Elderly Approved and Easy to Read Typography

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Elderly Approved and Easy to Read Typography

Legible Web Typography For Everyone.

TypographyMany of our clients want their web pages to be senior-friendly, a smart move considering that the ‘65 and older’ demographic is rapidly increasing and becoming more tech-savvy by the day. Legibility is often the main concern and although it makes sense that larger type is easier to read, there are several other factors to consider when choosing a typography suitable for aging eyes.

An excellent article on the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) website discusses suitable typography for signage and environmental design, but I believe the points they make are also applicable to web type.

Consistent Stroke Widths

A stroke is any line that defines the basic letter form. Typefaces with a consistent stroke, like Futura Bold, are much easier to distinguish than faces that vary between thin and thick strokes.

Open Counter Forms

The counter of a letterform is the negative space that may be fully or partially enclosed. An example would be the enclosed space in a P or the open space of a c. Many typefaces will have swashes or serifs that extend into or around the counter space. Faces that are more open are easier on low vision eyes.

Pronounced Ascenders and Descenders

An ascender is a stem of lowercase letterform that projects above the median, like an h or d. A descender is a stem that projects below the baseline, like a p or j. Faces that exaggerate these stems help distinguish lowercase letters from one another.

Wider Horizontal Proportions

A wider proportion will help letterforms take up more space and open up the closed counters in lowercase e’s and a’s. This doesn’t necessarily mean a fatter face, just a face with letterforms that have a larger width compared to their x-height.

Distinct Character Forms

Typography

A unified appearance between letterforms is typically required for a strong typeface. However, studies suggest that visually unified typeface make it harder for low vision eyes to distinguish between individual letterforms. Unique swashes or serifs may help in this area.

Extended Horizontal Strokes

By extending the arm of a lowercase r or the crossbar of a t, the letterform increases in horizontal space and helps distinguish it from the rest of the text.

As a rule of thumb, sans serif faces tend to be a better choice due to the relatively larger x-heights and consistent stroke widths.

Some good options include Futura, Helvetica, Syntax, and Frutiger. Don’t let this dissuade you from choosing a serif face though. There are several great serifs that follow the rules, including Garamond, Bodoni, and Times Roman.

Conclusion

Appealing to each demographic is important. We’ve examined several ways to aid you in capturing the senior marketplace by effective usage of typography. The next step is to examine data and measure what works best versus what doesn’t. Through growth driven design, you can analyze important user data to determine the best course of action as you grow your business.

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