Content Marketing

Accessible Font Optimisation: Choosing the Right Font for Inclusive UI Design

In this article

  • Loading...

According to the CDC, over 61 million adults currently live with some form of disability. Business owners can’t afford to ignore those statistics and the growing number of internet users. It has never been more critical to offer an accessible online experience for all.

Did you know that only 3% of the web is accessible to all users? Brands that choose flashy graphics over inclusive design elements could lose their leads rather than gain them.

Businesses should also consider website accessibility. Website accessibility can help a business connect with a larger audience. It can help them enter this big, overlooked market.

An expanded market could lead to more revenue and growth by boosting sales and customer satisfaction. When you make your site more accessible, it’s easier to navigate for all users.

Lesa Seibert, CEO of Mightily, says, “In 2021, e-commerce retailers lost an estimated $828 million. This was due to the holiday season because their websites were inaccessible.”

A website’s font is one feature that’s often overlooked when creating customer-centric content. Not only does this significantly impact the readability of your website, but it’s also easy to change for a more inclusive experience.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a guide on optimizing font use for more accessible UI design in 2024.

codeless get long term roi

Get long-term ROI.

We help you grow through expertise, strategy, and the best content on the web.

Why is your font important for web accessibility?  

Your website text is one of the first things a potential lead engages with when they enter your blog. To provide the best experience, ensure it’s well-structured, easy to read, and in a font accessible to all.

Over 32 million Americans had vision loss in 2024. So, your font should be well-thought-out. It should stay customizable in color and size for all readers.

“The text within a website is the key to communicating with the user. It establishes the purpose that drives conversion, providing the information that motivates users to visit the site and gives them a call to action,” says Goran Paun, Creative Director of ArtVersion, a Chicago design consultancy. “Because text is so influential, it must be readable. Although that may seem to be an obvious consideration, there are many sites whose text causes difficulties for users. Everything from the site’s structure to the fonts used within it can significantly impact the user’s readability.”

Here are some of the benefits you could see when switching to an accessible font:

  • More Engagement: One of the most significant changes you’ll see when switching to an accessible and adaptable font is a spike in site engagement. If your content is legible for more consumers, they’re more likely to interact with your brand and recommend it to others in the same community.
  • Lower Bounce Rate: A consumer first bounces to the nearest competitor when a site is inaccessible. Customize your landing page to include all abilities.
  • Better Reputation: Brands that prioritize inclusivity in their UX and UI design gain a better reputation. They become an improved industry authority. Suppose your brand is accessible to consumers of all abilities. In that case, a rise in engagement will tell Google you are an industry authority. This could result in a higher ranking.
  • Omnichannel Fluidity: Adaptable design is about choosing an accessible font. Fonts like Verdana or Helvetica can be easily scaled across many devices. This choice could help improve your omnichannel fluidity. If you can read the font on smaller smartphone screens and larger desktops, you’ll open your brand up to consumers tapping in from any device.
  • Less Competition: Only a few websites are currently fully accessible. So, using an accessible font in your UX design puts you ahead of the curve. For example, if your website is the only one in its niche using a font that a screen reader can read, you open your business to a new group of consumers. Your competitors can’t serve them.

While making your font accessible is a good thing, we must remind you that it is also the law in the US to use a font that all users can access. If not, your business could risk penalties, such as a fine or a lawsuit, if you breach the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

These guidelines aim to improve website development. WCAG guidelines make content more accessible by providing a set of standards for designers and developers to follow.

“You can prioirtize clear and simple language, avoiding jargon, and providing ways to help users find and understand information,” says accessibility expert Lesa Seibert.

What to consider when choosing an accessible font

Choosing an accessible font takes time and practice. Instead of picking the best-looking font, the most accessible one is usually plainer. It lacks the bells and whistles.

The fonts need to tick several boxes. They should:

  • Be easy to read
  • Work on many devices
  • Have an optimized height, weight, and letter spacing

“Choosing fonts with high legibility, ample spacing, and clear distinctions between characters is essential to accommodate users with visual impairments. Additionally, ensuring proper contrast between text and background colors is crucial for users with color vision deficiencies,” says Jess Andrews, Powerplatfrom Developer on Linkedin.

Here are some key things to consider when changing your font on WordPress:

Font size and legibility

The first factor to think about when choosing a site font is legibility. How readable is the font?

Legibility has several components. These factors include font size, height, and contrast against the website’s background.

For accessibility beginners, the general rule of thumb is to choose a font of at least 16 pixels at its smallest on the screen.

‘You might wonder why the recommended body size in web application design is often set at 16px. One big reason is the accessibility safeguards on Apple devices,” says Wren Lindey. He is a principal designer at Fuzzy Math.

“Have you ever experienced a sudden zoom effect when clicking on a form field on a website using your phone? While there are various reasons for this, one common scenario is when a font size of 15px or less is used for the input field text. To avoid unintentionally triggering this feature, it’s recommended to ensure that your body font sizes are 16px or greater. Importantly, users will still be able to manually or automatically zoom in, based on their configured accessibility settings on their devices.”

Legibility on different devices

While you may have optimized your font size on your desktop website, have you checked how it translates on your mobile site?

With more than 64% of searchers coming from a mobile device, your smartphone UI should be seamless.

“Providing options for font size adjustment and supporting responsive design helps cater to users with varying needs and devices,” continues Andrews. “Prioritizing accessibility in font choices ensures that the interface is welcoming and functional for all users, fostering inclusivity in the digital experience.”

The key here is to create a scalable design where your text can scale up and down depending on the screen size. That is why you must choose a font that’s well-read by all devices and screen readers and is easily scaled, large and small.

Color and contrast

Another challenge several UI designers face is how their font colors pair with their website colors.

For a font to be legible to site visitors, there needs to be enough contrast between the text and the background. This is why most designers choose black or white to help their users easily distinguish text from the background.

According to WCAG guidelines, headings should have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1. In contrast, the body text should have a maintained contact rate of 4.5:1. If you follow this template, many of your website browsers should be able to engage with your content.

Serif or sans-serif?

Now that you know how to choose a suitable font for your website, let’s look at some of the options.

Fonts come in two forms: Serif and Sans-Serif. Sans-serif is the plainer form of the two, while Serif fonts come with ‘serif’ embellishments, as shown in the example below.

Serif fonts have historically been harder to read, as their flourishes, albeit pretty, can make the text less legible at a smaller scale. However, there are still plenty of accessible Serif fonts.

Experts predict Serif fonts will be one of the largest graphic design trends for 2024, so they are certainly one to watch.

You should choose between Serif and Sans-Serif based on your target audience.

For example, suppose you’re building a portfolio website. In that case, most people choose a professional Sans-Serif typeface. It can be easily scaled and is quickly scannable.

However, for brands that specialize in creative outlets like graphic design or fine art, Serif fonts may help their branding. They can also decorate their landing page design.

With this in mind, here are a few Serif and Sans-Serif fonts to choose from when designing an accessible website.

Arial (sans-serif)

First up, we have Arial. This Sans-Serif font is well known for its high x-height and brilliant distinction between letters. For this reason, it’s one of the most well-known fonts on the planet.

example of Arial (sans-serif) font

(Image Source: DesignWorkPlan)

Arial is compatible with all accessible screen readers. This makes it the best choice for people with vision impairment.

Verdana (sans-serif)

Next, we have Verdana. This is a brilliant on-screen font because it’s still readable at a small size on a low-resolution screen.

As a font with one of the largest spacings between the characters, it is brilliant for on-screen typography.

example of Verdana (sans-serif) in print

(Image Source: IKEA)

IKEA is a tremendously notable brand that uses Verdana for its simplistic style and device-wide legibility.

As you can see here, each letter is the same height and weight, making it a brilliant, uniform font for larger chunks of written content.

Times New Roman (serif)

Times New Roman is one of the oldest fonts on the block. As the figurehead font for Microsoft Word in the early 2000s, many of us will know the look of these letters by heart.

graphic showing Times New Roman (serif) font

(Image Source: Hostinger)

While it is mainly used in print media today, experts suggest it’ll be one of the best HTML fonts in 2024.

Times New Roman is a brilliant educational font style that’s well-accepted by all screen readers on the market.

Organetto (sans-serif)

Next up, we have Organetto. This accessible font is mostly used for brand logos, thanks to its all-upper-case lettering and bold exterior.

graphic showing Organetto (sans-serif) font

(Image Source: Looka)

Art Deco style inspired Latinotype to design this sans-serif font. What makes it so accessible?

Capital letters can take longer to read. But they stand out against a page. This helps visually impaired consumers spot titles and headings in longer texts.

Erinesans (sans-serif)

This font family is a brilliant addition to a modern web design. While it has grotesque characteristics, making it part of the Sans-Serif family of fonts, it’s also highly adaptable.

graphic showing versions of Erinesans (sans-serif) font

(Image Source: Unblast)

Not only are there five unique versions of the Erinesans font, but it prioritizes functionality even in italic form. Erinesans is narrower than other accessible fonts, but a number of UX designers have rated it a top choice, especially for mobile content.

OpenDyslexic

Last but not least, let’s discuss OpenDyslexic. This typeface is a relatively new phenomenon in the font world. Websites use it to make their content more legible to those with dyslexia or other cognitive impairments.

OpenDyslexia is a free font with bold lowercase characters and a much wider spacing of letters to help make text easier to read.

Wrapping up

As we step into a new era of online accessibility, switching up your font is the first step towards optimizing your blog’s UX for a more inclusive future for your audience.

Accessible brands will likely have more loyal connections and a better reputation. In today’s market, customers are in charge, so give them what they want and reap the rewards.

Get long-term ROI.

We help you grow through expertise, strategy, and the best content on the web.