Although the general rules for web pages are similar to print documents, there are a few fundamental differences. First, since the resolution of of a computer screen is much less than a printed page, fonts that are small or decorative may cause eye strain or simply be illegible. In addition, the way a web page will appear to any give user is highly variable; one computer may display a given font size differently than another, and users may change the color and font settings.
It is important to remember that web users simply do not read pages, but scan them. The writing style for web pages should consist of short, simple sentences.
Style sheets can be an effective and efficient method of controlling visual style. They provide two key advantages over old-school formatting: they separate content from design, and they provide efficient control for a large number of documents. Style sheets also offer more formatting options than plain HTML tags.
Visual contrast is key to good typography. Strong contrast and distinctive patterns and carefully chosen white space can help guide the user through a page. Left-justification is recommended for web pages, although center justification can also be acceptable; the rule is: pick a justification and stick with it! Tables can be used to assist in page layout. For easier readability, cell widths should be set to no more than 10-12 words across.
Typefaces such as Georgia and Verdana were designed specifically for legibility on the computer screen, and are recommended for web use. It is safest to use a single typographic famly, but of you choose to combine serif and sans-serif fonts, keep it to no more than two typefaces on a page. Stick with fonts that are readily available on most computers. If you need a specific bit of text to look an exact way, then a graphic image will need to be created.
Text and Typography
Creating a page that users can actually read.