not what do people see?

Pfui

5:32 am on Apr 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



My Macs have Verdana [microsoft.com] (TrueType) and the font face has been available since the late 1990s. If a Mac person doesn't have it installed for one reason or another, most browsers will default to a san serif font, typically Helvetica.

But even similar san serif fonts' widths can differ a lot so if a page or site is particularly dependent on Verdana, Arial, etc., Mac people may not appreciate the nuances (or perfectionism:) involved. Of course, the reverse is also true -- if a Mac person hard-codes Helvetica, or, say, Apple Chancery, they'll be more than a bit surprised when they see their work on a PC.

sugarrae

5:56 am on Apr 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



>>>No love for Arial? Man that's harsh :)

Actually, the first link tedster gave had arial in it's survey and in that one, it scored what looks like a tie for second place overall.

Anyone know of any studies on font color?

Wlauzon

11:20 am on Apr 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Our experience has been over the past 5 years or so that this mix seems to work best:

small and standard size print = Arial
standard and medium (up to around 15px) = Verdana
larger (16px or 1.4em+) = Georgia

Verdana is kind of an iffy one, as the kerning can be a bit too much at times, and the "em" is much larger than Arial and most other fonts, so even though the letters look OK in small sizes, the spacing does not. Also, because Verdana in 12px is about the same size as Arial at 13 or 14px, it can mess up spacing.

We occasionally use other fonts, but even then stick with the "browser safe" ones, such as Tahoma, Comic Sans, Lucida, Palatino - and most of those only look decent in larger sizes, over 12px.

annej

5:04 pm on Apr 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I use Arial for things like the navigation and headings with Verdana for blocks of text. We are told people usually scan when reading online and Verdana seems to be easily scanable.

I tried putting a paragraph of arial with a paragraph of verdana below it and I found my eyes went to the verdana. But that's just a study of one. I wish there was more research on this topic.

Lovejoy, Are you using georgia in long articles or more on product pages? That could make a difference.

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