The average website is over 90 percent text, and its design and readability reflects on your entire business. Your content may be interesting and highly relevant, but poor formatting will drive viewers away in frustration. Make use of these simple page layout tips and format changes to your text content to dramatically increase its readability and impact.
Use Drop Caps at the Beginning of Each Page
Drop caps are large letters at the beginning of a page or block of text. They are popular with newspapers as they focus the eye on the beginning of an article. Advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather researched drop caps and found that they increase text readability by 13 percent. Use drop caps and more people will start to read your text.
Choose a highly readable font that matches the content and design of your website. Don’t go for an obscure free font as it may not display correctly on some people’s monitors. There are dozens of great choices among the default fonts in Microsoft Word. Don’t worry whether your selection is a serif or sans serif font. Plenty of research shows that a font’s readability is not dependent on whether the letters have little tails or not.
Most on-line text is only 12 point even though research shows that anything under 16 point is difficult to read on a screen. With high definition monitors anything under 13 points is illegible. Usability and typography expert Oliver Reichenstein says that 16 point text “looks big at first, but once you use it you quickly realize why all browser makers chose this as the default text size”. Boost your font size and instantly increase the readability of your entire website.
The human eye likes order and struggles to interpret text that appears unbalanced. Always keep your text aligned on the left margin and avoid centred or right-justified text. Jagged margins confuse the eye and decreases readability. A single column of text is far more readable on a screen than two or three columns.
There is no place on a quality website for musical headlines, little birds that follow the reader’s cursor or flashing quotes. Mercilessly get rid of all distracting elements in your texts that may irritate he reader. Remove all sections written in capital letters and in different fonts and never use white text on a dark background. Highlight an important section of text by bolding it or putting it in italics but never do both. Be consistent with highlighting throughout your text. Remove all coloured text unless it is essential for your design. Don’t have floating boxes over hyper-links and keep them the traditional blue color.