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The most accessible fonts for websites belong to the family of sans serif. The sans serif is a broad font family, which includes all fonts that do not have little dashes at the end of each letter.
For example, Arial is a sans serif font: EqualWeb is the World’s #1 Web Accessibility Solution
The following Times New Roman font is not a sans serif font: EqualWeb is the World’s #1 Web Accessibility Solution
Text is a vital component of digital content. Choosing an accessible font for your website is of utmost importance for any website or business that takes itself seriously. This is not only for law compliance reasons but for business reasons as well, as you should strive to provide your customers with a welcoming and smooth experience. You want your website to be accessible and inclusive to all possible users, those with disabilities included. Text that is not accessible, hard to read, or may not be compatible with changes like sizing and spacing means fewer users on your website and less engagement. Accessible fonts should be the number one priority for all website owners and designers.
Typography, typeface, and font selection are critical when you start planning your website design or deciding on how to advance with new content on your site.
Typography refers to how the text is presented on the web page.
Typeface refers to the type of font selected, such as Verdana, Arial, or Helvetica.
Font refers to the specific characteristic of the font, such as size, weight, and style.
Why are accessible fonts important?
Let us begin with the obvious: you want users to be able to read your digital content. Selecting a rare or not-so-common font may distort the way the content is displayed for users on your website and this is something you should avoid at all costs. Readability is the most important feature in accessibility terms.
Further, there are approximately 20 percent of Americans with disabilities (according to various studies). Making your text as readable as possible, which means—easily perceivable text, a clear distinction between foreground and background, and good readable sizes—will translate into users who can browse with ease, navigate through the pages, and consume your product or service without unnecessary frustration.
Notice that for many individuals with disabilities, it is easier to purchase online than attend physical stores for shopping. Having accessible websites with readable text is a must if you want loyal customers who will develop the habit of shopping for their needs via your website.
Lastly, it is the law. Under ADA Title III and Section 508 all businesses are required to remediate their websites for people with disabilities and accessible text is one of the most basic accessibility standards.
Accessible fonts for websites
Although the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) do not specify particular fonts, they do outline the requirements of an accessible font. According to Success Criterion 1.4.12 Text Spacing (Level AA), “no loss of content or functionality occurs by setting all of the following and by changing no other style property:
Line height (line spacing) to at least 1.5 times the font size;
Spacing following paragraphs to at least 2 times the font size;
Letter spacing (tracking) to at least 0.12 times the font size;;li>
Word spacing to at least 0.16 times the font size.”
The WCAG principle behind this requirement is the following: “users must be able to perceive the information being presented.”
Best accessible fonts
The common options and the best accessible fonts (as an absolute requirement for your website) are Arial, Helvetica, Open Sans, Tahoma and Verdana. There are alternative fonts that were specially designed for accessibility purposes such as Read Regular, Lexie Readable, and Tiresias—which were created for users with dyslexia or visual impairments.
Keep in mind that font size should be 12-14 points or equivalent.
Headings with different styles (H1, H2, etc.) are an important feature for any web page, as it gives structure to the content, making it easier for users to navigate and find what they are looking for. This remediation feature can help not only with making your website accessible but with higher search results on search engines as well.
Best accessible fonts
Choose fonts that are widely available, are easy to read, and cater to as many people as possible. This is not always achievable because different people have different needs, and a person with dyslexia may have a difficult time reading an Arial font versus a person with visual impairment who would find Arial as the preferred reading font.
For this reason it is important to make your website accessible with professional technological solutions that can cater to all people, regardless of disability. At EqualWeb we offer just such solutions at cost-effective prices and tailored for every business need.
For more information visit our Plans & Pricing page to see what best suits your needs.