Readable Web Design
Posted 07 June 2013
When setting out to design or revamp your website, making sure that your content is easy to read should be a big priority…
The vast majority of business websites have one common objective: to clearly communicate with site visitors. In other words, no matter how aesthetically impressive a web design might be, if it fails to get the message across then it’s not functioning properly.
There are numerous ways in which this can happen. It might be, for example, that content is unhelpfully laid out. This can frustrate site visitors, who, unable to find what they’re looking for, quickly decide to try another website. It might be that the tone of your website is inconsistent with your target audience. A common example of this would be a company whose website reads very clearly to somebody within the industry, but isn’t helpful for a first-time visitor who might be interested in your services.
The importance of readability cannot be overstated. The good news is that there are various ways in which web designers can help you to improve the readability of a website.
Here are a few ideas, some of which you can start implementing straight away:
Whilst typefaces (font families) are nothing new, you may not have been aware that there are many different web-specific fonts available for you to use. These are designed to be easy-to-read on a range of devices. Web fonts have been around for a while, but it’s only more recently that there seems to have been a big increase in the range of fonts available.
The letter spacing, line height and shaping of these fonts mean that they’re much easier to read, and with lots of variety we don’t necessarily have to continue relying on fonts like Arial and Helvetica.
It’s very important that you use headings – and subheadings – in your website’s content and your blogs and articles. This helps the reader scan your content and quickly find what they’re looking for. It also helps visually to break up the flow of text.
It might be another simple concept, but the use of paragraphs helps you to keep your reader’s interest. Too many websites have huge passages of dense text. Learning to communicate the same message in a clear, concise manner can make all the difference.
A helpful way to slim down your text is to have a look at the way newspapers present their message. An article will often begin with a headline and an explanatory sub-heading, and then proceed a sentence or two at a time.
It goes without saying that considerate use of bold and italics can help the flow of a webpage. It also helps you to emphasise information that you think is particularly helpful for a site visitor.
Light on Dark / Dark on Light
Finally, making sure that you have a helpful contrast between your font colour and background colour is crucial. There is a resurgence in websites that tend towards lighter backgrounds with darker text, but with careful design dark backgrounds can have a powerful visual effect.
To find out more about keeping your web design clear and readable why not contact us today?