Readable Text

Consider the presentation of the text to your audience and make choices that ensure text is easy for all individuals to read and comprehend. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Use recommended fonts.
  • Use minimum sizes and larger.
  • Limit usage of font styles (bold, italics, all capitals).
  • Do not present text within graphics or on a background that does not provide adequate contrast.
  • Do not try to convey meaning only by the appearance of text.
  • Do not use blinking or moving text.

Techniques

Font Family, Style & Size

Use standard sans-serif fonts (such as Arial, Verdana) rather than serif fonts (Times New Roman, Garamond). Use decorative fonts or narrow fonts for decorative purposes only.

Italicized text can be difficult to read on web pages and often bold and italics are used together to enhance readability. Bold is sometimes used to improve readability of words in different colors. All capital letters can be harder to decipher. See also: Using Color.

When text is too small, individuals with low-vision have difficulties reading it. The recommended minimum font size for web pages is 12 points. For slides projected to an audience, the minimum is 24 points.

Readability & Plain Language

Readability is considering how easy or difficult it is to read something. As we've seen in the techniques above, the text presentation is important, but we can't forget the words and sentences on the page. Length, structure, and average syllables per word affect how well writing is understood (Texthelp, 2023). Seeking to use plain language and checking the readability of your written content is part of this best practice.

Several readability tests and free resources can be used to measure content. Flesch-kincaid grade level is a popular test or method that roughly measures how many years of schooling it would take someone to understand the content. Many practitioners strive to ensure their content is no higher than a 7th-grade or lower secondary reading level.

Success Criteria for Readable Text

Resources