Why website body text should be bigger, and ways to optimize it.
Body text is the key component in communicating the main bulk of a message or story, and it’s probably the most important element on a website, even if people sometimes read just the headlines.
Why would we limit the effectiveness of body text by minimizing its size to a browser-default that’s now over 20 years old, even on large displays?
What’s Too Small?
The majority of websites are still anywhere in the range of 15–18px. We’re starting to see some sites adopt larger body text at around 20px or even greater on smaller desktop displays, but not enough in my opinion.*
*I’ll be referring to font sizes in px (pixels) instead of pt (point) throughout this article so it’s easily relatable to the framework of the web and digital space.
Now, I’m not saying that small typography is bad. An 18px font is perfectly legible from the right distance. Smaller type is extremely useful in certain situations like on captions, cards and other UI elements, but there’s good reason to increase it a few more notches for body text.