University Study Finds Squirrely Fonts Unprofessional

Hmmm. which font is better?

In late January of this year I received a newsletter from a psychology department group at Wichita State University that conducts scientific analysis of different aspects of web usability.

Volume 9.1 tackled the issue of “The Effect of Typeface on the Perception of Email“. I’ll save you the lengthy read and just give you the results. Drumroll please…

Goofy stupid-looking fonts are viewed as unprofessional in email.

That’s it? Yes, basically. You can view the 2,000 word version of this yourself.

Over the last few years I’ve been getting more critical of academia in general – and it’s mostly due to these types of things. This type of analysis seems laughable in 2007 and shows the growing disparity between the reality of today’s fast paced “Interwebs” and the world of academia.

In 2001 when I was at college we were taught COBOL and basic C programming. Those classes were far outdated even then. It’s been a few years since college, but has anything changed in this respect? Maybe someone can enlighten me. If you’re at a University, please drop me a line and let me know – are you learning anything useful and relevant when it comes to understanding the web, email, or modern online communication? Or are the Universities still teaching outdated topics, conducting research into ridiculously obvious matters, and generally having no clue about today’s web economy?