Typography doesn’t just matter in 2015; it’s practically its own movement. If you’ve ever been familiar with a poor font choice, then you know exactly how difficult it can make reading content that you may have been interested in. With mobile devices, there are additional considerations, like the amount of spacing, the margins, padding, and of course, zooming. Fonts those are difficult to read without zooming in, just by them, can be a serious mistake if you’re choosing a mobile version of your content.
Aside from these factors, there are definitely font considerations for mobile devices that set them apart from their desktop counterparts. Here are a few that you should keep in mind when you’re looking to pick the best of the bunch.
- Contrast matters, as do light levels. Mobile screens can be bright, but when most users are using reduced brightness levels to save on power, that means that certain font choices may not be the best for your user’s visual health. Strained eyes are serious, and users tend to avoid sites that make them squint just to read what an article has to say. Most fonts have their own contrast considerations based on the colors that you choose, so choosing the right colors is one thing, and so is choosing the right font; those with narrow strikes, for example, can be more difficult to read due to contrast and brightness concerns, even on black and white fields. Look for fonts that have uniform strikes.
- Spacing also matters, and there are more fonts than ever that take the digital screen into account. Originally, fonts were created by hand, then by printing press, then typewriter; fonts that arose during each of those respective periods were made to be optimized for those methods. In the digital age, you may want to consider using fonts that have come out within the past decade or so. More recent fonts even take mobile screens in mind, and are extremely easy to read on those smaller resolutions as a result. Because spacing is often limited, choosing these fonts means you’ll have to make fewer sacrifices on your columns and rows, and put more focus on just making a great looking body.
- If in doubt, just follow this simple rule; 65 characters per line is the ideal amount for reading text on a page of a book, and 39 for a newspaper column. Mobile-ideal character amounts are hard to define, but typically fall within this range, usually leaning more toward the 39 of the newspaper. In other words, your font choice should allow for that amount on each line, and do so comfortably. This will help you to avoid the “needing to zoom in to read” issue.
There’s really no hard and fast rule for which font is, overall, the best in show on a mobile device. The important thing is to always test your choices on a mobile device’s screen.