10 Key Things to Look for When Choosing a Typeface for Web Applications

10 Key Things to Look for When Choosing a Typeface for Web Applications main article image
Posted on July 26, 2017 by Ben Conrad

Whether your business exists solely online or primarily in the brick-and-mortar world, the importance of your website cannot be overstated. For good or ill, your company website is first thing prospective customers will see, and you want to make sure that the first impression is a great one.

That is why you work so hard to fill your site with quality information, from customer reviews of your best products to helpful hints and the latest industry news. But what you have to say is only part of the picture; an equally important piece is how you say it.

The typeface you choose for your website, blog and other online properties is a critical, yet often overlooked, piece of the puzzle. The good news is that the choice of typefaces has expanded radically in recent years; modern designers are now free to move beyond a core group of fonts and express their creativity.

The bad news is that all that choice can create serious confusion, and selecting the right typeface has never been more complicated. With that in mind, here are 10 key tips you can use to choose the perfect typeface for all your web properties.

1. Make an appropriate choice

Choosing a typeface is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. You should choose a typeface that is appropriate to your content, and feel free to change things up when you need to.

2. Design with your chosen typeface in mind

Now that you are free from the standard “web safe” fonts, you can express your creativity with different choices. Choosing your typeface first and designing your page around it can provide excellent results and enhance the readability of the final product.

3. Stay consistent

Maintaining the same typeface throughout the document enhances readability and makes the text more legible. You can make different elements, like paragraph headings and titles, stand out by using boldface and changing font sizes.

4. Keep up with the changes

Web browsers are always a work in progress, and a simple tweak could render your perfectly legible typeface unreadable. Be mindful of these changes, and keep testing to make sure your content looks as great as ever.

5. Be cognizant of file sizes

Some typefaces are larger than others, so be aware of file sizes and how they may affect page loading times and user experience.

6. Build mobile friendliness into your design

Creating a mobile-friendly website is no longer an option; it is a necessity. Choose your typefaces based on their mobile friendliness, their portability and how well they render on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

7. Keep testing

Testing your typefaces should not be a one-time thing. Testing should be an ongoing part of your everyday life, so test, test again and test some more.

8. Match the mood

Let the nature of your content guide your choice of typeface – an ad for a romantic weekend getaway demands an equally romantic and frilly typeface, while an article about a serious health challenge should be presented with a simple and straightforward typeface.

9. Emphasize flexibility

Flexibility is key when choosing typefaces for the web, so look for a font that looks great large and small, justified and unjustified.

10. Consider a cross-platform design

These days the same user may access the same website on an Apple iPhone, a Windows-based laptop and an Android tablet, all in the course of a day. That makes a quality cross-platform design and a versatile typeface more important than ever before.

Choosing the right typeface for the web has never been more complicated. The newfound freedom web designers have has made the choice of typeface more difficult instead of easier, so knowing what viewers are looking for and how they view your site will be critical. The 10 tips listed above can help you choose the right typeface for your web applications, so all those first impressions can be good ones.

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