However, as Sara Quinn in her seminal article, "In Search Of: The Best Online Reading Experience," points out:
With print design, we have precise control over spacing between letters, words and lines of text. We set tight parameters for hyphenation. We have a multitude of styles and weights from which to choose. We've had plenty of time to perfect the craft in the centuries since Gutenberg worked to perfect the printing process, after all.
But online type is tricky. You can't easily control the same design elements. Too many variables can make reading a chore. I'm talking about eye fatigue, screen resolution, pixels and the design of the actual typefaces. You might be struggling with this as you read this very article.
In addition, browsers are different, set with different fonts and defaults that can take a perfectly respectable looking article when written, only to have it turn up as gibberish when sent out into cyberspace. For example, here is an email from a reader of Tuesday's column ("Power Corrupts. PowerPoint Corrupts Absolutely"):
Denny, I enjoyed today57;s email. Harvey Mackay sounds like a great man to hear. I57;ll keep that in mind. I do the DM and Catalog days circuit so infrequently these days. Enjoyed his tid bits thru your writing 51; thanks!
Obviously "57;" is an apostrophe or single quote. I have yet to figure out "51;". But unintentional gibberish it is.
Mike Schinkel's Research
I will not presume to tell people how to design a website (unless it is a paying client).
However, Schinkel's email — and the websites that follow — have persuaded me to change the type of BusinessCommonSense.com to a sans serif font.
That said, I urge you to read Vrest Orton's "Why Johnny Can't Read" as the starting point. Orton is talking about print, obviously, since this was published in 1977. His basic thesis, I believe, is viable — that pages and pages of sans serif type (e.g., a book or a whitepaper on a computer screen) would be a nightmare to read.