How does serif vs. sans serif typeface impact the usability of e-commerce websites?

  1. Vecino, Sara 1
  2. Mehtali, Jonas 2
  3. de Andrés, Javier 1
  4. Gonzalez-Rodriguez, Martin 1
  5. Fernandez-Lanvin, Daniel 1
  1. 1 Universidad de Oviedo

    Universidad de Oviedo

    Oviedo, España


  2. 2 University of Strasbourg

    University of Strasbourg

    Estrasburgo, Francia


PeerJ Computer Science

ISSN: 2376-5992

Year of publication: 2022

Volume: 8

Pages: e1139

Type: Article

DOI: 10.7717/PEERJ-CS.1139 GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor

More publications in: PeerJ Computer Science


This study tries to find evidence that points towards the best typeface to use in e-commerce websites to maximize usability, trust, loyalty, appearance and overall user satisfaction. We tested the difference between serif and sans serif inside the same font family. A total of 246 volunteers participating in the experiment were asked to complete a set of tasks and a questionnaire on an e-commerce website prototype. We measured task completion time, reading speed and reading comprehension. From the results, using multiple linear regression, we deduced that only gender determines user preferences. Females tend to prefer the serif version of the typeface under study. Although most e-commerce websites use sans serif typefaces, we could not find evidence supporting this decision. The serif and sans serif characteristic inside the same font family does not affect usability on a website, as it was found that it has no impact on reading speed and user preference.

Funding information

This work was funded by the Department of Science, Innovation, and Universities (Spain) under the National Program for Research, Development, and Innovation (project RTI2018-099235-B-I00). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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