To create a successful text design, you should think about how people read online. If you design your text for easy and comfortable reading, then it will be more likely to be read.
Many people have a harder time reading long blocks of text on a computer monitor. The glow and glare is tiring on their eyes. They’re in a rush, trying to get the most information possible, as quickly as possible. A few suggestions to make reading your text easier:
- Use bullets to separate your ideas into readable chunks.
- Make your text skimmable by emphasizing important points with bold text.
- Don’t use large blocks of italic text – italics can be hard to read
- Be sure to use fonts that are easy to read: Verdana is good for this because it has large letters, and those letters are well-shaped for on-screen reading.
- Make your text font large enough to read. 12 point type may look a bit large, but it’s easier to read from further away. That way, your visitor won’t have to scoot closer to their monitor to read your text.
- Write short paragraphs. Shorter paragraphs are quicker and easier to read.
- Keep your line lengths short as well. If your lines of text stretch 12” across a wide monitor, it can be difficult for your reader to track a line all the way across a page.
- Design with plenty of white space between the lines, but don’t go so far as to double-space the lines. Having some separation between the lines, but not too much space, makes it easier for your reader to follow each line without skipping to the next when they’re reading quickly.
- Work in a single-column layout. You can have a side bar of supplementary information (like testimonials), but using a 2- or 3-column layout for your main body text will force the reader to scroll down, and then up again, and then down… which can be very annoying.
- Get the most important information to fit “above the fold”, which means that it’s visible without scrolling down. You have to hook the reader before they’ll scroll down to learn more!
One last note – it may be tempting to use a colored background on your website, to make the design more interesting and different. But, text is easiest for most people to read online if it’s black (or another very dark color, possibly – like navy blue or deep brown) on a clean, white background. And, it’s not about making your website pretty – it’s about making it more effective.